An expert committee has been set up to suggest amendments to the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act, 1956, UGC Vice-Chairman H. Devaraj has said.

The committee is headed by R.P. Agarwal, former Secretary, Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development .

Addressing a gathering of principals and teachers after inaugurating a two-day workshop on ‘Achieving excellence in higher education: affiliation, accreditation and administration’ here, he said amendments to the Act had become necessary to grant autonomy to degree-awarding institutions.

He said autonomy had been granted to 144 colleges in Tamil Nadu, 79 in Andhra Pradesh, 68 in Karnataka and about 40 colleges in Maharashtra. These colleges had the authority to design their own syllabus and introduce new courses. He added that colleges in Gujarat and Kerala were keen on opting for autonomy.

RUSA

Under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), thrust will be on research and innovations in autonomous institutions, he said. “We should not give up our culture to meet the goals of higher education. Keeping the cultural aspects intact, we must find ways for achieving growth and progress in higher education,” he said.

Prof. Devaraj said universities had been given “adequate funding” in 11th and 12th Plans and they must focus on bringing excellence in higher education. “They are more accountable now,” he said.

More than 300 delegates, including principals, teachers, directors/coordinators of postgraduate centres/courses of affiliated colleges, members of private educational institutions and managements are taking part in the workshop.

The workshop will discuss issues relating to affiliation system, mandatory assessment and accreditation for colleges and UGC schemes for the development of higher education.

Eminent academicians, former vice-chancellors and consultants will deliberate on the issues.

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