THE UNIVERSITY Grants Commission (UGC) is streamlining the process through which colleges obtain autonomous status in tune with recommendations made in the National Education Policy, 2020.
UGC chairperson Prof M Jagadesh Kumar said the Commission has approved draft regulations in this regard which will be made public for stakeholder feedback by Tuesday.
The proposed changes are primarily aimed at making the process of granting autonomy status faster and linking it to NAAC ratings. For instance, currently, proposals seeking autonomy are first examined by expert committees by making site visits.
But under the proposed changes, on site visits will no longer be required. “A standing committee of the UGC shall examine the application of the college for conferment of autonomous status. The approval/rejection letters may be issued on the basis of the decision of the standing committee. The decisions may be ratified by the committee subsequently,” according to the draft regulations.
Also, the autonomous status, which is now granted initially for a period of 10 years, will now be automatically extended for another 10 years if the concerned college has grade A certification from the NAAC. Colleges offering technical education will require NBA accreditation for at least three programmes with a minimum score of 675.
Purpose of proposed changes
THROUGH THE proposed changes, which will be put out in public domain before finalisation, the UGC is attempting to provide a push to the concept of autonomous colleges, which are supposed to be degree-granting higher education institutions that are not tied to larger universities.
Once the amended regulations are approved, colleges which have functioned as autonomous units for 15 years at a stretch will be given the status permanently and will no longer have to apply for extensions as long as they retain the high NAAC or NBA ratings.
There are approximately 500 autonomous colleges in the country. The NEP states that “over a period of time, it is envisaged that every college would develop into either an autonomous degree-granting college, or a constituent college of a university – in the latter case, it would be fully a 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 provide freedom to the autonomous colleges to determine and prescribe their own courses of study and syllabi, and restructure and redesign the courses to suit local needs, make it skill oriented and in consonance with the job requirements. Further, the autonomous college may prescribe their own admission rules, evolve methods of assessment,” he said.