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Delhi’s St Stephen’s College a step closer to autonomy as UGC issues new guidelines

The human resource development ministry and the UGC will soon convene a meeting with college principals across the country to dispel misconceptions on the issue of autonomy.

education Updated: Sep 18, 2017 10:54 IST
St Stephen’s College,St Stephen's autonomy,John Varghese
St Stephen’s principal John Varghese says the college will apply for autonomy before the University Grants Commission.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

St Stephen’s College has come yet another step closer to gaining autonomy.

However, there is a small hurdle. As the University Grants Commission (UGC) has come up with new guidelines on autonomous colleges, the institution would be required to move a fresh application based on the revised format.

The institution had earlier decided to apply for autonomy on March 25, even as students and faculty members objected on the grounds that they weren’t consulted. Sources said the college pushed the application through anyway, only to be told by the UGC that it would have to be re-filed in the new format.

St Stephen’s principal John Varghese confirmed the decision to apply for autonomy before the UGC.

According to sources, the human resource development (HRD) ministry and the UGC will soon convene a meeting with college principals across the country to dispel misconceptions on the issue of autonomy. Officials will use the opportunity to provide information on the scheme, and clarify on monetary concerns harboured by the colleges concerned.

“A number of colleges fear that autonomy will come with a cut in finances, which is clearly not the case. We want good institutes to opt for autonomy. Colleges with academic and operative freedom do better than others, and possess more credibility,” said a senior UGC official.

Read more: Not just St Stephen’s, other trust-run colleges vie for autonomous status too

According to the UGC Guidelines for Autonomous Colleges-2017, a college coming under the scheme will be able to determine and prescribe its own courses; restructure and redesign the syllabi to suit local needs; and make it skill-oriented in consonance with job requirements.

An autonomous college would also be empowered to prescribe rules for admission in accordance with prevalent reservation policies; evolve methods to assess students’ performance; conduct examinations; and launch self-financing courses, among other actions.

The guidelines further stipulate that the parent varsity must ensure a reference to the college concerned on all degrees, diplomas and certificates issued to students. Autonomous institutions will also be permitted to provide their own provision and migration certificates.

Once the college submits its proposal for autonomy to DU, it has to be forwarded to the UGC within 30 days in accordance with the new guidelines. If the proposal is rejected by the university, the matter will be communicated to the college and the UGC through a speaking order. If no decision is taken within 30 days, the UGC will assume that the university has no objection to the proposal. The college will forward an advance copy of the proposal to the UGC.

First Published: Sep 18, 2017 08:07 IST