Govt agrees to give more autonomy to central varsities

The government on Thursday agreed to enhance the autonomy of central universities, giving them freedom to start new programmes of studies, establish departments and create teaching and non-teaching posts.

This came at a meeting of the committee of vice-chancellors of central varsities, chaired by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal here on Thursday.

At present, a central varsity can establish departments and schools of studies only after amendment to the statutes. This requires them to submit proposals after approval of their academic and executive councils to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the ministry.

After no objection of the UGC is obtained, the ministry  seeks the approval of the visitor of the varsity (President of India) for amendment to the statutes incorporating the new departments or schools. 

In matters of creation of teaching and non-teaching positions too, these varsities have to go through a complex procedure. They are required to submit their proposals to the UGC which after due examination sanctions each of their proposals. “These long-winded processes curtail the academic autonomy of central universities,” a source in the HRD Ministry said, explaining why enhancement of their autonomy was much needed.

The ministry will issue an executive order to enable central varsities exercise their freedom in matters of starting new programmes of studies, establishing new departments and schools of studies with approval of their academic council and executive council. “In the long run, however, this will require amendment in the law,” a Ministry official said. The UGC, in consultation with central universities and with the approval of their councils, will evolve norms for teaching and non-teaching positions that would provide autonomy to central universities to create faculty and non-faculty positions.

At the meeting, committee also unanimously agreed on a proposal to review the functioning of old central varsities and performance of their vice- chancellors every five years by an external peer review board which will comprise scholars and eminent persons of national and international repute.

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