The University Grants Commission’s proposal to set up an Inter-University Centre (IUC) on Teacher Education at J.N.Technical University in Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh, opposed by member Yogendra Yadav, was moved at a time when the government was reviewing the concept of IUCs.

Prof. Yadav, who has been issued a show-cause notice by the Human Resource Ministry for his affiliation to a political party, opposed the setting up of the IUC on Teachers Education in a technical institution. Kakinada is in the Human Resource Development Minister M.M. Pallam Raju’s Parliamentary constituency.

Interestingly, at present a review committee under eminent academic Goverdhan Mehta is evaluating Inter-University Centres and is expected to submit its report shortly. The committee has been asked to review whether such centres are actually delivering the goods or whether there is something more that the government needs to do — financially or otherwise — to support them and to make them more effective.

The UGC establishes autonomous IUCs within the university system under Clause 12(ccc) of the UGC Act to provide common advanced centralised facilities/services for universities which are not able to invest heavily in infrastructure. These are expected to play a vital role in offering the best expertise in each field to teachers and researchers across the country and provide access for theresearch and teaching community to state-of-the-art equipment and library facilities which are comparable to international standards.

The Nuclear Science Centre in New Delhi (now called Inter-University Accelerator Centre) was the first centre established in 1994. As of today, six IUCs are functioning within the university system. In addition to the Inter-University Accelerator Centre, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and the Astro-Physics (IUCAA) at Pune, the UGC-DAE Consortium for Scientific Research at Indore, the Information Library Network at Ahmedabad, and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council at Bangalore are functional. Another one for Social Sciences has been designated at the IIAS, Shimla.