UGC releases draft guidelines for Institutional Development Plans

Draft guidelines

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released draft guidelines for higher education institutions’ Institutional Development Plans (IDPs) (HEIs). The guidelines include recommendations for faculty recruitment, a fast-track promotion system for teachers, campus audits, and physical infrastructure upgrades for effective teaching and learning.

The draught guidelines were released as part of the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. The higher education regulator has issued a public notice asking stakeholders for feedback on the guidelines by February 11th.

The guidelines were drafted by an expert committee chaired by Avinash Chandra Pandey, director of the Inter-University Accelerator Centre, an autonomous body under the UGC, which was formed in March of last year.

According to the draught, the Higher Education Council of India will include a Higher Education Grants Council, which will replace the UGC and the technical education regulator All India Council for Technical Education as per NEP 2020. According to the draught, “the council will carry out funding and financing of higher education based on transparent criteria, including the IDPs prepared by the institutions and the progress made on their implementation.”

The UGC currently funds higher education institutions.

The proposal states that 50 percent of the total faculty requirement can be contractual (tenured) or visiting from the profession/industry to maintain a balance between “theory and practise” in professional streams and to support industry-institution interaction. This has been suggested as a way to maintain a balance between theory and practise.

The proposal calls for a “fast track promotion system” for faculty members in order to recognise “extremely high-impact” research and contributions. It is suggested that each HEI develop a “multi-parameter system,” which includes “peer and student reviews,” for evaluating teacher performance for tenure, promotion, and salary increments.

According to the proposal, each HEI must adhere to the UGC’s faculty-to-student ratio. It proposes an action plan for each institution to upgrade academic and infrastructure facilities in order to help them transform into large multidisciplinary institutions in line with the NEP 2020. Universities and colleges should build infrastructure for online learning, blended learning, and differently-abled students, as well as promote sports, wellness, and the arts, according to the proposal.

The list of documents propose obtaining and collating information from state governments regarding the number of low-performing universities/non-accredited colleges in each state/Union Territory to “assess the adequacy of infrastructure and academic facilities available in HEIs,” citing a “data deficit” related to the availability of academic infrastructure in HEIs.

The draught guidelines call for audits of higher education campuses to ensure that land is used efficiently. “Land acquisition is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s world. As a result, all campuses must conduct a campus audit and invest in efficient land utilisation. JNU, New Delhi, MANIT, Bhopal, and many others, for example, have more than 500 acres of spare land that can be used for future growth or to establish links with industry, research organisations, and inter-university collaboration.”

Concerns have been expressed by a group of Delhi University (DU) faculty members about the guidelines. “It will lead to a culture of contractualization in faculty recruitment,” said Rajesh Jha, a professor at the university. It will encourage nepotism and ideological considerations while jeopardising educational quality. Furthermore, including peer and student reviews in faculty performance evaluations is arbitrary.”

AK Bhagi, president of the DU Teachers Association, said the group will submit comments on the draught guidelines to the UGC. “This type of recommendation should have no bearing on any sanctioned teaching position because only permanent faculty can effectively run a higher education institution.” Over and above the sanctioned posts, industry experts can be invited to give guest lectures. We’re still going over the draught.”

Officials from the University of Georgia did not respond to requests for comment. “Suggestions have been sought from stakeholders for wider consultation before implementation,” an education ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

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