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UGC move to allow autonomous colleges to give degrees shelved

It was a move that was eagerly awaited by colleges as the University Grants Commission (UGC) decided to allow 45 autonomous colleges across the country to start awarding their own degrees. It has been two years since.

Students studying in these colleges continue to receive degree certificates from the affiliating university instead of the college, and college authorities now believe the move has been shelved. A UGC member, on condition of anonymity, also confirmed that the proposal had not been discussed in the recent past.

With no official communication yet from the UGC, college managements say the parent university was still awarding degrees to the students. The delay in this was usually cited as one of the reasons why the autonomous colleges wanted to be given the power to award degrees to the students.

“We have heard nothing from the UGC about this, so our students continue to get degree certificates from Bangalore University,” said the principal of one of the colleges from Bengaluru.

As many as 10 autonomous colleges in the Karnataka were among the 45 colleges that could have started giving out their own degree certificates. Discussions were also on about bringing about an amendment to the UGC Act to enable this.

However, the UGC document on the XII Plan still states that “the parent university will award degrees to the students evaluated and recommended by autonomous colleges.” The degree certificates will be in a common format devised by the university and the name of the college will be mentioned in the degree certificate, if so desired, the document states.

However, the document also says autonomous colleges that have completed three terms can confer the degree under their title with the seal of the university.

But not everyone is complaining. The management representative of an autonomous college in Mangaluru said degree certificates awarded by individual colleges may not have the global recognition that university-issued certificates enjoy.

A former UGC member also added that if autonomous colleges too are allowed to award their own degrees, there will be no distinction between them and deemed and private universities. “Autonomous colleges can seek university status to be able to award degrees,” he added.

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