Only 100 colleges to be affiliated by varsities

A panel appointed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) has recommended that no university should be allowed to give affiliation to more than 100 colleges, noting that affiliating system has become a “major burden” impacting “significantly” on the quality and innovation outputs of the university system.

“There is an urgent need for time-bound introduction of multi-pronged reforms of the affiliating system taking into account the regional, cultural and educational diversities of the country so that international level quality in higher education is achieved across the nation,” the expert committee in its report to the UGC said.

The load of affiliated colleges, ranging upto 900 colleges with some of the universities, has caused enormous hurdles in the smooth functioning of the quality of higher education system.

Further, in view of the increasing load of affiliating functions due to recurring of large number of affiliated colleges, the state universities have become examination conducting bodies for these colleges with ill-equipped, age-old administrative machinery and personnel.

“This has pushed the innovation and research functions of the university system to a abysmally low level," the panel said, while recommending that “the maximum number of colleges to be affiliated to any university in the country should be limited to 100.”

Proposing multiple reform models to transform the affiliating system, the 12-member panel favoured “pro-active” promotion of autonomous colleges across the country with built-in annual academic and administrative audit (AAA) system by the concerned universities.

The expert committee, headed by former vice-chancellor of Madras University S P Thyagarajan, has also recommended promotion of “cluster college system” through provision of financial assistance to allow them evolve as cluster-college universities, besides upgradation of colleges with potential for excellence.

The panel also suggested upgradation of autonomous colleges with track-record of quality performance justified by their accreditation profile and colleges accredited with ‘A’ Grade level by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), as universities.

“Till such time, they are elevated to the university status; the UGC may take appropriate steps to empowering such colleges to become degree–awarding institutions,” the committee suggested. The committee also favoured division of the existing state universities with large number of affiliated colleges into smaller universities, as separate non-affiliating multi-disciplinary universities and as exclusive affiliating universities with limited number of colleges affiliated to them.

“All categories of upgradation as universities need to be provided only after due academic and administrative assessment processes,” it said.
New universities should be established by the Central or state governments with full financial assistance, preferably in districts where there are no universities.

“Establishment of campuses of respective regional universities catering to the colleges of that area, specifically at rural, backward or tribal areas could reduce the affiliation burden on one hand and accelerate educational and economic upgradation of that area on the other,” the panel said.

All Central and state universities in the country could have five to 10 constituent, autonomous colleges, to be mentored by the parent university as “model colleges” so that they can be role models to be emulated by other affiliated colleges, it added.

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