India’s “Institutions of Eminence” Allowed To Set up Campuses in Foreign Countries

As per the new guidelines issued by University Grants Commission (UGC) under National Education Policy (NEP), Indian universities and colleges with the tag of Institutions of Eminence (IOEs)  including several IITs, will now be able to set up campuses in foreign countries.

On Thursday, 7th January 2021, the University Grants Commission (UGC) released the new UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) (Amendments) Regulations 2021. As per the guidelines, Indian universities and colleges with the tag of Institutions of Eminence (IOEs)  including several IITs, will now be able to set up campuses in foreign countries.

The new guidelines have been issued as per the new National Education Policy (NEP) as per which foreign universities will be allowed to set up campuses in India and vice versa. According to the norms, IoEs shall be permitted to start a maximum of three off-campus centres in five years, but not more than one in an academic year.

Institutions of Eminence… shall be permitted to set up new off-campus centres-maximum of three in five years and not more than one in one academic year by following the procedures

– Excerpt from the new UGC guidelines

The Education Ministry had launched the IoE scheme in 2018 as per which 20 institutions were to be selected — 10 public and 10 private ones. These institutions were to enjoy complete academic and administrative autonomy. They will, however, require approval from three ministries- education ministry, home ministry and external affairs ministry.

According to the new guidelines, an institution willing to establish an off-campus centre will have to submit an application to the Ministry of Education containing its 10-year ‘strategic vision plan’ and a five-year ‘rolling implementation plan’ . This would include the plans for academics, faculty recruitment, student admissions, research, infrastructure development, finance and administration, etc.

The IoEs shall be permitted to start an off-campus centre in an interim campus, subject to the condition that the permanent campus shall be ready within a reasonable time period not exceeding five years. IoEs shall ensure that the norms and standards of offshore campus shall be the same as that maintained in the main campus for similar courses…..

– Excerpt from the new UGC guidelines

The new guidelines also state that at least 60 percent of the appointed faculty members should be on permanent basis. The institute should also have enrolled a minimum of 500 students on its rolls under regular classroom mode with one third PG/research students.

It is to be noted that in the first round Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IITD), IIT Bombay and the  Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru (IISc) were awarded the IoE status in the public sector, and Manipal Academy of Higher Education and BITS Pilani in the private sector. In 2019, five public institutions including University of Delhi (DU), Banaras Hindu University (BHU), University of Hyderabad, IIT-Madras and IIT-Kharagpur were granted the status.

While the government will provide funding upto Rs 1,000 crore to public institutions with IoE tag, in case of the private institutions proposed as Institutions of Eminence, there will be no financial support. However, they will be entitled to more autonomy as a special category Deemed University.

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Navneet Kaur


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