Tamil Nadu Governor R. N. Ravi had sought the opinion of the University Grants Commission (UGC) on the State’s decision to implement a uniform syllabus for higher educational institutions, before vetoing the move.
The Governor had, on Monday, August 21, 2023, written to Vice Chancellors of State universities stating that they were under no obligation to follow the common syllabus designed by the Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education (TANSCHE).
Incidentally, earlier this month, the T.N. Higher Education Department itself had made it optional for institutions: they could choose to adopt the syllabus, or not.
It is learnt that UGC Chairman M .Jagadesh Kumar, responded to the Governor, stating that The University Grants Commission (Conferment of Autonomous Status Upon Colleges and Measures for Maintenance of Standards in Autonomous Colleges) Regulations, 2023, enables autonomous colleges to review existing courses/programmes and restructure, redesign and prescribe their own courses/programmes of study and syllabi. Prof Kumar had said this in his reply to a letter from Governor Ravi dated August 9, 2023. Governor Ravi had flagged concerns of Vice Chancellors, principals of colleges and managements of autonomous institutions over the Higher Education Department aggressively pushing arts & science colleges to adopt the common syllabus.
Prof Kumar had said that the National Education Policy, 2020, envisaged innovation and improvement in course curricula, introduction of a paradigm shift in learning and teaching pedagogy, and in examinations in the education system to provide holistic and multi-disciplinary education.
Pursuant to the same, the UGC had initiated several steps to bring in equity, efficiency and academic excellence to the national higher education system. The UGC was relentlessly striving to empower higher education institutions with the required flexibility to cater to their academic requirements.
Prof Kumar also said that the UGC had formulated a Curriculum and Credit Framework for Undergraduate Programmes (CCUP), a National Credit Framework (NCrF), and a National Higher Education Qualifications Framework (NHEQF) to serve as guiding documents for higher education institutions in undertaking the revision of their curriculum.
“The purpose is to bring up/elevate all higher education institutions to a common level of benchmarking to ensure that all institutions are providing quality education,” the UGC chairman said.
Referring to the NEP 2020, guidelines and others framework, Prof Kumar said that university/autonomous college shall design the course/programme of study and syllabi in accordance with the regulations, frameworks, guidelines etc. issued by the UGC from time to time and with the due approval of its statutory bodies such as academic councils and executive councils.
Universities were autonomous institutions established by an act of Parliament/State Legislature and empowered to award degrees as per provisions of the UGC Act. The Universities can introduce various programmes and prescribe their syllabi with the due approval of statutory bodies, the letter said.