Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani Wednesday hinted at greater autonomy for private universities with high National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) grades and reduced regulatory powers of the University Grants Commission (UGC) over them.
Speaking at a conference on “Reforming and Rejuvenating Indian Higher Education”, at the India Habitat Centre here, Irani said that the “challenge with regard to the 2010 regulations” of UGC will be “solved in the coming month”.
The event was organised by the Education Promotion Society for India (EPSI), a federation of private universities. The EPSI had apparently sent repeated memorandums to the HRD Ministry, arguing that the 2010 UGC regulations were hurting autonomy of private universities.
Irani, in turn, said that colleges that have “two cycles of highest NAAC” will soon get autonomy “if they have an NOC from the university”.
Conceding that the 2010 UGC regulations have burdened private varsities to the extent that “to even open a course or a department, you have to run to the regulator”, she said, “I have…told them (regulators) that those who have cycles of NAAC which are very high in nature, need not run to the UGC to open new departments or new courses. Only get approval of their statutory bodies so that the UGC does not become karta-dharta (controller) of academics…in private universities.”
Referring to her intervention in autonomy of PG Diploma in Management (PGDM) institutions, Irani said, “The challenge of PGDM institutions, which were pending for six years, were solved in half-an-hour. Similarly, the challenge of the 2010 (UGC) regulations will also be solved in the coming month.”
As one of the measures, she pointed out that the HRD Ministry has asked the UGC to ensure that only institutions that have received government funds and are controlled by the government have a government representative on their board. “Otherwise please unshackle the board of MHRD nominees,” she added.
Among new initiatives Irani announced is the Bharat Vani app to be launched on May 25, which is supposed to provide students with higher education study material in 22 languages, and the IITPAL portal, which will have IIT question papers of the last 50 years for engineering aspirants, along with video lectures by top IIT faculty members and audio aid in 13 languages.