What is the issue ?
- The University Grants Commission (UGC) has granted autonomy to 60 universities and colleges across the country.
Looking back :
- The UGC’s plan to liberate educational institutions from regulatory control was first proposed by the NITI Aayog.
- In 2017, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) appointed a committee headed by the former vice-chairman of NITI Aayog, Arvind Panagariya, to suggest reforms in higher education.
- The panel submitted its report in August 2017. The UGC’s new regulation on graded autonomy (formally known as Categorisation of Universities for Grant of Graded Autonomy Regulations, 2018), notified in February this year, was among the panel’s recommendations.
New rules :
- Under these rules, central, state, deemed, and private universities will be graded into three groups, with a different degree of autonomy for each category.
- The categorisation hinges on an institution’s performance in either reputed global rankings or the assessment done by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).
The parameters of assessment :
- The NAAC assesses institutions on seven parameters — curriculum, teaching-learning and evaluation, research, infrastructure, student support, governance and leadership, and institutional values — and gives each a score out of four.
Three graded categories
Category I institutions :
- An institution will be placed in Category-I if it has been accredited by NAAC with a score of at least 3.51, or if it has received a grade/score from a reputed accreditation agency empanelled by the UGC, or if it has been ranked among the top 500 institutions by reputed world university ranking agencies such as Times Higher Education and QS.
- Category-I institutions will be free to start new programmes, departments, schools, and off-campus centres without UGC approval. They will also be exempt from the regulator’s regular inspections, and can collaborate with foreign educational institutions without the UGC’s permission. Their performance will be reviewed on the basis of self-reporting.
Category II institutions :
- To be eligible for Category-II, universities should either have an NAAC accreditation score between 3.26 and 3.50, or have received a corresponding grade/score from a reputed accreditation agency empanelled by the UGC.
- Even though these universities will be exempt from regular inspections, and can start new programmes, departments, schools, and centres in disciplines that are part of its existing academic framework without the regulator’s approval, they will be subject to stricter control in comparison to Category-I institutions.
- Category-II universities will need the UGC’s permission to sign MoUs with foreign universities. Their performance will be reviewed by a peer group.
Category III institutions :
- The remaining will fall in Category-III, and they will be the regulated by the UGC.
- These institutions will not enjoy any of the exemptions granted to the other categories.
Autonomous institutions (do not memorise) :
- UGC has granted autonomy to 52 universities under Category-I and Category-II, and another eight colleges under a separate regulation called UGC (Conferment of Autonomous Status upon Colleges and Measures for Maintenance of Standards in Autonomous Colleges) Regulations, 2018.
- The 52 universities included five central universities, 21 state universities, 24 deemed universities, and two private universities.
- Among those put in Category-I are Jawaharlal Nehru University, Hyderabad Central University, NALSAR, Jadavpur University, Kurukshetra University, Andhra University, TISS, Symbiosis International in Pune, and National Law University in Delhi.
- Banaras Hindu University, Aligarh Muslim University, Madras University, Mysore University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, and O P Jindal Global University are among those included in Category-II.