In India, the top 20 per cent of higher education institutions deserved more independence and autonomy. According to an Indian Express report, Union minister Prakash Javadekar told on Friday that the Centre would work towards exempting higher education institutions from UGC’s review mechanism. To underline the policy, he furhter added words like “trust”, “free from government’s clutches” and a “fund and forget”.
Javadekar also mentioned that all higher education institutions will be divided into three categories, with the top 20 per cent enjoying greater academic freedom, the next 40 per cent with relatively more regulations, and the remaining 40 per cent that will remain under the UGC’s regulatory control. The top 20 per cent will be chosen on the basis of the NAAC grading system scores, according to the Indian Express report.
As per the IE report, Javadekar said “Trust is important.” “Educational institutes of eminence across the world are free from government clutches. The Parliament and the government (in our country) are now following a new philosophy of fund and forget.” He said: “The top 20 per cent on the institutions will have close to 80 per cent of the academic freedom that we have agreed to bestow on IIMs under the new IIM Bill, which is tabled in Parliament.”
According to HRD minister, the plan to set up 10 government-run and 10 private, which will comprise of 20 world-class institutions also fits into the above philosophy. These 20 will be known as “institutions of eminence”. He also mentioned that “By April 2018, these 20 world-class institutions will come into being. I’m doing weekly follow-up (meetings) of all developments. The advertisement (calling for applications) will be issued this month. Meanwhile, an empowered committee will be constituted by a group that would have the cabinet secretary, higher education secretary and the UGC chairman,” the IE report added.
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said this group “will identify five to six persons of eminence who will vet applications and choose the 20 world-class institutions…. We’ll give them three months for this.” On August 15, PM Narendra Modi also mentioned in his Independence Day speech that “Institutions of Eminence” will be set up through a UGC regulation that will provide an enabling architecture to them to emerge as world-class institutions. This will provide more exposure to global platform as India has little representation in international rankings.