India has fastened its seat belts to usher in the new era of soaring success. It has taken a firm step forward for setting up 20 world-class educational institutions, which will be known as Institutions of Eminence, with the Human Resource Development forwarding this proposal to the Union Cabinet for go ahead signal. With the approval from the Prime Minister’s Office, this is a new framework to propel Indian institutions to global reckoning by setting themselves free from the University Grants Commission’s restrictive regulatory regime and moving towards institutional autonomy. Here are some of the finer details:
WHAT WILL MAKE THEM ‘EMINENT’
All the institutions which are conferred with this power to complete the academic, administrative and financial autonomy will be looked into by the UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) regulations, 2017. These regulations will overrule all other UGC regulations and allow the institutions of UGC’s restrictive inspection regime, the regulatory control over fee and curriculum.
But the institutions will have to prove their worth by earning achieving a place in the top 500 of any of the global rankings within 10 years of being declared an institution of eminence and eventually reach the top 100 slot
* They will have a teacher: student ratio of 1:20 to begin with, which will be 1:10 in five years, with 15,000 students taking admission in 15 years time. There will be a highly talented and experienced mix of Indian and international faculty, and only those who hold a degree from top 500 institutions in global rankings will be eligible foreign faculty.
* The institutions will have the rights of selecting students through a merit-based transparent admission process, ensuring that no meritorious student is left in the lurch for want of funds. Up to 30% foreign students vis-a-vis the strength of domestic students can be admitted. The institution will have the rights to finalize its fee structure but would have to make it transparent. If there are any reports of capitation fee being charged, then it will be dealt with a firm hand. An Ombudsman will be set up to address the grievances of students.
* Every faculty member will have to publish one paper/year atleast in a reputed peer reviewed international journal, with publications included in SCOPUS, Web Science, etc which can be considered as a research publication. There will be a world-class library with subscriptions for reputed journals related to courses offered along with cutting-edge research in frontier areas.
* Along-term lead campus (30 years minimum) with sufficient space for expansion.
* While private institutions will not be extended any government funding, they will be able to find out the means of government funds for specific studies and projects they want to perform.
* Institutions will be given full powers to frame the course structure, the credit hours needed for a degree, fixing of curriculum and syllabus and up to 20% online courses as part of its programmes and fully online certificate courses. They will also be granted full power to hire faculty, even industry personnel as faculty and opt for any career oriented scheme, salary structure for its faculty. None of its academic tie-ups would require government nod, unless they are with countries on the foreign ministry’s or home ministry’s ‘negative list’.