What are the Institutions of Eminence Scheme? What are the objectives and benefits of the scheme?
The University Grants Commission (UGC), which is responsible for maintaining the standards of higher education in India, has identified and nominated a total of 20 institutions that are deemed to be worthy of receiving the coveted tag of Institutes of Eminence (IOE).
These 20 institutions were selected based on the recommendations made by the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC), which is chaired by N Gopalaswami.
The EEC, which was formed by the UGC, was tasked with the responsibility of assessing and evaluating the applications submitted by various institutions and shortlisting the top 20 Institutions of Eminence, with 10 being public institutions and 10 being private institutions.
What are the Institutions of Eminence Scheme?
The UGC (Declaration of Government Educational Institutions as Institutions of Eminence) Guidelines, 2017 were established to provide a regulatory framework that enables higher education institutions to achieve world-class status as teaching and research institutions.
The step is to improve the quality of higher education in the country and to put Indian educational institutions on the global map. These institutions are expected to become hubs of excellence in teaching, research, and innovation, and to be ranked among the top 500 in the world. The selected institutions are granted academic and administrative autonomy, as well as the freedom to set their curriculum, hire foreign faculty and students, collaborate with international institutions, and operate under flexible norms.
Objectives of the Scheme
The aim and objectives of the Institutions of Eminence Scheme are:
- The primary objectives of the university education system are to provide higher education leading to excellence and innovations in post-graduate, graduate, and research degree levels.
- The universities aim to award degrees, diplomas, and other academic distinctions to students.
- Universities engage in areas of specialization to make distinctive contributions to the objectives of the university education system.
- The academic engagement is distinguishable from programs of an ordinary nature and is tuned to developing the capacity of the students and the researchers to compete in the global tertiary education marketplace.
- Universities provide high-quality teaching and research to advance knowledge and disseminate it through various research programs undertaken in-house by a substantial number of full-time faculty and research scholars in diverse disciplines.
- Special attention is paid to teaching and research in unique and emerging areas of knowledge, including interdisciplinary areas, regarded as important for the strategic needs of the country.
- The universities aim to be rated internationally for their teaching and research as a top hundred Institutions in the world over time.
- Universities award degrees, diplomas, and other academic distinctions to students who complete their programs.
Criteria for Institutions of Eminence Tag
Criteria for Institutions of Eminence (IoE) status under the Institutions of Eminence Scheme:
Global/National Ranking: Only institutions that have appeared in any global or national ranking are eligible for IoE status.
- Public institutions are assessed based on QS-2020 world rankings. If there is a tie, QS-2019 rankings are used.
- Private institutions are assessed based on their ranking in the QS India or National Institution Ranking Framework (NIRF). The NIRF ranking is used as a tie-breaker.
- Any institution that did not appear in any rankings (QS-2019, QS-2020, and NIRF) is excluded completely from the IoE list.
Greenfield Proposals: If there are still vacant slots after exhausting the above criterion, consideration is given to yet-to-be-established (Greenfield) proposals.
- Greenfield projects refer to the initiation of a project without the need to consider any prior work.
- Greenfield institutions are given 3 years to establish and operationalize the institution.
- EEC will then consider giving IoE status to such institutions.
Benefits of Institutions of Eminence Scheme
It is important to note that UGC Inspection will not apply to Institutions of Eminence. Benefits of the scheme are:
- Government Institutions can receive up to 1000 Cr. in additional funding as Institutions of Eminence (IoE).
- IoE will have complete academic, administrative, and financial autonomy subject to general conditions and restrictions.
- Academic collaborations with the top 500 foreign higher educational institutions are exempt from government approvals.
- Freedom to hire industry personnel as faculty and recruit up to 25% of faculty from outside India (for public institutions).
- Freedom to collaborate with other institutions within the country and have a transparent merit-based admission system.
- Freedom to admit up to 30% foreign students based on merit and charge fees without restrictions.
- Flexibility to offer courses in newer areas and interdisciplinary ones after approval and minimum standards are met.
- Freedom to fix curriculum, and syllabus, and offer online courses (up to 20% of the program).
While the Institutions of Eminence (IoE) scheme is a significant step towards promoting excellence in higher education in India, there are still several challenges that need to be addressed to achieve the desired outcomes. Some of the key challenges that lie ahead for institutions under the IoE scheme are:
- Funding: One of the most significant challenges for institutions under the IoE scheme is funding. While these institutions have been granted greater autonomy and resources, they still need additional funding to carry out research, and infrastructure development, and to attract and retain top talent.
- Faculty Quality: Faculty quality is crucial, and this remains a challenge for institutions under the IoE scheme. Attracting and retaining top faculty is a difficult task.
- Collaboration: Collaboration with industry, other academic institutions, and international partners is vital for research and innovation. However, many IoE institutions still face challenges in building effective collaborations with stakeholders in India and abroad.
- Inclusivity: While the IoE scheme aims to create world-class universities, it is essential to ensure that these institutions are accessible to all students, regardless of their socio-economic background. Ensuring inclusivity and diversity in these institutions remains a significant challenge.
In conclusion, the Institutions of Eminence (IoE) scheme is a significant step towards promoting excellence in higher education in India. The scheme has already helped these institutions to enhance their research capabilities, faculty quality, infrastructure, and international collaborations. The IoE scheme has also encouraged these institutions to adopt innovative approaches to teaching, research, and administration.
Overall, the Institutions of Eminence scheme has been a positive step towards improving the quality of higher education in India. However, there is still a long way to go to achieve the goal of creating world-class universities in India. The government and the institutions themselves must continue to work towards this goal by investing in research, infrastructure, and human resources, and by fostering an environment of innovation and creativity.
Related article: Education in India
Article Written By: Priti Raj