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Review key for Ivy League tag

From the performance of students to academic qualifications of teachers, research to sports, varsities will need to prove credentials to earn Navratna tag, recommends panel of VCs appointed by government. Charu Sudan Kasturi reports.
Hindustan Times | By Charu Sudan Kasturi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2011 11:13 PM IST

India’s proposed ‘Ivy League’ of universities will need to prove their credentials every five years to retain the tag placing them on a higher pedestal than other varsities, under a blueprint finalized by a government panel.

The Navratna universities will have to undergo peer reviews every five years to retain unparalleled autonomy and additional funding the status will bring, the human resource development ministry panel has proposed, top government sources have told HT .

The concept of a special class of universities is borrowed from the American Ivy League universities – Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania and Yale – which however do not need to prove their credentials repeatedly.

The HRD ministry panel – consisting of Vice Chancellors of top central universities – is scheduled to this week submit its report to the ministry. HT has accessed the contents of the panel’s report.

“The key idea behind requiring the universities to undergo peer reviews every five years is to ensure that they are kept on their toes, and to encourage others to compete for slots that fall vacant if a university loses the Navratna tag,” a member of the panel said. “We want there to be competition for the Navratna tag,” the member added.

The panel has proposed a set of parameters on which universities must be tested before they are selected for the Navratna tag. The category will not be restricted to nine universities.

The parameters outlined by the panel of VCs for picking and monitoring standards of the Navratna universities include both academic and non-academic criteria. Universities will have to compete on the qualifications of their faculty, the performances of their students, facilities, output and impact of their research and on their performance in extra-curricular activities including sports.

As was first reported by HT on December 26, the panel has also proposed a common postgraduate test for central universities in which students will be tested in both general aptitude and in subject specific knowledge. The performance of students in their undergraduate programme will also carry weightage, as was reported.

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