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UGC gives JNU and 60 other universities, colleges special status

NEW DELHI: The government rolled out its plan on Tuesday to grant more autonomy to better performing central, state and private universities, with UGC giving 60 institutions special status that will allow them to start new courses, offer competitive salaries and set up off-campus centres without approvals.

Two central universities — Jawaharlal Nehru University and University of Hyderabad — are in the top category, along with state universities such as Jadavpur University, Kolkata, Algappa University, Karaikudi, and Nalsar University of Law, Telangana, under the “graded autonomy” scheme. The private universities in the list include O P Jindal Global University, Sonipat, and Pandit Deen Dayal Petroleum University, Gujarat.

HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said the selected universities remain in the ambit of the University Grants Commission but will have the freedom to start new courses, off-campus centres, skill development courses, research parks and other new academic programmes. They will also be able to hire foreign faculty, enrol foreign students, provide incentive-based emoluments to faculty, enter into academic collaborations and run distance learning programmes.

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As per UGC regulations on “graded autonomy”, five central universities, 21 state universities and 26 private universities have been given this status. Eight colleges have also been given autonomous status under the autonomous colleges regulation.

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Autonomous universities with an NAAC score of 3.26 and above may start a new course or department without UGC’s approval, provided no demand for funds from the government is made. UGC, “recognising (that) autonomy is pivotal to promoting and institutionalising excellence in higher education”, notified the regulatory framework in February 2018 to facilitate better performing institutions to improve standards.

“The government is taking steps twards granting autonomy to institutions performing well. It started with the passing of the IIM bill granting complete autonomy to B-schools,” said Javadekar.

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The colleges granted autonomy will also be free to set their own syllabus, hold examinations, carry out evaluation as well as declare results. In this case, only the degree will be awarded by the respective university.

The minister also said that a show-cause notice will be given to three deemed universities which are lacking in quality.

The HRD minister said that selected universities will not have to come to the regulator repeatedly to seek permission because they have maintained quality and achieved a benchmark of 3.26 and above in NAAC ranking.

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 The central universities include Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Banaras Hindu University (BHU), University of Hyderabad and English and Foreign Languages University, Telangana.
The state varsities include Jadhavpur University, Andhra University, Algappa University, National University of Law, Utkal University, Kurukshetra University, Osmania University, Guru Nanak Dev University, University of Jammu, University of Mysore, Anna University, Punjab University and University of Madras, among others.