Photo of Jawaharlal Nehru University campus.
The Union government on Tuesday gave autonomy to 60 institutes of higher education
such as Jawaharlal Nehru University, Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University, which have maintained a high standard of academic excellence.
Institutions that were given full autonomy will not need permission of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to start a course, fix course fees, set up a new department or open offline campuses. These will also be free to have collaboration with foreign counterparts, hire foreign faculty, and admit students from abroad.
They can also offer higher salaries — more than what the pay commission recommends — to attract academics from abroad.
The UGC will not conduct regular inspections at these institutions.
Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar likened the autonomy to liberalisation of economy. “The government is committed to giving autonomy to higher education
institutes in the country,” he said, adding that the Indian Institutes of Management had already been granted this privilege through an Act of Parliament.
“We are also setting up 20 institutes of excellence to improve our global rankings,” the minister added.
The government gave full autonomy to five central universities (Jawaharlal Nehru University and University of Hyderabad), 12 state universities and 11 deemed universities.
The state universities included Jadavpur University, Kolkata; National Law University, Delhi; University of Jammu; and Savitribai Phule Pune University.
The government has placed the universities and institutes in two categories on the basis of their National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) rankings. Those who scored 3.5 and above were kept in the first category and were given full autonomy.
Universities with a score below 3.5 were in the second category and were given partial autonomy. These still need to take UGC permissions for some activities, such as signing contracts with foreign universities.
Some of the universities in this category are O P Jindal Global University, Sonipat; Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Gandhinagar; Vellore Institute of Technology; and Manipal Academy of Higher Education.
The Union government also gave autonomy to eight colleges: Yashwantrao Chavan Institute of Science, Satara; Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering, Kalavakkam; G Narayanamma Institute of Technology Science, Hyderabad; Vivekanand College, Kolhapur; Sri Vasavi Engineering College West Godavari; Bonam Venkata Chalamayya Engineering College, East Godavari; Jai Hind College Basantsing Institute of Science, J T Lalvani College of Commerce, and Shri Vile Parle Kelavani Mandal’s Mithibai College of Arts in Mumabi.
Though these colleges will be free to conduct their courses, exam and evaluate students, they can’t award degrees. This will be done by universities.