The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released draft guidelines for preparing Institutional Development Plans (IDPs) for higher education institutions (HEIs). The guidelines include suggestions on recruitment of professionals as faculty, fast-tracking promotion system for teachers, audits of campuses, and the up gradation of physical infrastructure for effective teaching and learning.
The draft guidelines have been issued as a part of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 implementation. The higher education regulator has issued a public notice seeking feedback on the guidelines from stakeholders by February 11.
An expert committee constituted in March last year under the chairmanship of Avinash Chandra Pandey, director of the Inter-University Accelerator Centre, an autonomous body under the UGC, has drafted the guidelines.
The draft says the Higher Education Council of India, which will replace the UGC and the technical education regulator All India Council for Technical Education as per NEP 2020, will also include a Higher Education Grants Council. “The council will carry out funding and financing of higher education based on transparent criteria, including the IDPs prepared by the institutions and the progress made on their implementation,” says the draft.
As of now, the UGC funds the higher education institutions.
To maintain a balance between “theory and practical” in professional streams and to support industry-institution interaction, the draft says 50% of the total faculty requirement can be contractual (tenured) or visiting from the profession/industry. This has been suggested to ensure a balance between theory and practice is maintained.
The draft proposes a “fast track promotion system” for faculty members for recognising “very high-impact” research and contribution. It recommends that each HEI create a “multi-parameter system”, including “peer and student reviews’’, for proper assessment of teachers’ performance for tenure, promotion, and salary increments.
The draft says each HEI needs to maintain the faculty-student ratio as set by the UGC. It proposes an action plan to upgrade academic and infrastructure facilities in each institution to support them transform into large multi-disciplinary institutions in accordance with the NEP 2020. The draft recommends that the universities and colleges create infrastructure for online learning, blended learning, differently-abled students, and promote sports, wellness and arts.
Emphasising that there is a “data deficit” related to the availability of academic infrastructure in HEIs, the draft guidelines propose to obtain and collate information from state governments regarding the number of low-performing universities/& non-accredited colleges in each state/Union Territory to “assess the adequacy of infrastructure and academic facilities available in HEIs.
The draft guidelines seek audits of campuses of higher education institutions for efficient utilisation of land. “The acquisition of land in the present times is becoming increasingly difficult. Therefore, all the campuses must undertake an audit of their campus and invest in efficient land utilization. For example, JNU, New Delhi, MANIT, Bhopal and many more wherein more than 500 acres of spare land is available which can be put to use for future growth or to establish linkages with industry, research organizations, and inter University collaboration.
A section of faculty members of Delhi University (DU) has raised concerns over the guidelines. Rajesh Jha, a professor at the university, said, “It will lead to the culture of contractualization in faculty recruitment. It will promote nepotism and ideological consideration and will compromise the quality of education. Besides, including peer and student reviews in the assessment of faculty performance is also arbitrary.Rajesh Jha, a professor at the university,
DU Teachers Association president AK Bhagi said the association will send its suggestions to the UGC on the draft guidelines. “No sanctioned teaching position should be affected by this kind of recommendation because only permanent faculty can effectively run a higher education institution. The industry experts can be invited for guest lectures over and above the sanctioned posts. We are still analysing the draft.”UGC officials did not respond to requests for comments. An education ministry official, requesting anonymity, said, “Suggestions have been sought from stakeholders for wider consultation before implementation.”
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