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UGC sets to amend guidelines to foster college autonomy

In accordance with suggestions made in the National Education Policy 2020, the University Grants Commission (UGC) is streamlining the procedure by which colleges achieve autonomous status.

Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar, chairperson of the UGC, stated that the Commission has adopted draft regulations in this regard, which will be made available to the public for stakeholder feedback by Tuesday.

The proposed changes are largely intended to speed up the process of obtaining autonomy status and link it to NAAC ratings. For instance, at the moment, proposals for autonomy are initially reviewed by expert committees through site visits.

However, under the proposed changes, on-site visits won’t be necessary anymore. “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 draught regulations.

Additionally, if the concerned college receives grade A accreditation from the NAAC, the autonomous status—which is currently awarded initially for a term of 10 years—will now be automatically extended for another 10 years. For at least three programmes with a minimum score of 675, technical colleges will need NBA accreditation.

Colleges that have operated as autonomous units for a continuous period of 15 years will be granted the status permanently once the revised regulations are passed, and they won’t need to reapply as long as they maintain their high NAAC or NBA ratings.

In the US, there are about 500 autonomous colleges. According to the NEP, “it is envisaged that over a period of time 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.”

According to Prof. Kumar, the proposed changes were made after an expert committee reviewed the existing regulations.

“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 stated.

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