Top varsities to get more autonomy: HRD ministry

In a bid to incentivise excellence in higher education, the government is considering plans to give full autonomy to top universities in framing the curriculum and hiring the faculty. The best institutions which have been consistently getting A grade or B+ grade by NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council), have been given more freedom of action. Middle level institutes will have 50% autonomy and the third level of institutes more regulation.

This is being done so that the varsities can excel further, scale to further heights and it will be a competition among the best institutes. It will also be a challenge for the middle level institutes to become better. The university will get 30 days to approve proposals of autonomous institutions affiliated to it. Also, it has been assured that the education will not become expensive. It would be reasonable. However, autonomy is about giving them academic freedom. Simply because no one wants that such institutions get stuck in Red Tapism.

The autonomous colleges, barring the degree awarded in the name of the university, have been given the freedom to decide every other aspect such as curriculum, conduct of examination, hire of professors or introduction of new courses. It was also informed that a major shift in policy is underway that is intended to incentivise research, innovation and quality learning.

Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar in an exclusive conversation told that the higher education regulators UGC and AICTE had become “stumbling blocks” which requires undergoing reformation. The idea is to do away with governmental or university-level interventions that hurt functioning of good institutions.

The ministry wants more autonomous colleges selected on merit based on NAAC rating and (National Institute of Ranking Framework) NIRF rankings. The specifics of how the plan for graded autonomy based on rankings will roll out have also been finalised. The decisions have been taken in line with reforms worked out for regulatory authorities like University Grants Commission and All India Council for Technical Education.


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