9 Tamil Nadu education institutes among 60 granted UGC special status

NEW DELHI: The government rolled out its plan on Tuesday to grant more autonomy to better performing central, state and private universities, with UGC giving 60 institutions special status that will allow them to start new courses, offer competitive salaries and set up off-campus centres without approvals.
Central varsities JNU and University of Hyderabad are in the top category, with Jadavpur University, Kolkata, Algappa University, Karaikudi, and Nalsar University of Law, Telangana, under the ‘graded autonomy’ scheme. The private varsities in the list include O P Jindal Global University, and Pandit Deen Dayal Petroleum University.
The UGC also decided to issue showcause notice to three deemed universities including Vinayaka Missions Research Foundation in Salem and the Meenakshi Academy of Higher Education and Research in Chennai for poor standards.
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said the selected universities remain in the ambit of the University Grants Commission but will have the freedom to start new courses, off-campus centres, skill development courses, research parks and other new academic programmes. They will also be able to hire foreign faculty, enrol foreign students, provide incentivebased emoluments to faculty, enter into academic collaborations and run distance learning programmes.
As per UGC regulations on “graded autonomy”, five central universities, 21 state universities and 26 private universities have been given this status. Eight colleges have also been given autonomous status under the autonomous colleges regulation.
Autonomous universities with an NAAC score of 3.26 and above may start a new course or department without UGC’s approval, provided no demand for funds from the government is made. UGC, “recognising (that) autonomy is pivotal to promoting and institutionalising excellence in higher education”, notified the regulatory framework in February 2018 to facilitate better performing institutions to improve standards.
“The government is taking steps towards granting autonomy to institutions performing well. It started with the passing of the IIM bill granting complete autonomy to B-schools,” said Javadekar.