Three pioneering engineering colleges, all run by Christian managements, had approached the university grants commission shortly after UGC announced 2018 regulations, which project academic autonomy as the way to excellence of higher education institutions in the country.
The colleges thus in queue are Mar Baselios College of Engineering and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram (run by Syro-Malabar Catholic Church), Saintgits College of Engineering, Kottayam, (run by Malankara Syrian Orthaox Church) and Rajagiri School of Engineering & Technology, Ernakulam (run by CMI Syrian Catholic Church)
“We submitted applications around eight months back to the UGC. As far as we know, Kerala government and APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University have not yet recommended names of their representatives to be included in the five-member expert committee being set up by UGC for initial evaluation of colleges that have applied for academic autonomy. However, the UGC seems to have decided to go ahead their procedures for the processing of our applications. It has been informed that the UGC team would visit Mar Baselios by middle of December and Saintgits and Rajagiri in January”, sources very close to the developments told ToI.
APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University has, last week, decided to seek state government opinion on what stand it should take to the demands for academic autonomy from affiliated colleges. “The government has not yet clarified about how to deal with autonomy requests of affiliated colleges. The university is receiving such requests and to formulate an unambiguous approach, we need to know the government stand”, said KTU vice chancellor M S Rajasree. Closely after the revision in UGC guidelines, higher education minister K T Jaleel had said that the policy changes in national level offered the state little elbow room, but would try its best to ensure strict conditions for academic autonomy.
According to UGC guidelines, engineering colleges having NAAC accreditation with `A’ grade can seek academic autonomy, provided they also have NBA accreditation with score above 675 for at least three engineering departments. In case the government and university refuse to nominate its representatives in the five-member inspection team in which three would be UGC nominees, or fail to raise, within one month, specific objections against granting autonomy to higher education institutions after the expert assessment, the consent would be deemed as given.
“As of now, only three engineering colleges meet the quality criteria set by UGC. A few other engineering colleges are in the race and would most probably attain the specified qualifications in a year. They too would then follow the suit”, sources said.