Emphasising on the need to make higher educational institutions independent of the government machinery, academicians and representatives of the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) pressed for complete autonomy from regulatory bodies, at an event in Noida.
“If the Union government intends to make a few selected institutions free from the regulations of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) so that the quality of education can improve, then I believe all higher institutions should be granted full autonomy,” said Professor Furqan Qamar, secretary general, AIU.
Qamar was speaking to the press on the recent news of the Union government thinking of providing greater autonomy to ‘performing’ higher educational institutions on the basis of their rankings.
Earlier, the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry had brought forward a draft for National Education Policy 2016 under which 20 ‘world-class universities’ will be founded in India and have minimal regulations from UGC, AICTE and other regulatory bodies. Of the 20 universities, 10 were supposed to be public and 10 private with listed credentials.
“The idea of introducing regulatory bodies for universities was to bring order and quality. But over the years, we have realised that such bodies are not doing any good to educational institutes. The first regulatory body, UGC, was set up in 1956. Before that, institutes had full autonomy and results were much better,” said Qamar.
The decision of ‘premier’ colleges being selected for autonomy also did not go down well with academicians.
“Only a small chunk of students study in Central universities or a few premier colleges, the larger lot of students still study in state universities. If autonomy is granted, then it should not be selective,” said Qamar.
As many as 89 vice chancellors of state, private, public and Central universities were attending the two-day AIU North Zone Vice Chancellors’ Meet at Amity University in Sector 125 that began on Thursday morning.
Addressing the press, academicians also stressed on the need for financial autonomy from the state machinery rather than academic autonomy.
“What we really require is financial autonomy because we need to invest more in the field of research. I still believe that institutes, more or less, have academic autonomy, but lack of funds is what troubles the education sector,” said Professor DS Chauhan, vice chancellor, GLA University, Mathura and the president of AIU.