The University Grants Commission (UGC) Tuesday announced a series of changes to the regulation governing deemed universities that would relax entry norms and dilute government control over such institutions.
In a decision taken last week, the higher education regulator had removed restrictions on the appointment of deemed university chancellors allowing promoters of the institution to occupy the post. This was prohibited under the old regulation of 2010.
Another amendment provides for government nominees only in universities which are either controlled by the Centre or receive at least half of their funds from it. For the remaining, UGC will appoint a nominee out of a panel of names made by a search committee.
The eligibility criterion for recognising institutions as deemed universities under the ‘De Novo’ category has also been made more flexible. UGC has now introduced the Letter of Intent (or LOI) concept, which will allow promoters to acquire deemed status for a proposed education institution based on some terms of agreement. The applicant is then required to establish the university within three years of acquiring the deemed status as opposed to the old regulation in which the promoter is eligible to apply only after setting up the institution.
Under the land norms, the Commission dropped the rigid parameter of having a five-acre campus in urban metropolitan and seven-acre campus in urban non-metropolitan area and replaced it with the condition that 40 per cent of the land area in a deemed university must be open spaces with 10 square metre per student floor space.
Additionally, to ensure quality, institutions vying for the ‘deemed university’ tag will have to either get the highest NAAC or NBA accreditation rating for three cycles consecutively or an ‘A’ grade at the time of application and a position among the top 20 institutions under the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF). Deemed universities will be able to open off-campus centres only after five years of their existence.
Speaking to reporters, Higher Education secretary VS Oberoi, who is also a member of the UGC, said that the new regulations are aimed at reducing “subjectivity” and “government interference”.
There are currently 123 deemed universities of which 35 are either run or funded by government and the remaining are private.