8 Aug 2019

Institutes of Eminence(IoE) 

Source: The Hindu

Manifest pedagogy:Education as a topic in polity should be studied and consolidated at one place.Under Manifest-11 many articles have been written on this subject. It would be wise if students club all of them and study at once to get a holistic picture

In news:UGC has recommended 20 institutions for Institutes of Eminence(IoE)

Current dimensions:

  • What are IoE
  • Which institutes can apply?
  • Importance of IoE

Content:

The IITs Madras and Kharagpur, Delhi University, University of Hyderabad, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and VIT are among the 20 institutions recommended for the grant of the Institute of Eminence status by the University Grants Commission(UGC).

However, the UGC denied the tag to five private universities. Since their exclusion left a vacant slot on the list of private universities given the tag, the Satya Bharti Foundation, Airtel’s philanthropic arm became the second greenfield institution to be given IoE status, after Jio Institute of the Reliance Foundation.

The Institute of Eminence scheme is aimed at developing 20 world-class institutions which would put India on the global education map. Those selected will be given greater autonomy and freedom to decide fees, course durations and governance structures. The public institutions will also receive a government grant of ₹1,000 crore, while the private institutions will not get any funding under the scheme.

The Gopalaswami panel initially recommended 11 institutions for the tag in July 2018. The Centre had then accepted six recommendations IITs Delhi and Bombay, IISc Bangalore, BITS Pilani, Manipal University, and the yet-to-open Jio University. In December, the committee recommended 19 more names and asked the UGC to consider all 30 for the tag.

However, following the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s decision to limit the scheme to the original 20 institutions — 10 private and 10 public — the UGC was forced to prune the list. It chose to use the criterion of the QS-2020 world rankings, with the QS-2019 India rankings and NIRF rankings used as a tie-breaker. Any institution that did not figure in any rankings was excluded completely.

The UGC’s recommendations will now be submitted to the Ministry of HRD for final grant of the status

What are IoE?

UGC notified ‘UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2017’ for private institutions and guidelines ‘UGC (Declaration of Government Educational Institutions as Institutions of Eminence) Guidelines, 2017’ for public institutions on 07.09.2017 to provide regulatory structure for enabling Higher Educational Institutions to become world-class teaching and research institutions

Objectives of the scheme:

  •  to provide for higher education leading to excellence and innovations in such branches of knowledge as may be deemed fit at post-graduate, graduate and research degree levels and award degrees, diplomas and other academic distinctions;
  • to engage in areas of specialization to make distinctive contributions to the objectives of the university education system wherein the academic engagement is clearly distinguishable from programmes of an ordinary nature;
  • to develop the capacity of the students and researchers to compete in the global tertiary education marketplace through the acquisition and creation of advanced knowledge in those areas;
  • to provide for high quality teaching and research and for the advancement of knowledge and its dissemination through various research programmes;
  • to pay special attention to teaching and research in unique and emerging areas of knowledge, including interdisciplinary areas, which are regarded as important for strategic needs of the country;
  • to aim to be rated internationally for its teaching and research as a top hundred Institution in the world over time

Expectations from the IoE:

  • Highly qualified faculty, with freedom to hire from across the world;
  • Existence of academic, administrative and financial autonomy;
  • Excellence in research;
  • High Quality of teaching;
  • High levels of funding;
  • Adequate financial assistance to meritorious students;
  • Selection of students through a transparent system so as to ensure intake of meritorious students;
  • A significant proportion of international students;
  • Autonomous governance structures;
  • Well-equipped facilities for teaching, research, laboratory, administration and student life;
  • Tangible and intangible contribution to society; 
  • Ability to leverage alumni and alternative funding sources, and the autonomy to utilize these resources;
  • It should preferably be multi-disciplinary or interdisciplinary and have both teaching and research focus of an exceptionally high quality.
  • It should have a good proportion of foreign or foreign qualified faculty.
  • The faculty student ratio should be not be less than 1:20 at the time of notification issued declaring an Institution as an Institution of Eminence and should increase over time so as not to be less than 1:10 after five years of this date. 
  • The IoE should strive to achieve social impact by engaging in applied research and innovation in issues of concern to developing societies

Which institutes can apply for the status?

The educational institutes selected, need to be a good mix of Central Universities as well as Arts, Management and Technical Institutes. To get the status, they should be among:

  1. Top 50 in the National institutional Ranking Framework in their category.
  2. Top 500 in internationally recognised rankings like the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
  • Public Institutes that are eligible to apply under Institutes of Eminence are as follows:
  • Central Universities
  • Government-owned and controlled Deemed to be Universities
  • Institutions of National importance such as IITs, NITs, etc.
  • State Universities set up under a law made by Legislative Assembly of a State.

These institutes need to submit a proposal providing their action plan along with milestones and timelines. Apart from this, the institutes also need to mention the milestones they plan to achieve over the next 5 to 15 years

Attributes of IOEs that will separate them from other universities:

  • The institutes will be free from most UGC regulations which are binding on other universities, except for some flexible guidelines.
  • They will not have to adhere to UGC mandated curriculum and would be free to fix their own curriculum and syllabus.
  • They would be able to admit 30 percent of foreign students on merit and deciding the fee charged from foreign students will also be their prerogative.
  • They can recruit foreign faculty upto 25 percent of its faculty strength.
  • They will have the flexibility of course structure in terms of number of credit hours and years to get a degree, after approval of their Governing Council and broadly conforming to the minimum prevailing standards.
  • They shall be free to enter into academic collaborations with other institutions of India.

However, all these facilities will be subject to the University of Eminence meeting the goal of becoming an institution of global repute at the end of fifth and subsequent years failing which they could be penalized by the Empowered Expert Committee to the extent of revoking their eminence tag and reverting them back to their original status

Importance of IoE:

India has been facing a persistent brain drain due to the belief that Indian institutions are not up to the mark. The number of Indian students flying off to the US, Europe and Australia for their post graduate, and lately even undergraduate degrees has risen sharply. 

Foreign degrees cost a packet and are funded by high-cost loans. If India had home-grown Institutions of Eminence, there would be no need to fly abroad for fancy degrees. Indian talents stay within the country and contribute to the growth of the economy.

Academic institutions that can impart high quality education, generate cutting edge research, and attract the best and the brightest from across the globe can have multiplier beneficial effects for the country. So the idea of elevating the best in a sector to an eminent status by granting autonomy is a good one