Recommending that the process for granting the Institute Of Eminence (IOE) status be “accelerated”, a parliamentary panel has sought status notes on the two public and five private higher education institutions which await the IOE tag in the absence of formal agreements with the government.
In its report, presented in Parliament on Tuesday, the Rajya Sabha department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports, has also recommended that the IOE scheme be “realigned” with the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020.
The recommendations are part of the report on the Demand for Grants for 2023-24 of the committee, chaired by BJP MP Vivek Thakur, which met officials of the Department for Higher Education on February 27 and also obtained feedback from the University Grants Commission (UGC).
The government informed the committee that so far eight public and four private institutes have been granted the IOE status. The eight public institutes have been sanctioned Rs 3,428 crore so far since the launch of the scheme in 2017, with the highest share of Rs 620.59 crore going to IISc Bangalore, followed by IIT Delhi (Rs 555.9 crore), IIT Kharagpur (Rs 488.13 crore), IIT Bombay (Rs 479 crore), IIT Madras (Rs 474 crore), BHU (Rs 426 crore), University of Hyderabad (Rs 291.78 crore) and Delhi University (Rs 91.68 crore), the Ministry of Education had said last November responding to an RTI application by The Indian Express.
The public institutions given IoE status are supposed to receive Rs 1000 crore each, over and above the usual annual funding, over a period of five years,
“The committee notes that efforts at various levels are underway to grant IOE status to the remaining two public institutions and five private institutions while one institution has expressed its inability to comply with the conditions of the letter of intent. The committee, therefore, recommends that the process for granting status of IOEs be accelerated, so that the remaining institutions also get the IOE status at the earliest,” according to the report.
“The committee also directs that a status note on each of the two public institutions, five private institutions which are being considered for IOE status be placed before the committee for its perusal,” it added.
Vellore Institute of Technology, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), Jio Institute, Jamia Hamdard University, Anna University and Jadavpur University have been picked by the Centre for being made IOEs but are yet to sign the requisite MoUs that would bring the status into effect.
The absence of an Empowered Expert Committee (EEC), which is to be notified by the Centre, is holding up the process. While the committee’s report does not shed any light on the EEC, it recommends that the scheme “can be reassessed by the Department/UGC, so that it is suitably realigned with the visions of NEP 2020 and modifications required, if any, be addressed.”
The IOE scheme was launched to help 20 public and private institutions — 10 in each category — attain world standards and help them break into the top 500 category of world rankings by 2027 and gradually in the top 100. A total of 114 higher educational institutions, including public universities such as JNU and private ones such as Nirma University, have applied for the IoE tag so far.