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UGC drops cap on contractual faculty for autonomous colleges

New Delhi: Autonomous colleges will no longer be required to ensure that the number of contractual faculty is not more than 10 per cent of the total sanctioned faculty positions, according to revised UGC norms. The affiliated and constituent colleges will also be able to directly approach the University Grants Commission (UGC) to get academic and administrative autonomy anytime during the year, without going through the parent university.

The commission has notified the new rules under UGC (Conferment of Autonomous Status upon Colleges and Measures for Maintenance of Standards in Autonomous Colleges) Regulations, 2023. The guidelines replace the older set of rules issued in 2018 to align it with the National Education Policy 2020. A draft of the amended guidelines was first made public in October last year.

While the 2018 guidelines said “the number of contractual faculty in an autonomous college should not be more than 10 pc of the total number of sanctioned faculty positions in the college”, the revised guidelines stated that “all recruitments of teaching faculty/principal shall be made by the Governing Body/state government as applicable in accordance with the policies laid down by the UGC and State Government from time to time”.

The colleges will no longer be required to route their application through their parent university. However, the universities will get 30 days to examine the application received on the UGC portal.

“To examine the application of the college for autonomous status on the UGC portal and give its recommendations, along with reasons or justification, within 30 working days on the UGC portal. If the parent university does not respond on the UGC portal within 30 working days, it shall be presumed that the parent university has no objection to the processing of the application by the UGC for conferment of autonomous status,” as per the revised norms.

The autonomous status will allow colleges to design their own syllabi, restructure courses and chart their own admission rules. The colleges will also get the liberty to start certificate or diploma courses without prior approval of the parent university. The colleges can also offer degree programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels along with PhD programmes with the approval of the academic council.

The grant of autonomy will be based on the accreditation and assessment scores of the institutions. As per the new rules, the autonomous status will be granted initially for a period of 10 years provided the college is accredited either by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with a minimum ‘A’ Grade and a score of 3.01 and above, or by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) for at least three programmes with a minimum score of 675 individually.

“Accreditation status must be valid for at least one year at the time of application submission,” state the guidelines.

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