UGC in its new role drafts guidelines for managing a technical institution

Now that universities and colleges are coming to terms with the fact that the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is only an ‘advisory body’, being stripped of its power to regulate technical and professional courses, the next worry is about the role of University Grants Commission (UGC).

Though it is said to be now invested with regulatory powers, even officials from UGC are not clear about the role the body will play.

The Supreme Court in its judgement of April 25, 2013, has ruled that colleges affiliated to a university do not come under the purview of the definition of technical institution as defined under Section 2 (h) of the AICTE Act, 1987. An earlier blow to the AICTE was when the Apex Court ruled that MBA was not a technical course within the definition of AICTE Act. With the recent ruling, it will have no hold over engineering courses too.

As a result, the UGC in its new role has prepared a draft of guidelines – Approval of Colleges Offering Technical Education by Universities 2013 – that defines every aspect involved in managing a technical institution.

Though the judgement was passed in April, the UGC’s guidelines were issued formally only this December. These were hosted on its website with a view to inviting comments / suggestions from universities / colleges and also other stakeholders. The last date given for this is December 12.

There are mixed reactions to this development. There is a section that believes that AICTE was doing well and UGC should follow the same system. Though some are happy over AICTE being stripped of its regulatory status, they are not sure whether UGC will be able to do justice. Also, there is a fear that the proposal of the UGC to hand over supreme powers to the affiliating university will misused.

Former Anna University Vice-Chancellor E. Balagurusamy believes that giving absolute powers to the universities is a “dangerous move”.

“AICTE has improved in the last four years and their e-governance was very good. UGC should ensure that it followed the same system so as not to dilute it. Giving the power of approvals for new colleges to the universities is not a right decision as appointment of Vice-Chancellors is increasingly in the lines of political consideration. They will be easily influenced by politicians in giving these approvals,” he says.

Principal of an engineering college says that for institutions who adhere to the norms and systems, it did not make a difference if the regulatory authority was the AICTE or the UGC. They would continue to maintain standards and quality irrespective of regulation.

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