St Stephen’s college in Delhi likely to get autonomy, can set its own syllabus
The college had applied for an autonomous status last year following which an inspection was carried out on May 10 and 11 by a committee set up to examine applications from colleges for grant of autonomous status.Updated: May 19, 2018 14:19 IST
The University Grants Commission will likely grant autonomous status to St Stephen’s College at a meeting next week, officials familiar with the matter said, allowing one of India’s best-known colleges freedom in a range of activities — from admission to the academic syllabus to setting the tuition fee.
The college had applied for an autonomous status last year following which an inspection was carried out on May 10 and 11 by a committee set up to examine applications from colleges for grant of autonomous status. The committee inspected the infrastructure of the college, and interacted with the students and staff, including non-teaching staff. It submitted its report following which UGC is likely to take up the proposal in its meeting scheduled for May 24. If the UGC signs off on the proposal, St Stephen’s will become the first autonomous college in Delhi University. HT first reported this last year.
The principal of the college, John Varghese, did not respond to phone calls and messages.
“The inspection was carried out and all formalities have been completed. A proposal to grant St Stephen’s autonomous status is likely to be placed before UGC for clearance. If it is approved, a letter will be sent to the Delhi University informing it about the decision,” said a person familiar with the developments who asked not to be identified.
However, the application of the college was preceded by protests from certain students’ and teachers’ groups that wanted the college to remain more closely linked with the university.
Even during the visit by the committee a number of teachers staged a protest.
As per the UGC Guidelines for Autonomous Colleges, a college that comes under the scheme launched last year can determine and prescribe its own courses, restructure and redesign its syllabus, and become skill-oriented in consonance with job requirements. It can also fix fees of the courses. An autonomous college is also empowered to prescribe admission rules in accordance with prevalent reservation policies, evolve methods to assess students’ performance, conduct examinations, even launch self-financing courses.
Autonomy for a college also empowers it to announce results, issue mark sheets, and migration and other certificates. However, the degree will be awarded by the university with the name of the college on the degree certificate.
“This is a good move, I think...Colleges need to be unshackled and have the freedom to formulate their own curriculum, syllabi and evaluation processes. The government has agreed to continue full financial support and the terms and conditions of service of faculty and support staff will remain the same. It will open doors for research collaboration and student and faculty exchange. The degree is to be given jointly by the college and the university so all round accountability will remain. So the college will have academic freedom but remain a part of the university,” said Kavita Sharma, former principal of Hindu college and current president of South Asian University.
Allaying the fears of students and teachers, the HRD ministry had earlier said that there will be no reduction in the government grants on account of autonomy.