Many colleges from the University of Delhi have expressed their desire to become autonomous. Recently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has invited colleges to discuss this matter under the UGC Scheme for Autonomy.
The University Grants Commission has invited colleges from across the country for an orientation programme on Thursday to discuss the matter of autonomy. Highlighting the importance of autonomous colleges, the UGC document on the profile of higher education in India reiterates, “the only safe and better way to improve the quality of undergraduate education is to the delink most of the colleges from the affiliating structure. Colleges with academic and operative freedom are doing better and have more credibility.”
The affiliating system of colleges was originally curated when the number of colleges affiliated under a university was small. The university could then effectively oversee the working of the colleges, act as an examining body and award degrees on their behalf. The system has now become cumbersome and it is becoming increasingly difficult for a university to attend to the varied needs of individual colleges.
The colleges affiliated under a university do not have the freedom to modernize their curriculum as they have to comply with the university norms. A few prestigious institutions under the University of Delhi, namely, St. Stephen’s College, Hindu College, Ramjas College, Sri Ram College of Commerce and colleges run by the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, have articulated the aspiration of achieving a deemed university status for the same reason.
The orientation programme is expected to give an idea about the interest level among the other colleges seeking an autonomous status. The UGC had initiated this scheme at the beginning of the year. In his letter to the colleges P K Thakur, secretary, UGC, wrote that the commission has been implementing the scheme of autonomous colleges in order to facilitate the colleges to achieve further qualitative improvement leading towards academic excellence.
If the colleges under Delhi University attain autonomy, they would have the freedom to formulate their own rules and regulations and design their fee structures which will no longer adhere to the guidelines set by Delhi University. Many students and faculty members have protested and are against these colleges attaining autonomy.
In 1981, St Stephen’s College was offered autonomy by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. However, DUTA?had opposed the move. In 2013, a similar offer was made to Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR) which yielded a similar reaction. This year, students of St Stephen’s College protested against the discussion of autonomy by the governing body of their college.
Feature Image Credits: The Indian Express