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Javadekar chalks up strategy for new world class institutions

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The New Indian Express | By Sanjay Singh  |   10th December 2016 |

NEW DELHI: After hectic political lobbying, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and his ministry will identify 10 public and 10 private higher educational institutions to develop them as world-class institutions, virtually sidelining state-run academic regulatory bodies, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which were initially tasked to do it but were ineffective. Government sources said that given the pressure from various quarters for the selected institutions to be given complete autonomy in academic, administrative and financial matters, relying completely on UGC and AICTE will not be very encouraging. “When you want complete autonomy, you cannot have UGC or AICTE deciding on which of these institutions should be developed as world-class ones. That could be contradictory. What you need is to ensure that world-class institutes work with a free hand without any interference of government bodies,” said an HRD ministry official.

These institutions will also be able to take a call on faculty hiring (including foreign teachers), salaries, fees, courses and curriculum. India has no representation in international rankings of educational institutions. The UGC and AICTE were earlier asked to identify institutions that have excellent National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) ratings and National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings.While NAAC functions under UGC, NIRF is under the HRD Ministry. Both assess and accredit higher educational institutions in India. This move is similar to the UPA government’s proposal, Universities for Research and Innovation Bill, 2012, to set up 14 world-class universities with autonomy from the UGC and other regulatory bodies, but had failed. In the last Budget, the government had announced it would come up with such institutions and grant them autonomy under a new regulatory framework. Javadekar’s mwinistry will identify only those institutions, which have adequate infrastructure, faculty and academic relations with the outside world, besides excellent research and innovation works and ethics. The yet-to be identified institutions will have a corpus of at least `1,000 crore, accreditation by a reputed international agency and a place in the top 500 in any renowned ranking system. Faculty:student ratio should not be more than 1:10, excellent research and laboratory facilities and a fair mix of Indian and foreign students along with foreign faculty. – Courtesy

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