NEW DELHI: India's top-tier educational institutions could soon get full autonomy under a major structural reforms blueprint that seeks to do away with outdated regulations and assure quality higher education.
A high-level committee set up by the Prime Minister's Office has drawn up a set of short-term measures, which can be implemented through executive orders and would not require legislative changes, to transform the sector in a time-bound manner, according to people familiar with the matter.
Some of the immediate measures include granting graded autonomy to universities, opening up the accreditation process to third-party agencies via Accreditation Advisory Council and improving effectiveness of UGC's existing scheme for autonomous colleges.
Measures to improve quality of PhDs, facilitate academic collaborations with foreign educational institutions and allow top institutes to run online and ODL (open and distance learning) programmes without territorial restrictions are other ideas on the table.
The committee, comprising top representatives of the University Grants Commission, All India Council for Technical Education, human resource development ministry and NITI Aayog, was constituted by the PMO in June this year, following a presentation to PM Narendra Modi on the major roadblocks facing the sector. The committee submitted its report on August 30.
The committee was chaired by Aayog's first vice chairman Arvind Panagariya and included Aayog's CEO Amitabh Kant as its member secretary, KK Sharma (secretary in the department of higher education), UGC's acting chairman VS Chauhan and AICTE chairman Anil D Sahasrabudhe as its members.
The committee has recommended classifying educational institutions into three categories based on the NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) accreditation score.
The idea is to introduce a three-tier autonomy mechanism, as per which the top-ranked institutions will get full academic, administrative and financial autonomy.