The human resource development ministry has set the ball rolling for India to have its ‘Ivy League’ universities.
The country’s best universities will be identified and categorised as navratnas, which will be given greater autonomy and more funds to expand academic and research work.
The HRD ministry has asked vice-chancellors of the 20 central universities to set up a team to formulate the benchmarks for the premier universities. The criteria will include academic excellence, research output, faculty strength and size of corpus funds from consultancy work among others.
The best five among the central varsities will be given the navratna status. The scheme will later be expanded to include state-funded universities.
In the US, Ivy League refers to eight of the oldest and best universities including Brown, Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth, Pennsylvania, and Yale.
In India, the frontrunners for navratna tag include Delhi University, University of Hyderabad, Jawaharlal Nehru University and University of Pondicherrry. Among state universities, University of Pune, Jadhavpur University and Mysore University have been in the news for innovation and excellent academic standards.
The number of universities may not be limited to nine, HRD officials said. “We are using the term navratna to signify excellence. Universities will be given the status if they meet all the specified standards,” a ministry official said.
A navratna university will have to provide state-of-art sport facilities and platforms for cultural and social growth.