The University Grants Commission has eased the requirements for affiliated, constituent colleges to petition for autonomous status by removing the requirement for a minimum “A” rating by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). This is done in an effort to encourage more institutions to do so.
According to the UGC’s new standards, colleges that have been operational for ten years and have earned accreditation from the NAAC or NBA (for three programmes) are eligible to apply. According to colleges, this would make it possible for many institutions with lower NAAC ratings to apply for autonomous status.
The ’UGC (Conferment of Autonomous Status upon Colleges and Measures for Maintenance of Standards in Autonomous Colleges) Regulations, 2023,’ which were recently notified in the gazette, has also removed the minimum NBA score of 675 for applying to autonomous status.
“The Regulations, 2023 provide for a simplified and transparent mechanism for conferment of autonomous status to colleges,” UGC secretary Manish R Joshi and in a letter to vice-chancellors and principals. Academicians have welcomed the new relaxation.
S P Thyagarajan, former vice-chancellor of the University of Madras, said the National Education Policy (NEP) envisaged making all affiliated colleges autonomous college by 2035. “This move would allow many colleges to apply for autonomous status and they can get degree awarding status two cycles of NAAC accreditation,” he said. Academic autonomy is the essence of educational reform.
If it must be implemented in time, autonomous colleges are the best way to do it at the college level. In that context. I welcome these changes, he added. The new regulation also gives autonomous colleges greater freedom to start a new undergraduate or postgraduate programme with the approval of the academic council of the college and the statutory council concerned.
P Duraisamy, another former vice-chancellor of the University of Madras, said the affiliating university should have minimum control to ensure the courses have minimum standard and curricular content. “These new regulations have to be accepted and adopted by the state government and university before it is being implemented.” The onsite visit by an expert committee while awarding autonomous status has also been done away with.
(Source: Times of India)