UGC Notifies New Rule to Let Colleges Apply for Autonomy, Limits University’s Role
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released new regulations, the UGC (Conferment of Autonomous Status upon Colleges and Measures for Maintenance of Standards in Autonomous Colleges) Regulations, 2023, which allow affiliated and constituent colleges to seek academic and administrative autonomy directly from the commission without having to go through their universities. The new regulations will allow autonomous colleges to create their own curriculum, admission policies, streamline programs, and even introduce new courses. The UGC has stated that the regulations provide a simple and transparent mechanism for colleges seeking autonomous status.
According to the notice, any affiliated or constituent college of any discipline, whether government, aided, unaided, partially aided, or self-financed, can apply for autonomous status provided it has been in existence for at least 10 years and falls under Section 2(f) of the UGC Act. Additionally, colleges must have been accredited either by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), NBA for at least three courses, or by a UGC-empanelled authorization agency. If the number of eligible courses is less than three, then each eligible course must be accredited as per National Board of Accreditation (NBA) norms. Furthermore, constituent colleges must also undergo independent accreditation.
The regulations state that autonomous status will initially be granted for a period of five or ten years and can be extended for another five or ten years. Colleges with autonomous status will be able to design their own syllabi and admission rules and offer certificate or diploma programs without the prior approval of the parent university. They will also be able to offer degree programs at both undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) levels, as well as PhD courses with the agreement of the academic council. The parent university’s role will be limited to examining the online applications for autonomous status on the Commission's portal within a 30-day period. If the university does not provide any comments or objections within that time, it will be presumed that they have no objection.