A big relief to top ‘world class’ institutions has emerged with the Prime Minister Office advising the ministry of Human Resources Development to give full autonomy to these institutions. This advice has been tagged along with the hope by the government that these institutions would strive to attain global excellence in the field of education. Therefore, the PMO has asked the HRD not to interfere in the decision making of these institutions.
Of all these institutions, 10 state supported institutions have been expected to receive public funding of up to Rs 500 crore each. If reports are to be believed, an Expenditure Finance Committee note seeking Rs 5,000 crore for these institutions has already been moved. The institutes can be existing or greenfield (the latter for private institutions). Earlier, the Prime Minister Office had intervened in favor of IIMs when the question of autonomy erupted in cases of these institutions.
In this year’s budget, the very first thing that was proposed was that 20 ‘world-class’ universities would be relaxed of all the regulations in order to get full autonomy. The PMO has especially told the HRD ministry that impositions of mild versions of regulations are also to be done away with. The urge by the Prime Minister Office is for a strong and greater autonomy in even the lighter-touch regulation HRD had proposed for these institutions.
Also read : PMO and HRD Ministry head-to-head over IIM Bill
HRD’s distinct rules – UGC (Declaration of Educational Institutions as world Class Institutions) Guidelines – permit these institutes to fix their own fees for foreign students and decide salaries for foreign faculty. Moreover, there is freedom to them to choose their own admission procedures. The other existing universities are guided by the rules of University Grants Commission and do not enjoy the freedom to make their own admission procedures. For this predicament of other universities, the PMO has advised the HRD ministry to give some relaxation to the new universities and provided with the freedom of determining course structure, course duration, course credits and timetables.
PMO also wants easier norms on foreign student intake (the ministry proposed that a maximum of 30% foreign students can be admitted) and the procedures on hiring faculty. The penalty for not meeting quality parameters in 10-15 years is also not favored by the PMO. The budget by finance minister Arun Jaitley is announced for ‘enabling regulatory architecture will be provided to 10 public and 10 private institutions to emerge as world-class teaching and research institutions’.