IITs reject UGC diktat on course format

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have objected to the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) directive that they must stick to the duration and specifications of degree courses, recently dictated by it.

They have also questioned the powers and jurisdiction of the higher education regulator over IITs.

In a letter to the Human Resource Development Ministry recently, IIT-Kharagpur has expressed surprise at the UGC’s directive, noting that all the 16 premier technical institutes are governed by an Act of Parliament and their Council, not the UGC.

IIT Kharagpur director P P Chakrabarty has asserted that all the IITs are empowered to “institute courses of study” and they do not need to seek any approval of the UGC.

Noting that there was “some confusion” within the UGC about the autonomy and powers of the IITs to institute their own degrees and courses of study, he urged the Ministry that “this may be clarified” to the higher education regulator.

Days after forcing Delhi University to roll back a four-year under-graduate programme (FYUP), the UGC came up with a gazette notification specifying the nomenclature of all the higher education programmes and duration of degree courses.

It also wrote to all the higher educational institutions, including IITs, asking them to stick to the notification and restructure the programmes not in conformity with it.

In its communication, the Commission also threatened of  “appropriate” action, if any institute deviates from the nomenclature of programmes and duration of degree courses prescribed by it.

Many IITs are offering courses which are not in sync with the format prescribed by the UGC. IIT-Kharagpur offers five-year integrated MSc programme in six subjects, including applied geology. IIT-Madras offers five-year BS and MS dual degree programmes.

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