The University Grants Commission (UGC) will soon be undergoing a major upgradation in its regulations. A new system that is less dogmatic and demands minimal regulation has been by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
The ministry has plans of revoking outdated UGC regulations, grouped on the basis of performance, Institutes with high excellent will be converted into universities and penalize stragglers and defaulters with closure and stoppage of grants. The government will soon act on the plan without any long-drawn legislative changes.
The proposed system will be grouped into 3 categories and ranked on the basis of performance on various parameters. Colleges with the most excellence will be converted into standalone universities. Institutes and colleges belonging to top place will be given total autonomy for expansion, starting new courses, fixing of fees and so on. Institutions with lowest performance will undergo a UGC-backed mentoring program. If they still fail to improve, they could be targeted for closure or merger.
Autonomy is the essence of the new plan. The proposal mainly focuses on turning excellent institutions into universities. Moreover, Colleges should be allowed to start new courses without approval of the university.
Technical Institutes whose 75% of their courses accredited to All India Council of Technical Education will be given autonomy to revise the syllabus when needed, besides a range of other issues.
Autonomous status will be given for appointing teachers, students’ admission, for research, pedagogy, offered courses, awarding degrees and fixing of fees.
Along with autonomy, the changes will bring in accountability too. Learning outcomes and clear quality benchmarks will be identified. Institute forging fake data will be stopped providing grants. Aadhaar seeding into the faculty database is advocated to check bogus staffing.
To bring in a change in the higher education system demands a credible, predictable and transparent accreditation framework. The proposed framework will identify clear, streamlined quality benchmarks for agencies to assess institutions.
The rank of an institute will be based on objective quantitative inputs gathered online (80%) and qualitative inputs through a peer review system (20%). For transparency in the process, the report will be put online. The measure has been proposed by Finance Minister in his speech on February 1, 2017.
“Excellent Institutions would be enabled to have greater administrative and academic autonomy. Colleges will be identified based on accreditation and ranking and given autonomous status. A revised framework will be put in place for outcome-based accreditation and credit-based programs,” the minister mentioned.