Tuesday 28 June 2016

PMO advises HRD ministry to give full autonomy to 20 'world-class' educational institutions

NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister's Office has advised the human resource development ministry that 20 educational institutions the government hopes will attain global excellence standards should be given full autonomy. Of these, the 10 state-supported institutions are expected to receive public funding of up to Rs 500 crore each. An Expenditure Finance Committee note seeking Rs 5,000 crore for these
institutions has already been moved. The institutes can be existing or greenfield (the latter for private institutions). The PMO had earlier intervened in favour of IIMs in the matter of autonomy for the institutions.
For the 20 'world-class' universities, first proposed in this year's Budget, the PMO has told HRD ministry that even a softer version of the regulation as practised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) should be relaxed further. Officials who spoke to ET for this report requested anonymity. Questions sent to PMO and HRD ministry did not receive any response. ET has learnt that PMO has strongly asked for greater autonomy in even the lighter-touch regulation HRD had proposed for these institutions.
HRD's separate rules — UGC (Declaration of Educational Institutions as world Class Institutions) Guidelines — allow these institutes to fix their own fees for foreign students and decide salaries for foreign faculty, as well as freedom to choose admission procedures. Existing universities don't have such freedom and are guided by detailed UGC rules.
But PMO wants HRD to relax regulations even further and has advised the ministry that the new universities be given freedom to determine course structure, course duration, course credits and timetables. PMO also wants easier norms on foreign student intake (the ministry proposed that a maximum of 30% foreign students can be admitted) and the procedures on hiring faculty.
PMO is also not fully in favour of HRD's proposal that these new universities face a penalty in the event they can't meet certain quality parameters in 10-15 years. The PM's office is learnt to advised HRD that the time period must be longer for a fair assessment of whether a new university has emerged as world-class.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced in the 2016 Budget that "enabling regulatory architecture will be provided to 10 public and 10 private institutions to emerge as world-class teaching and research institutions". 

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