THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Autonomy for engineering colleges in the state is fast becoming a reality. University Grants Commission (UGC) would soon send a team of experts to gauge the merit of three private engineering colleges, whose applications for academic autonomy have been pending with the commission for almost eight months.
Three pioneering engineering colleges, all run by Christian managements, had approached the UGC shortly after UGC announced its 2018 regulations, which projected academic autonomy as the way to excellence of higher education institutions in the country.
The colleges thus in queue are Mar Baselios College of Engineering and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram (run by Syro-Malabar Catholic Church); Saintgits College of Engineering, Kottayam, (run by Malankara Syrian Orthaox Church) and Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology, Ernakulam (run by CMI Syrian Catholic Church).
“We submitted the applications to the UGC around eight months ago. As far as we know, Kerala government and APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University have not yet recommended names of their representatives to be included in the five-member expert committee being set up by UGC for initial evaluation of colleges that have applied for academic autonomy. However, the UGC seems to have decided to go ahead with their procedures for the processing of our applications. It has been informed that the UGC team would visit Mar Baselios by middle of December and Saintgits and Rajagiri in January,” sources close to the developments said.
The Technological University had, last week, decided to seek government opinion on the demands for academic autonomy. “The government has not yet clarified about how to deal with autonomy requests of affiliated colleges. The university is receiving such requests and to formulate an unambiguous approach, we need to know the government stand,” said KTU vice-chancellor M S Rajasree. Closely after the revision in UGC guidelines, higher education minister K T Jaleel had said that the policy changes at the national level had offered the state little elbow room, but would try its best to ensure strict conditions for academic autonomy.
According to the UGC guidelines, engineering colleges having NAAC accreditation with ‘A’ grade can seek academic autonomy, provided they also have NBA accreditation with score above 675 for at least three engineering departments. In case the government and university refuse to nominate its representatives to the five-member inspection team in which three would be UGC nominees, or fail to raise, within one month, specific objections against granting autonomy to higher education institutions after the expert assessment, the consent would be deemed as given.