COIMBATORE: Selection of Reliance Foundation’s Jio Institution -- which is yet to come into existence -- for the coveted Institute of Eminence status by the Ministry of Human Resource Development has created a furore among the academic community and the ministry had to issue a clarification saying the institute was selected under the greenfield category.
Now, it has come to the light that the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) that was constituted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to shortlist 20 institutions (10 each in public and private category) had in fact shortlisted IIT Madras and Anna University, both from Chennai, for the prestigious Institute of Eminence status. The expert committee had shortlisted eight public institutions and three private institutions. However, out those 11 institutions, the UGC and MHRD decided to award the status to only six institutions (three each in private and public category).
Apart from these two TN institutions, status of five other shortlisted institutes is to be decided by UGC at later stage.Last year, UGC had come up with UGC (Declaration of Government Educational Institutions as Institutions of Eminence) Guidelines, 2017 and UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2017, to provide an enabling regulatory architecture to 10 public and 10 private higher educational institutions to emerge as world-class teaching and research institutions.
UGC appointed an EEC headed by former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami to select the 20 institutions. A total of 114 applications were received, of which 113 met all the eligibility conditions.
As many as 74 public institutions -- 11 Central Universities (CU), 27 Institutes of National Importance (INI), six Deemed to be Universities (DTBU), 27 State Universities and three standalone institutions -- had applied to be recognised as Institutions of Excellence. Out of this 74 institutions, the committee shortlisted eight institutions -- IISC Bangalore, IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, Delhi University, Jadavpur University in West Bengal and Anna University in Chennai, Tamil Nadu -- for the IOE status.
In the private institutions category, 40 institutions have applied for IoE recognition, a small number considering the large body of private institutions. Of the 40, 11 applications belonged to proposed institutions in Green Field Institutions category and 29 existing institutions under Brown Field Institutions category, the expert committee said in its report.
After scrutiny, the expert committee shortlisted BITS Pilani, Rajasthan, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Karnataka and Jio Institute (Reliance Foundation, Maharashtra) for the IOE status.
But the UGC, which considered the expert committee report at its meeting on July 9, had decided to recommend only six institutions for the IOE status.
The commission also decided that the remaining five public institutions recommended by the EEC for granting IOE status shall be considered by the commission at a later stage. We have made a presentation before the committee and are waiting for the government’s decision, said MK Surappa, the Vice-Chancellor of Anna University.
The move to award the IoE status to only six institutions has drawn flak from educationists in Tamil Nadu. “Originally, the government had decided to select 10 public and 10 private institutions for the Institute of Eminence status. We do not know why the remaining five institutions were dropped from the list in the first phase,” said M Anandhakrishnan, the former Vice-Chancellor of Anna University.
“This is total bias and indifference, there is no doubt about it. The centre has neglected and sidelined two institutions shortlisted from Tamil Nadu. The Government of India should rethink the entire process,” said C Pichandy, the former general secretary of the Association of University Teachers.
Institute of Eminence status
- An Empowered Expert Committee was constituted by the University Grants Commission (UGC)
- Set up to shortlist 20 institutions (10 each in public and private)
- As many as 74 public institutions applied to be recognised as the Institute of Eminence status
- The committee shortlisted only 11 (8 public institutions and 3 private institutions)
- IIT Madras and Anna University, both from Chennai, among the list of shortlisted institutes
- UGC and MHRD decided to award the status to only six (3 each in private, public)
- Apart from Anna University and IIT-M, the status of 5 others to be decided later