The Government of India has released the draft UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2022.

 

Details

  • The draft proposed to remove the requirement that an institute be in operation for at least 20 years before applying for the tag – ‘deemed-to-be’ universities.
  • Amendments to the existing guidelines are required to bring them in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which calls for the removal of the terms “deemed-to-be university” or “affiliating institution” altogether.

 

What is a ‘deemed university’?

  • A deemed university or deemed-to-be-university is an accreditation granted to higher educational institutions in India.
    • According to the Ministry of Education, an Institution of Higher Education (other than universities) that works at a very high standard in a specific field of study might be designated as a ‘Deemed-to-be-university‘ by the Central Government on the advice of the UGC.
  • Such institutions enjoy the academic status and privileges of a university. Also, the status of deemed university allows for complete autonomy in terms of courses, curriculum, admissions and fees.
  • This provision was introduced to ensure that more higher education institutions achieve university status for all practical purposes.
    • Under the UGC Act, 1956, university status can be obtained by institutes established under state or union laws.
  • As of 2021, the UGC lists 126 institutes that have been given deemed university status.
  • According to this list, the first institute to be given deemed university status was the Indian Institute of Science in 1958 and Tamil Nadu has the most deemed universities (28).

 

Salient features of the regulations

  • The governance structure of the deemed universities will be similar to that of the Central Universities.
  • Making multi-disciplinary institutions or a cluster of them, with a minimum of five departments eligible to apply for the deemed university status.
  • The 20-year condition to get the deemed university status is waived only in cases where applicants can establish that they will address the strategic needs of the country, engaged in preservation of cultural heritage, etc.
    • Such applicants are granted deemed status under ‘De Novo
      • De-Novo Deemed University is an institution which will undertake study and research in unique and emerging areas of knowledge that are not offered by any existing institution.
    • The draft regulations also envisage replacing the term ‘De Novowith Distinct institution.
  • A proposal has been made to simplify the process of sanctioning off-campus centres of deemed universities.
    • The approval for off-campus centres will be granted by the UGC. Earlier this approval was given by the Ministry of Education.
  • Deemed to be universities will also be eligible to start off-shore campus centres as per UGC regulations on the subject.
  • The deemed universities should maintain transparency in fee policy keeping non-profiteering or non-commercial aspects in view.
  • Such universities may implement the reservation policy in admissions/recruitment as per the law and may offer online/distance courses/degrees in accordance with the UGC Regulations.
  • Government or UGC can conduct enquiry or inspection on complaints in matters of academics, administration and finance or any matter connected with the functioning of such universities.
  • In case of violations of the regulations, graded penalties have been introduced.

 

About the UGC

  • The Sargent Report was the first attempt to formulate a national system of education in India in 1944.
  • It recommended the formation of a University Grants Committee, which was established in 1945 to oversee the work of the three Central Universities of Aligarh, Banaras, and Delhi.
  • Soon after independence, the University Education Commission was established (in 1948) under the chairmanship of Dr. S Radhakrishnan to report on Indian university education and suggest improvements and extensions.
  • It proposed reorganising the University Grants Committee along the lines of the University Grants Commission of the United Kingdom, with a full-time Chairman and other members.
  • As a result, the UGC was formally inaugurated in 1953 by Maulana Abul Kalam, the then Minister of Education, Natural Resources, and Scientific Research.
  • However, the UGC was established as a statutory body in November 1956 by the UGC Act 1956.
  • It is set up by the Ministry of Education’s Department of Higher Education.
  • A proposal to replace it with another new regulatory body called the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) is under consideration by the Government of India.