Shastry V. Mallady

It has sent a ‘background paper’ to all stakeholders

MADURAI: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has written to Education Secretaries of all States and Union Territories seeking their suggestions for formulating an action plan for carrying out reforms in colleges’ affiliation system for universities.

A nine-member expert committee headed by former vice-chancellor of the University of Madras, S.P. Thyagarajan, is now seeking relevant information from the Secretaries (Education) and State Councils of Higher Education besides Vice-Chancellors of select universities.

According to higher education department officials, the UGC had sent a ‘background paper’ to all stakeholders on how to go about streamlining the affiliation system of colleges.

“Issues like maximum number of colleges that can be affiliated to a university, alternative/innovative models in affiliation and the larger reforms required in university system are being analysed by the committee,” according to a communication sent to the Vice-Chancellors by UGC Under Secretary, V. K. Jaiswal.

Following a note sent by the apex body, the Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education has sent a 29-point questionnaire this week to varsities seeking certain specific information/suggestions for reforms in affiliation system.

Expert committee findings

The expert committee, which has prepared a discussion paper, has highlighted how universities’ research activity is badly affected currently.

It pointed out that “….in view of the increasing workload of affiliating functions due to recurring large number of affiliated colleges, the State universities have become examination conducting bodies for these colleges.

This has pushed research functions in varsities to abysmally low level and a view emerged that affiliating system stifles academic activities.”

The UGC is keen to bring about reforms that are viable across the country and both manageable/efficient.

Remodelling of affiliated colleges as community colleges to provide vocational and formal education is also under consideration.