Universities to be graded in three categories on NAAC score or NIRF ranking: Draft of UGC new regulations on Graded Autonomy

New Delhi: In a significant development that will have a major impact on university education in India, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved a new set of Regulations called the UGC (Categorization of Universities for Grant of Graded Autonomy) Regulations, 2017. Under these, the universities will be classified into three categories based on their National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) score and ranking under National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF): Category I, Category II and Category III.

The sole objective of the new regulation is providing greater autonomy to performing universities. Hence, the regulations have proposed that Category I and Category II institutions will be given greater autonomy in term of both academic and financial decisions and modalities.

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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.

In the same manner, a university will get Category II tag if it 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.

The lower graded university will get Category III. A university will fall in Category III if it does not come either under the Category I or Category II.

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.

The Draft paper of the regulations proposed that universities under Category I and Category II shall continue to be in their respective categories as long as they maintain the required parameters under NAAC or NIRF, as the case may be, for that category. Provided that whenever an Institution fails to maintain the accreditation or ranking applicable to its existing category, then it shall mandatorily inform the Commission of the same within 30 days of the change in its status.

Procedure for Categorization of Universities:  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.

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