Proposals of UGC for Govt aid to colleges
Jan. 29, 2024

Why in news?

  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released new draft guidelines “UGC (Fitness of Colleges for Receiving Grants) Rules, 2024” for public comment.
  • If approved, the new guidelines will replace 1975 UGC guidelines that cover all institutions recognised by the commission.

What’s in today’s article?

  • University Grants Commission (UGC)
  • National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF)
  • News Summary

The University Grants Commission (UGC):

  • Genesis:
    • The Sargeant Report was the first attempt to formulate a national system of education in India in 1944.
    • It recommended the formation of a University Grants Committee, which was established in 1945 and was tasked with dealing with all of the then-existing Universities in 1947.
    • Soon after independence, the University Education Commission was established (in 1948) under the chairmanship of Dr. S Radhakrishnan to report on Indian university education and suggest improvements and extensions.
    • It proposed reorganizing the University Grants Committee along the lines of the University Grants Commission of the United Kingdom.
    • As a result, the UGC was formally inaugurated in 1953 by Maulana Abul Kalam, the then Minister of Education.
    • However, the UGC was established [by the Ministry of Education's Department of Higher Education] as a statutory body in November 1956 by the UGC Act 1956.
    • A proposal to replace UGC with another new regulatory body called the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) is under consideration by the Government of India.
  • Mandate:
    • The UGC has the unique distinction of being the only grant-giving agency in the country which has been vested with two responsibilities of:
      • Providing funds
      • Coordination, determination and maintenance of standards in institutions of higher education.

National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF):

  • The NIRF was launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD now Ministry of Education) in 2015 (first edition came in 2016).
  • This framework, which is the first-ever effort by the Government of India, outlines a methodology to rank HEIs across the country.
  • While participation in the NIRF was initially voluntary, it became mandatory in 2018 for all government-run educational institutions.

News Summary: Proposals of UGC for Govt aid to colleges

  • UGC has released new draft guidelines “UGC (Fitness of Colleges for Receiving Grants) Rules, 2024”.
  • In this new draft, UGC has proposed several criteria to receive grants from the Centre.

Key highlights of the draft guidelines

  • Applicability
    • The new rules will be applicable to every college affiliated to universities that are established by a central or under a state act under Section 2(f) of the UGC Act, 1956.
      • The UGC has made it mandatory for colleges to be listed under Section 2(f).
      • This section allows implementation of statutory rules across all colleges and holds colleges accountable to the UGC.
      • This was brought to maintain quality standards across all institutions.
    • The draft policy paves way for these colleges to get 12(B)status.
      • The 12(B) status only makes colleges eligible for funding.
    • This makes the college eligible for receiving grants from the UGC, Centre, and other funding agencies for varied academic and research activities.
  • Eligibility criteria to receive grants
    • The UGC has proposed that universities should:
      • either have accreditation awarded by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC); or
        • NAAC is primary body for assessing and accrediting higher education institutions.
      • have at least 60% of the programmes, in case a college offers more than three programmes accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA).
        • NBA is another statutory body that assess the qualitative competence of programmes.
    • In case a college offers less than three programmes, then each of the eligible programmes must have been accredited, the guidelines states.
    • If these institutes do not have both NAAC or NBA accreditation, then they should be ranked in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF).
      • They should be ranked in NIRF at least thrice after participating five times or at least twice after participating thrice.
    • The draft states that these colleges should charge a reasonable fee set by the government and should not ask for extra fees like capitation fees.
    • As per the draft, these colleges will be required to have at least 75% of the total sanctioned teaching posts filled and duly follow reservation policy.
      • Not just hired, but the teachers will have to be paid according to the UGC or Central or state government policy as well.
  • Application for recognition under Section 12B of the UGC Act, 1956
    • The colleges can apply online on the UGC portal to be considered for recognition under Section 12B of the UGC Act, 1956.
    • The affiliating university will be responsible for examining this application and recommend the UGC for approval within 60 days.
    • If at any point, the UGC finds a college in violation of its rule, their status can be withdrawn.