Eighteen new community colleges were approved by the Tamil Nadu Open University (TNOU) taking the number of such colleges in the State affiliated to TNOU to 167.

Briefing reporters on the outcome of a Syndicate meeting held by TNOU on Thursday, Kalyani Anbuchelvan, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said they would also consider giving community college status to vocational programme centres if they came forward.

At present there are 244 such centres providing diploma courses offered by TNOU. Since these diploma courses were also being offered by community colleges, the University plans to close down those centres which did not apply for community college status as the same courses were being offered through two channels.

The Syndicate also approved a plan to provide 25 per cent waiver to students taking up Tamil in undergraduate or postgraduate level and 50 per cent fee waiver for students taking up degree and diploma courses simultaneously.

A Tamil library housing books on various subjects would be housed at the University building coming up in Saidapet, which is expected to be ready by December, Dr. Kalyani said.

The Vice-Chancellor said a lesson on Classical Tamil had been incorporated in its textbook making it the first University to follow the Chief Minister's suggestion at the World Classical Tamil meet. A circular had also been sent to make Tamil the administrative language and it had been suggested that all the staff members affix Tamil signatures to documents, she added.

A spot admission facility where students could register themselves and immediately obtain their identity cards and course books was inaugurated on the campus in the morning.