Days after the University Grants Commission asked the Indian Institutes of Technology to “align their courses and degrees with the ones recognised by the UGC”, the institutes have reiterated their autonomous nature, stressing that the UGC and IITs are two different systems.
On Friday, hours after President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a conference of Chairmen of Boards of Governors and Directors of IITs at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Director IIT Bombay, Devang Khakhar, said the “government cannot bring the IITs under the UGC unless they change the law”.
At present, 16 IITs across the country function as “apex institutions for engineering education and research” under the Human Resource Development Ministry.
The institutes are governed by the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961, which declares them as “Institutions of national importance”, and lays down their powers, duties and framework for governance.
Director IIT Delhi, R K Shevgaonkar, said the two bodies are governed by separate acts of Parliament, and that the IITs “have never received any communication from the UGC before this”. According to him, the notification concerning aligning of courses has not been received by all IITs and has been sent to select institutes.
The UGC notification did not come up for discussion during the Directors meeting with the President on Friday, but Shevgaonkar emphasised that if at all the UGC has an issue, it must take it up with the IIT Council and not write to all institutes individually. “All matters concerning IITs are taken up by the IIT Council which has the HRD Minister as its Chairperson. All directions come from there,” Shevgaonkar said.
The IITs offer four-year bachelors degrees in different branches of engineering and the UGC’s communiqué came days after its recent reversal of Delhi University’s Four Year Undergraduate Programme.