The “ Institute of Eminence ” Status – All you need to know

It can be rightfully said that with the current circumstances, the Indian Higher Education is upgrading itself so as to keep up with Global education standards. As a progressive step towards this, the Government has first decided to scrap the existing higher education body of UGC and replacing it with a new one. Another major step taken by the government is the creation of a global tag for the institutes. The HRD (Human Resource Development ) Ministry on July 9th 2018 gave six universities the ” Institute of Eminence ” Status. These six Institutions were Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, the Indian Institutes of Technology at Mumbai and Delhi among the public institutes and Manipal Academy of Higher Education, BITS, Pilani, and the proposed Jio Institute from the private institutes.

Institute of Eminence

IoE – The Institute of Eminence

The main idea behind creating a movement to give universities the tag of “ Institute of Eminence (IoE) ” was to address the need for improvement in the Indian Education System as our system still follows the old methods that have been passed down through generations.The main reason why our education system seems to be lagging behind globally is due to the lack of funding and introduction of new methods of teaching. For any student to grow in the society with respect to a successful career, they should be taught with a curriculum that is in accordance with their changing surroundings. The government feels that there is a need for the creation of another distinct category of universities which is to ensure that in the near future, their performance is such that they are known as world-class globally. The IoE status was a strategic move by the government towards achieving this.

Institute of Eminence

The IoE Tag – Why does it Matter?

There are only six universities as of now who have been given the IoE Status, the management and regulation of these universities whose of which will be different from that of the normal ones. So how come suddenly this change is happening? The Hon’ble Finance Minister Of India did suggest to implement such transformation in his budget speech in 2016. He said:

It is our commitment to empowering Higher Educational institutions to help them become world-class teaching and research institutions. An enabling regulatory architecture will be provided to ten public and ten private institutions to emerge as world-class Teaching and Research Institutions. This will enhance affordable access to high-quality education for ordinary Indians. A detailed scheme will be formulated.”

 Prof. Dr.S.B. Siwach
 Prof. Dr.S.B. Siwach

So acting on the same, IoE tag was introduced to adopt institutes and shape them to be at par with global universities. The selected public universities under “IoE” tag will get Rs 1,000 crore of funding and autonomy whereas the private universities will only receive the autonomous status but no monetary support. The autonomous status gives the University the chance to take such decisions that will help in the growth of the Education sector. Despite that, the government will have regulatory oversight of the universities to ensure they pursue excellence.

Key Features :

Earlier the universities couldn’t take any major steps without taking permission from the UGC or HRD Ministry. But after this status is granted, the universities are free to do the things listed below. Increasing foreign student intake The main aim of this is to make world-class universities, hence it will have to increase the foreign student intake. The Universities will create a few supernumerary seats for foreign students. The students are expected to be from SAARC nations, Africa and Gulf nations. Foreign faculty Now the Universities are free to hire Foreign faculty. This will help in balancing the student-teacher ratio. Also, this can be ensured by doing Collaborations, Partnership, exchange with Foreign University More Research This will also help in growing the level of research reports made by a ujniversity. Starting this year, the universities will give their students the practical knowledge by collaborating with the industry. The institutes can also fund more on research. The institutes will focus on including advanced state-of-art labs, high-performance computer service, sustainable technology etc.

Institute of Eminence

The IoE Tag – Criteria & Selection

The selection of these universities for the IoE Status is done by a panel called the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC). The selection for the Chairperson and member of the committee of the Union Cabinet was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The committee chairperson is N. Gopalaswami who is the Former chief election commissioner. The other known members are Tarun Khanna of Harvard Business School, Renu Khator, president of the University of Houston and Pritam Singh, former director of IIM Lucknow. Initially, the committee decided to give the title of IOE to 20 institutes, 10 public and 10 private institutes but later on, the government decided to only grant the status to six universities as The Ministry of Finance (MoF) couldn’t fund Rs 10,000 crores. All they gave was Rs 3,000 crores after a four-year delay. Despite all the High-level discussions that led the committee to select these six universities, These choices of the EEC had run them into a controversy over the selection of the proposed Jio Institute. The institute is available only on the white and black and has no records to prove it’s performance. This made a lot of people question the basis on which the EEC grants the status and whether the past performance and proof of the existing Institutes superseded proposal of Universities who are not even yet there. The Jio proposal was selected over various well-known private colleges that had applied for the IoE Tag. Some of these colleges were  Ashoka University, OP Jindal University, Azim Premji University and Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies among others. After the declaration of the six institutes and a lot of chaos due to the proposed Jio institute, the government decided to select a few more institutes for this status. The Institutions had three options under which they could apply, the following are those categories:

  1. Public Institutions
  2. Private Institutions
  3. Greenfield Institutions

For the first round of selection 73 public institutions and 40 private institutions send applications. In which 11 Private institutes fell under the “Greenfield Category”. The Greenfield category was meant for the private institutions that were found promising at the proposal stage. This was in accordance to the University Grants Commission’s clarification back on November 17 were it directed that all institutions that were currently not a university or deemed to be a university can apply in the greenfield category. The HRD Minister thereby will also send a letter of intent to the Universities under the greenfield category stating that they would have to be academically operational within the coming three years. The progress made by these Universities should be as such that they ensure the improved standard of education and maintains the world-class status. And if the progress is not satisfactory than the status will be retracted. Despite all the chaos and biased choices, if the IoE is able to be successful in achieving its aim then this will be the revolution much needed by the Indian Higher Education system.

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