Easier UGC eligibility norms for some higher education institutions


Higher education institutions which focus on addressing strategic needs of the country, preserving Indian cultural heritage or languages will qualify to receive the Deemed to be University status without the need to comply with eligibility norms laid down for other institutions.

The University Grants Commission on Friday invited stakeholder comments on its draft UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2022 which will replace the 2019 regulations. In a public notice, it said comments could be submitted by November 18.

The draft regulations create a new category of institutions, known as “Distinct Institution”. These are institutions with “focus on teaching and/or research in unique discipline(s) and/or addressing the strategic needs of the country or engaged in the preservation of Indian cultural heritage or preservation of environment or dedicated to skill development or dedicated to sports or languages or any other discipline(s).”

These institutions will be exempted from eligibility criteria laid down for other higher education institutions to receive “Deemed to be University” status. These include valid accreditation by National Assessment and Accreditation Council with at least 3.01 CGPA for three consecutive cycles, or ranking among top 50 or top 100 given by the National Institute Ranking Framework. Neither will they be required to comply with the requirement of a teacher-student ratio of 1:20.

This category of institutions will replace the previous category known as de novo which was for sponsoring bodies with a “proven track record in education” for setting up a new institution “devoted to study and research in unique and emerging areas of knowledge not being pursued by existing institutions.”

Among other important changes proposed by the UGC, an institution will not be required to be in existence of 20 years before seeking the status of Deemed to be University. Also, a cluster of government or private institutions, that are either from the same sponsoring body or different sponsoring bodies, can also apply for Deemed to be University status.

The UGC, and not the Ministry of Education, will now be the authority for granting permission to a Deemed to be University to set up an off-campus centre which is in line with the goal laid down in the National Education Policy for internationalisation of Indian institutions.