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JGLS to be IoE this month with freedom for new courses, as IIT-Kh, BHU, DU also get nod • NLU central support unlikely

IoE to unshackle institutions from UGC and other regulations, to be subject to new committee oversight
IoE to unshackle institutions from UGC and other regulations, to be subject to new committee oversight

The government has approved several of the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) recommendation to make institutions with law schools Institutions of Eminence (IOE), which, apart from bragging rights, would carry with it a significant amount of funding in case of public universities, and more autonomy in case of private institutions.

The HRD Ministry has confirmed the UGC recommendations for Delhi University, Banaras Hindu University, University of Hyderabad, IIT-Madras and IIT-Kharagpur according to the Indian Express.

In addition, private institution Jindal Global University’s (JGU) recommended elevation to IOE is likely to be completed this month, after the HRD has asked the Haryana government yesterday to allow the conversion of JGU to an IoE Deemed University with an amendment.

JGU, whose flagship is the JGLS Sonepat law school, was established under an enabling statue of Haryana but it is a requirement for private institutions to become IoE Deemed Universities.

JGU founding vice chancellor C Raj Kumar commented that it was a “procedural matter” that would probably be completed within the month. The Haryana government had already given a no objection certificate (NOC) when JGU applied for IoE status.

IoE significance: Freedom from existing regulations

For JGU and JGLS, the IoE status would not include funding, but would provide freedom from regulatory frameworks, said Kumar. “The [IoE] empowered experts committee is responsible for [IoEs]” and JGU would be “reporting to that committee”.

This means JGU would be allowed to “offer flexible programmes”, such as a “one year’s master, MPP [master of public policy], dual degrees much more easily, joint degrees”, explained Kumar. “It’s pretty much a carte blanche, so long as internal merit and integrity is maintained, but there are no existing restrictions or regulations that become applicable, so long as the institution follows own rules and regulations and practices it adopts for sound practices.”

The vision of the IoE empowered experts committee was very clear, according to Kumar, in being about “giving freedom and autonomy to high performing institutions” according to objective criteria, to achieve certain goals within specific timeframes.

Public universities that have been recommended for IOE status last month and now confirmed, according to NDTV include:

  • IIT Kharagpur (whose law school made it quite high in the MHRD’s NIRF rankings),
  • Delhi University, and
  • Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

The Jio Institute - which is “green field” private institution and is yet-to-be-established with a law school - was also on the list and has been selected.

Shiv Nadar University Uttar Pradesh (UP), has also been recommended and a letter of intent to has also been sent out by the HRD.

No gov’t appetite for #nationaliseNLUs

Meanwhile, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had told parliament two months ago that there were no plans to give more central funding to national law schools, flying in the face of hopes that the centre may step in and support national law universities (NLUs) suffering from growing fees and - in some cases - apathy amongst administration and teachers.

Prasad had said: “There is no proposal before the government to nationalize National Law Universities.”

He had responded to a question posed by member of parliament Maneka Gandhi, of “whether the Government proposes to nationalize the National Law Universities (NLUs) and providing them the same status as accorded to other National Institutes”.

Furthermore, Prasad washed the government’s hands of Gandhi’s contention that the centre had any role in the academic standards and funding to solve problems besetting NLUs, saying that “the management of NLUs is done by them and the academic curriculum and standards is decided by them in consultation with the Bar Council of India”.

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