UGC Notifies Regulatory Framework For Grant Of Graded Autonomy

The regulation is known as the University Grants Commission (Categorization of Universities (only) for Grant of Graded Autonomy) Regulations, 2018.

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UGC Notifies Regulatory Framework For Grant Of Graded Autonomy

Autonomous universities with NAAC score of 3.26 and above may now start a new course without approval

New Delhi:  Autonomous universities with NAAC score of 3.26 and above may now start a new course or department without approval of University Grants Commission (UGC) provided no demand for fund from the government is made. UGC, as part of 'recognising autonomy is pivotal to promoting and institutionalizing excellence in higher education', has notified the regulatory framework to facilitate better performing institutions towards excellence in higher education.

The regulation is known as the University Grants Commission (Categorization of Universities (only) for Grant of Graded Autonomy) Regulations, 2018.  

Categorization of Universities

The regulation suggests three categories of universities where category I university will be recrognised if it has been accredited by NAAC with a score of 3.51 or above; or it has received a corresponding accreditation grade/score from a reputed accreditation agency empanelled by the UGC; or it has been ranked among top 500 of reputed world rankings, such as Times Higher Education or QS.

A university will be called category II university, if it has been accredited by NAAC with a score of 3.26 and above, upto 3.50; or it has received a corresponding accreditation grade/score from a reputed accreditation agency empanelled by the UGC.

A University shall be in Category III if it does not come either under Category-I or Category-II.

To start new courses and departments

The UGC regulation now states that category I and II universities can start a new course or programme or department or school or centre in disciplines that form a part of its existing academic framework without approval of the commission, provided no demand for fund is made from the government.

While the institutions start the programs, according to the regulation, degree programs should consistent with the approved nomenclature of the UGC and the regulations suggested that diploma and certificate courses approved by Statutory Authorities or Statutory Regulatory Authorities may be started, wherever required, in new and innovative areas that are relevant to local, national or international needs.

Now, category I universities are also allowed to open constituent units or off-campus centres within its geographical jurisdiction, without the approval of the UGC, provided it is able to arrange both recurring and non-recurring revenue sources and does not need any assistance for the same from the UGC or the Government.

Category I and II universities may offer courses in the Open and Distance Learning mode, without approval of the UGC, provided it satisfies all the conditions laid down under UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017 and amendments from time to time. This rule, interestingly, comes after the Supreme Court ordered last year that no deemed-to-be-university can run open and distant learning courses from the next academic year (2018-19) unless it is permitted to do so by the concerned authorities.

To award the category status, UGC will fix dates (at least two times in a year, preferably 1st of June and 1st of December) by which an institution shall submit a request in prescribed format for categorization under these Regulations. 

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Protesting against the move, Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) president Rajib Ray had said earlier that, by touting autonomy, the government wants to abdicate its responsibility by refusing to allocate adequate funds to meet the severe infrastructure deficit.

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