Institute of Eminence: The Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), one of the six colleges selected in the private institution category to receive the ‘Institute of Eminence’ (IoE) status, has not been issued a Letter of Intent by the UGC, official orders issued by the HRD ministry notifying the UGC’s decision on Tuesday have revealed. While BITS was selected alongside institutes like Manipal Academy of Higher Education and Reliance Foundation’s proposed Jio Institute in the private institution category, it wasn’t offered the Letter of Intent.
According to The Indian Express, BITS will, however, receive the Letter of Intent (LoI) ‘only’ after its branches in Goa and Hyderabad are “regularised” by UGC, HRD Ministry sources said. As per the Clause 6.1(i) of the UGC’s IoE Regulations, a private deemed university will only be eligible to become an institute of eminence provided it satisfies all provisions of the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations 2016.
BITS was among 10 deemed universities that were directed by UGC to shut down their off-campus centres on November 9, 2015. This move was taken by the higher education regulator as the off-campus centres were set up without the UGC’s permission. They were to be shut down as they violated the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations 2016.
Eventually, BITS Pilani moved the Delhi High Court, which further asked the higher education regulator not to take any coercive action. In the court, BITS Pilani argued that its Goa and Hyderabad centres were established in 2004 and 2008 respectively, hence, pre-date the Deemed University Regulations, which are prospective in nature.
However, UGC maintains that they are illegal, and the off-campus centres in Goa and Hyderabad continue to function. This whole situation has created a tough situation for the HRD Ministry, which has decided that the institute will be given the LoI once the institute withdraws its court case and formally applies for UGC’s approval of the Goa and Hyderabad off-campus centres, according to the report.
UGC’s ‘Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities Regulations 2017’ was approved by the Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet back in August 2017. The regulations are aimed at creating an enabling architecture for 10 public and 10 private institutions to emerge as world-class institutions since the country has little representation in the international ranking of educational institutions.