To boost the autonomy of universities, UGC proposed to amend the guidelines

The University Grants Commission (UGC) is streamlining the process by which colleges obtain autonomous status in line with the recommendations of the National Education Policy 2020.

UGC Chairman Professor M. Jagadesh Kumar said the Commission has approved draft regulations in this regard which will be made public for comments from stakeholders on Tuesday.

The proposed changes are primarily aimed at streamlining the process of granting the autonomous status and linking it to NAAC qualifications. For example, currently, proposals seeking autonomy are first examined by expert committees conducting site visits.

But under the proposed changes, on-site visits will no longer be necessary. “A permanent committee of the UGC must examine the college’s request for the granting of the statute of autonomy. Pass/reject letters may be issued based on the decision of the standing committee. The decisions may be ratified by the commission later”, according to the draft regulation.

Also, the autonomous status, which is now initially granted for a period of 10 years, will now be automatically extended for another 10 years if the concerned college has NAAC Grade A certification. Colleges offering technical education will require NBA accreditation for at least three programs with a minimum score of 675.

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Purpose of the proposed changes

Through the proposed changes, which will be in the public domain before finalisation, the UGC is trying to push the concept of autonomous colleges, which are supposed to be degree-granting institutions of higher learning that are not linked to larger universities.

Once the amended regulations are approved, colleges that have operated as autonomous units for 15 consecutive years will have the status permanently and no longer need to apply for extensions as long as they maintain high NAAC or NBA ratings.

There are approximately 500 autonomous colleges in the country. The NEP states that “over a period of time, each college is expected to become either an autonomous degree-granting college or a constituent college of a university; in the latter case, it would form fully part of the university.”.

Prof Kumar said the changes have been proposed after reviewing the existing regulations with the help of an expert committee.

“These regulations will also give freedom to autonomous colleges to determine and prescribe their own courses and curricula, and to restructure and redesign courses to suit local needs, skills-oriented and in line with the job requirements. In addition, the autonomous college can prescribe its own admission rules, develop assessment methods,” he said.

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