The UGC and the AICTE — the apex higher education regulators — will lose their powers to regulate 20 higher educational institutions that the Centre will project as Institutions of Eminence.
The idea, a top source in the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) said, is to choose 10 government and 10 private institutions and offer them complete autonomy.
These select institutions would be expected to break into the top 500 world rankings in a decade. They would have complete freedom to decide the curricula, hire domestic and foreign faculty at variable pay, and fix a fee structure of their choice.
“The architecture also provides for financial support ...so that meritorious but poor students do not lose the opportunity to study,” the source added.
The Centre has firmed up the basic framework of the scheme. To begin with, a search-cum-selection-committee comprising the Cabinet Secretary, the Secretary (Higher Education) and the UGC chairman will be set up to choose an empowered expert committee comprising prominent scholars and eminent persons, the source said.
The committee would be free to pick 20 institutions from among those that apply for the status. “We plan to allow only those institutions that are among the top 50 in the NIRF [National Institute Ranking Framework] rankings and have a consistent A-plus score in the National Assessment and Accreditation Council grading to apply for this scheme,” said the source.