UGC to amend college autonomy guidelines, allow permanent autonomous status

UGC: Autonomous colleges can launch UG, PG courses; frame syllabi, and admission policies; and merge with other autonomous colleges.

UGC chairman, M Jagadesh Kumar, the commission reviewed existing regulations to align them with recommendations of NEP 2020 (Photo: Shutterstock)UGC chairman, M Jagadesh Kumar, the commission reviewed existing regulations to align them with recommendations of NEP 2020 (Photo: Shutterstock)

R. Radhika | October 10, 2022 | 03:31 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Promoting more autonomous higher educational institutions as envisaged in National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has drafted new guidelines.

The UGC (Conferment of Autonomous Status upon Colleges and Measures for Maintenance of Standards in Autonomous Colleges) Regulations, 2022 allows colleges to directly apply for autonomous status any time of the year. The draft guidelines, when approved, will replace the 2018 regulations.

With the autonomous status, colleges will be able to have their own admission rules, design their own syllabi, and restructure courses. Autonomous colleges are free to start certificate or diploma courses without prior approval of the parent university. The grant of autonomy will be based on the accreditation and assessment scores of the institutions.

The draft guidelines are aimed at making the autonomy-granting process easier without on-site visits by a UGC expert committee. Instead, a standing committee of the UGC will examine the application of the college. The affiliating university will be responsible for processing the application of the college and sending its recommendations within 30 days to the UGC portal.

A new clause has also been added which allows an autonomous college to merge with another autonomous college run by the same parent body.

UGC allows permanent autonomy

The new amendments have also made it possible for colleges to become autonomous permanently. “Autonomous college which has functioned as autonomous college for fifteen years continuously will be considered as autonomous college on a permanent basis,” states the draft guideline.

Currently, colleges are part of an “affiliating system” where parent universities design the syllabi, conduct examinations and award degrees, while teaching is done in colleges. The UGC, in September, finalised guidelines that intend to bring affiliated colleges onto the “track of progressive autonomy” leading to a degree-awarding institution and finally into a university.

However, to maintain autonomous status, a college will have to maintain the required grades in the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and National Board of Accreditation. Colleges offering technical education will require NBA accreditation for at least three programmes with a minimum score of 675.

The existing guidelines have the provision of granting autonomous status for only 10 years and a five-year extension for a college. According to UGC chairman, M Jagadesh Kumar, the commission reviewed existing regulations to align them with recommendations of NEP 2020. The draft regulations were approved by the UGC at its last meeting on September 22.

Free to start UG, PG and PhD programmes

With the approval of statutory bodies, autonomous colleges will be free to start new certificate courses and diploma courses without the approval of the affiliating university. It can also offer degree programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels along with PhD programmes with the approval of the academic council.

To monitor autonomous colleges, the UGC has proposed an internal quality assurance cell or “ IQAC” in the college with an external peer team of academics. Once a year, a report on college performance will be published in the public domain and peer-reviewed.

“These regulations provide freedom to the autonomous colleges to determine and prescribe their own courses of study and syllabi, and restructure and redesign the courses to suit local needs, make it skill oriented and in consonance with the job requirements,” said Kumar, adding, “Further, the autonomous college may prescribe their own admission rules; evolve methods of assessment, conduct of examinations and notification of result; promote research in relevant fields etc. We will finalize this regulation after receiving feedback from the stakeholders.”

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