Know where your university stands in Graded Autonomy categories: UGC new regulations

New Delhi: The stage is set for big reforms in university education system. As a first step the University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved the UGC (Categorization of Universities for Grant of Graded Autonomy) Regulations, 2017, which seeks all universities in India will be classified under three categories: Category I, Category II and Category III. These categories will based on their National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) score and ranking under National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF).

As per All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2015-2016, there are 799 universities as on 31 March 2016. The autonomy structure in terms of financial and academic aspects will be changed once the Regulation on Graded Autonomy becomes Act. The sole objective of the new regulation is providing greater autonomy to performing universities. The regulations have proposed that Category I and Category II institutions will be given greater autonomy while Category III universities will enjoy restricted autonomy.

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Category I Universities: As per the Draft of the new regulation that has been uploaded on the UGC website, a university will get Category I tag if it has been accredited by NAAC with score of 3.5 or above or if it has achieved a ranking in the top 50 institutions of the NIRF ranking in the category of universities for 2 years continuously. These are the top performer universities and will enjoy more autonomy in awarding academic degree and course structure, and in financial resources allocation.

Category II Universities:  They will be termed as second ranked universities. Universities will get category II tag who has been accredited by NAAC with score between 3.01 and 3.49 or if it has achieved a ranking from 51 to 100 in the NIRF ranking in the category of universities for 2 years continuously.

Category III Universities: The lowest ranked universities will get Category III. A university will fall in Category III if it does not come either under the Category I or Category II.

The UGC will fix dates (at least two times in a year, preferably 1st of June and 1st December). All such applications shall be scrutinized by the Commission and orders on Categorization passed within thirty days of the date fixed as the last date for receipt of such applications. During this period, the Commission shall also publish such requests on its website.

As per the draft paper of the UGC (Categorization of Universities for Grant of Graded Autonomy) Regulations, 2017, the commission may have different provisions for different categories of Institutions as defined in Clause 3.1 with the objective of giving higher levels of autonomy to Institutions under Category I compared to institutions under Categories II or III, and to institutions under Category II compared to institutions under Category III.

Before finalization of the UGC (Categorization of Universities for Grant of Graded Autonomy) Regulations, 2017, the higher education regulator has sought feedback/comments from general public/stakeholders. The UGC informed that the public can send their feedback/comments on new regulation documents to UGC by email on feedback2ugc@gmail.com on or before 15 June 2017.

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