Reliance Foundation’s proposed Jio Institute near Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra has been shortlisted by the government as one of the six ‘Institutions of Eminence (IoEs)’. Apart from the Jio Institute, the list includes three top public sector institutions and two from the private sector – Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi from the public sector and Birla Institute of Technology & Sciences, Pilani and Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Karnataka from the private sector.
A controversy has erupted over the alleged award of IoE tag to Jio Institute, which is yet to be set up, by the Narendra Modi-led central government. However, the proposed institute has not yet been awarded the IoE tag. It will have to undergo a due process over the next few years for the prestigious tag.
“As Jio institute is starting on a greenfield mode, they will only get ‘Letter of Intent’ which states they must set-up in 3 yrs. If they setup, then they get ‘IOE’ status, right now they don’t have the tag, they only have letter of intent,” new agency ANI quoted R Subramanyam, Secretary, Higher Education, as saying on Tuesday.
Scores of users on social media are wondering how and why an institution, which is yet to be set up, has been named in the prestigious list of IoEs. However, the government says a “misinformation” campaign is currently underway on social media in connection with the matter.
In a detailed statement, the Ministry of HRD has explained how an institution, which is currently not running, be selected for the position of an Institution of Eminence:
– Clause 6.1 of UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2017 provides for a completely new proposal to establish an institution to be considered under this project. In accordance with this, a separate category of applications were invited from sponsoring organisations for setting up new or Greenfield projects. As per the statement, this was done to “allow responsible private investment to come into building global calls educations infrastructure” in the country.
– The government received 11 applications from the private sector. The applications were assessed on the basis of – a) availability of land for the construction of the institutions; b) putting in place a core team with very high qualification and wide experience; c) Making available funding for setting up the institution; d) A strategic vision plan with clear annual milestones and action plan.
– The assessment committee found that the proposed Jio Institute satisfied all the four parameters and hence it was recommended for issuing a “Letter of intent” for setting up an IoE.
– Reliance Foundation will have to set up Jio Institute and indicate its readiness for commencing academic operations within three years of the issue of Letter of Intent (LoI). The readiness of the institutions will be examined and certified by the government, and thereafter a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed by the institution and later, a notification would be issued declaring the institution as IoE.
Not just Jio Institute
– Applications of two institutions under the Greenfield category were rejected but recommended for being given flexibility in the regulatory framework. These are: Indian Institute of Human Settlement, Bengaluru and Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar.
– In the future, more applications from the private sector for IoE tag will be examined. The government wants to maintain the balance of seven public and seven private IoEs at the earliest.
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar termed the move to award IoE tags as a “landmark decision.” “It will ensure complete autonomy to the selected institutions and facilitate them to grow more rapidly. At the same time, they will get more opportunity to scale up their operations with more skills and quality improvement so that they become World Class Institutions in the field of education,” Javadekar said.
What IoEs get
The government expects these institutions will come up in the top 500 of the world ranking in 10 years and in top 100 of the world ranking eventually overtime. To achieve this ambitious target, the IoEs will be provided with:
– Greater autonomy to admit foreign students up to 30% of admitted students
– To recruit foreign faculty up to 25% of faculty strength
– To offer online courses up to 20% of its programmes
– To enter into academic collaboration with top 500 in the world ranking Institutions without permission of UGC
– Free to fix and charge fees from foreign students without restriction
– Flexibility of course structure in terms of number of credit hours and years to take a degree
– Complete flexibility in fixing of curriculum and syllabus, among others.
The government will not fund Jio Institute, or any other IoEs from the private sector. But they will have the autonomy to pursue academic excellence. However, IoEs under the public sectors will get financial assistance up to Rs 1000 crore over a period of five years under this scheme.