Towards the significant development, the UGC has granted autonomy to two state universities and two deemed to be universities from Odisha. On Tuesday, University Grants Commission (UGC) approved full autonomy to 62 higher educational institutions across the country including four from Odisha.

The four Universities which got autonomy are Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, National Law University, Cuttack which are State University. Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), Bhubaneswar and Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan, Bhubaneswar, on the other hand, are deemed universities.

Amongst these four Universities, only one has been placed in Category 1, while the deemed universities, KIIT and Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan, are placed in Category 2. So, “Category II” universities will need UGC permission to sign MoUs with foreign universities.

Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Human Resource Development, has said that after getting autonomy, these universities will remain within the ambit of UGC but will have the freedom to start new courses, off-campus centers, skill development courses, research parks and any other new academic programs. Alos, they will now have the freedom to hire foreign faculty, enroll foreign students, give incentive based emoluments to the faculty, enter into academic collaborations and run open distance learning programmes.

The decision to grant autonomy to these Universities which maintained the high standard of excellence. These universities were granted more than 3.6 rating by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.

He also hailed the development as “historic” and said it will enable the selected institutes to decide their admission procedure, fee structure, and curriculum, among others.

Overall in the country, 60 higher educational institutions which include 52 universities( five central universities, 21 state universities, 24 deemed to be universities, and two private universities) got the recognition.

It is hard to say that everyone is happy with this decision. Many of them said that because of such a system in the picture would mean secluding and excluding a whole lot of underprivileged and marginalized sections. With the introduction of graded autonomy, higher educational institutions would turn to teaching shops.

The worry is well justified by the teachers and students as higher fees will increase the economic burden on parents and students and put education out of the reach of students from economically and socially marginalized sections of the society. Not only this it will also make education of the basic and core areas of humanities, social sciences and sciences unsustainable.

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