Amid the push by several stakeholders to cleanse and rectify the higher education sector, a private university has been reportedly scamming numerous students for nearly a decade in Manipur’s Churachandpur district.
Sangai International University (SIU), a private educational institute housed in a rented building at Rengkai Road, Churachandpur, has reportedly been running administrative functions without any prominent university officials such as the vice chancellor and University registrar.
It may be mentioned that Sangai International University Manipur Bill 2014 was approved in 2015 and the varsity was established the same year.
Investigation by the Imphal Free Press revealed that as many as five students had filed appeals and complaints to Manipur Information Commission regarding the varsity’s failure to comply with RTI applications over the release of course completion certificates, information about the university’s programmes and others to the students under various Masters and Bachelors programme of SIU.
Majority of the appeals and complaints to Manipur Information Commission had been filed by students from outside the state. Few of the cases at the commission include - appeal case number 20 of 2022, in which a passed out SIU student Md Athar Ali filed an appeal against the respondents - State Public Information officer (SPIO), SIU registrar and another via Manipur Information Commission on December 12, 2021.
The appeal was forwarded to superintendent of police, Churachandpur on June 1, 2022 via an endorsement letter (No. A/20/MIC-2022).
Acting on the appeal, a team of Churachandpur police was dispatched to the university campus to ensure physical attendance of the registrar or office superintendent of SIU and intimate the summon notice on March 9, 2022 and other directives of the commission.
The police report of the inspection submitted on July 11, 2022 by officer in charge, Churachandpur police stated that both the university officials were found absent.
The police report reads: “Registrar of the University namely, Deepesh Kumar Mishra is found absent at his office and went at his residence at Gujarat. On demand of his full address to the staff, the staff could not provide any details of the registrar”.
According to the report, the SIU registrar on telephonic outreach stated that the “University is a private institution and as per norms, he need not appear before any commission”.
The report further mentioned that no office superintendent was found and added that SIU vice chancellor Samson Chiru was found on medical leave.
In line with the police findings, the Manipur Information Commission published the decision of the appeal case on November 22, 2022 which highlighted that SPIO and the university had failed to reply the RTI application of the appellant, Md Athar Ali regarding enquiries about the number of the pre-university certificates (Science) Senior Secondary programmes, students passed out during 2016-17 session among other minute details.
The decision also mentioned that the respondents were absent during the seven hearings conducted in connection with the appeal case. It also added that further investigations in connection with the functioning of Sangai International University was handed over to commissioner (Higher and Technical Education), Manipur vide decision on 22 August, 2022.
The Manipur Information Commission decision further advised the Commissioner to put the university under active scanner and to make available the copy of any findings regarding the working of SIU.
Meanwhile, Kadam Sham Anant, another student who had completed BNYS from SIU in 2019 had also filed an appeal to the Central Information Commission on November 2, 2022 regarding the university’s failure to comply with his RTI application.
Following the appeal, the Manipur Information Commission under the Central Commission directives took up a complaint case (No. 27 of 2022) on January 19, 2023 against the SPIO, SIU registrar and another respondent.
The decision of the hearing was notified on January 16, 2023 and mentioned that all respondents failed to turn up for the case proceedings. As such, the Manipur Information Commission referred the matter to the commissioner (Higher and Technical Education), Manipur.
It may be noted that appeal case number 115 of 2022 and complaint case number 17 of 2022 against the university had also been handed over to the Commissioner (Higher and Technical Education), Manipur for further investigations.
According to sources, the university is suspected of issuing forged certificates of various courses under the university.
“Certificates of Urdu language courses had been allegedly issued by the university,” the sources said.
In the latest development, one Valand Jaydipkumar Kamleshkumar, a student who reportedly had completed B Sc IT from SIU in 2019 reached out to the Manipur Information Commission regarding similar circumstances as the others.
The hallmark of any good educational institute is the presence of good administration, invigorating academic atmosphere and dynamic students. However, the reported Sangai International University incident leads to the pertinent speculation as to, how many such alleged bogus educational institutions are operating without any legal repercussions in Manipur.