Reliance Foundation’s Jio Institute was picked to be an Institution of Eminence. Five years on, the reality is far from it. An Indian Express report on Monday revealed how Jio Institute is tad more than an AICTE-affiliated campus. Located in Ulwe on the outskirts of Mumbai, Jio’s 52-acre campus wears a deserted look.
The five lecture halls, the faculty rooms on all nine floors in the imposing, sea-facing buildings are mostly unused. There are just 120 students studying in two PG courses. The IE report says that Jio Institute has just six full-time faculty members.
The 2023 hard truth is extremely different from the 2017 big bang plans. Back then, the UGC had announced the Institution of Eminence programme. Under this mega scheme, 20 institutes – 10 private and 10 government-run, were supposed to be selected for the IOE status. Backed by the PMO, the plan would give academic and administrative autonomy to these institutions, which would help them to reach the global standards.
But the course of action in the past five years shows that the private universities are waiting and waiting for the IOE tag. In the case of Jio, the IE report says that the experts committee had given its approval and the same was communicated to the Education Ministry. This was in February, 2021.
In absence of the clarity, Jio straight away approached the AICTE so that it could commence the academic operations. In July, 2022, the AICTE gave the nod to Jio for running four PG courses.
The IE report quoting education ministry officials says that the delay on part of the Centre in signing the MoU with Jio was because the term of the expert panel had already expired.
Jio is not alone. There are other private institutions such as VIT, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology in Odisha and Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham that are still waiting for the IOE tag.