Last year, the University Grants Commission (UGC) came up with the idea of giving 20 Indian universities an elite status by declaring them the “Institutes of Eminence”. It invited nominations from the higher education institutions (HEIs) – both public and private for the same. Interestingly, the UGC received 73 applications close before the deadline.
Rewarding three public, three private and one greenfield institute the status of eminent institutes, the commission failed to reach the target of providing 20 universities the elite status. These institutions will be accorded the eminence status with a mandate to achieve the world-class status over a period of 10 years.
These are the six institutes of eminence:
- BITS Pilani
- Manipal Academy of Higher Education
- Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru
- Indian Institutes of Technology, Mumbai
- Indian Institutes of Technology, Delhi
- Jio Institute
One interesting and notable fact is that the list features the Jio Institute of the Reliance Foundation, which is yet to be launched. Though the government faced some harsh questions about it, the authorities have not kept their mouth shut about it too.
A special panel of University Grants Commission carried out the selections and made it clear that the institution made the cut under the greenfield category for new or proposed institutions. According to officials, 11 such institutions had applied for the Institutes of Eminence and Jio was selected from the list.
Why Institutions of Eminence?
Currently, not a single Indian university is able to make a place in the list of top 100 or even 200 in the world ranking. This is a great embarrassment for India as a nation and reflects badly on its image.
In order to cope with this major issue and getting on the front foot, the decision was taken to create the IOE category of institutions.
What Special Status They Get?
According to UGC, the selected institutions will be granted unprecedented administrative and financial autonomy by the government in a wide range of matters including faculty and staff salaries, student fees, course offerings and content, and so on. Other than a reasonably-flexible set of guidelines, they will in fact be completely free of UGC regulations. The government will provide up to Rs 1,000 crore to each of the public institutions. Private institutions will not receive any direct financial support from the government but will have access to public funds for research.
Universities in the IOE group will be expected to break into the ranks of the world’s top 500 universities in 10-15 years, and eventually into the top 100.