Each year, the University Grants Commission releases a list of fake universities across India. Out of the 23 fake universities- which are "self-styled, unrecognized institutions functioning in contravention of the UGC Act"- 14 have been on the list since 2005.
Additionally, most of these varsities are located in either Delhi or Uttar Pradesh, 8 each.
Here's a look into one such Delhi-based 'university'.
Fake university operates from single room in Jahangirpuri
Established way back in 1990, VOUSE reportedly operates from a single room of a run-down building near Mukarba Chowk, Jahangirpuri.
However, in spite of the obvious lack of infrastructure, VOUSE claims that it's affiliated to over 80 universities across India.
Here are the 8 Delhi-based 'universities' UGC listed as fake
Apart from VOUSE, the other eight fake universities listed by the UGC in Delhi include the ADR-Centric Juridical University, Indian Institute of Science and Engineering, Commercial University Ltd., Daryaganj, United Nations University, Vocational University, Adhyatmik Vishwavidyalaya (Spiritual University), and Varanaseya Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya.
Courses offered include hotel management, engineering, Ayurveda, etc.
Interestingly, out of the one-room establishment, VOUSE manages to offer 81 diploma courses of one, two or three-year duration and 180 "specialized paramedical courses".
These courses range from engineering to plumbing, cardiac technology to Ayurveda, and even hotel management to carpentry.
The 'university' also promises 100% placement and claims that actors Saurabh Shukla and Hemant Mishra have studied mass communication at VOUSE.
However, there is no course curriculum
If you're wondering how they manage teaching so many courses, they don't. They don't even have a curriculum, TIE reported.
That's because the students decide the curriculum for themselves, said VOUSE director Vijay Singh Mahajan.
After opting for a course, each student is required to interview 20 experts from the field.
"Talking to them will make them an expert," said Mahajan. And that's it!
We don't give books to students, unlike UGC's universities: Mahajan
Further, Mahajan said, "We don't give a list of books to students, unlike UGC's universities. We first make students learn how to prepare a questionnaire, then take interviews or do fieldwork."
"Students have to revisit the field to check the theory they've developed is correct or not. We use a research methodology," he added.
Additionally, instead of teachers, professionals from affiliated institutes take tutorials.
UGC creating nerds. We're doing what UGC can't: VOUSE VC
VOUSE Vice-Chancellor Leena Gupta said, "UGC is creating nerds. These students are not industry-ready. An engineer needs 40 skilled hands working under him to complete a project. Who's skilling that staff?" She added, "They're preparing specialists but not the workforce. We're doing what UGC can't."
Response to UGC
'UGC doesn't fund us. Why are they calling us fake?'
Meanwhile, Mahajan said VOUSE has "made the future of thousands."
He said, "Why are they calling us fake when they don't fund us? Frauds are those who take students money, promise admissions and run away."
Through their NGO, Rashtriya Rozgar Mission, VOUSE helps students get jobs.
They have approached the UGC, HRD Ministry, the PMO, and several state governments to gain recognition, but failed.
What's the solution to make these fake universities go away?
Reportedly, the UGC cannot act against such institutions as they're not recognized under Section 2(f) of the UGC Act, 1956.
"Only consumer protection law can help but in most cases, no one files a complaint against such institutes," former UGC member MM Ansari said.
Ansari added that many such institutes are supported by local politicians and they help both teachers and students get jobs.