Over 200 Universities Implement Four-Year Undergraduate Programs, UGC Chairman Reports

Over 200 Universities Implement Four-Year Undergraduate Programs, UGC Chairman Reports

UGC Chairman reports over 200 universities implementing four-year undergraduate programs as part of NEP 2020, emphasizing academic freedom and innovation. Addressing recent controversies, he clarifies funding allocations and reaffirms commitment to reservation policies.

Musab QaziUpdated: Thursday, February 08, 2024, 12:04 PM IST
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As many as 200 out of 1,168 universities across the country have so far introduced the four-year undergraduate programmes (FYUP), a key aspect of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, M Jagadesh Kumar, chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC), said on Wednesday.

Kumar, who was in the city to headline the University of Mumbai’s (MU) annual convocation, said that all four types of universities in the country – central, state, private and deemed – are among those who have begun the NEP rollout. He also offered praise for the strides taken by the state in implementing the new policy.

UGC Chairman Initiates Reforms

Speaking to journalists a day earlier, the chairman said that UGC, the apex higher education regulator of the country, has initiated 40 reforms to make NEP a reality and make students more innovative while providing them with more academic freedom and choices. “For too long there has been so much rigidity in our education system, without realising the diversity of cognitive abilities, financial constraints and aspirations of the youths. For too long, we stifled their creativity and freedom,” he said.

Kumar also urged education regulators to show greater flexibility in controlling higher education institutes and be more of a facilitator. “The regulators will have to think whether they should regulate just because laws give me power to do so,” he said.

UGC Chairman Sheds Light On Fund Allocation

Asked about the recent interim budget 2024-25 cutting the UGC’s expenditure by half from Rs.5,360 crore earmarked for the agency in 2023-24 (budget estimate) to a mere Rs.2,500 crore, he claimed that there has been no cuts in the agency’s funding and that more funds have been allocated under the heads of central universities and deemed-to-be universities.

“The UGC used to get the funds meant for 53 colleges of the Delhi University and four colleges of Benaras Hindu University (BHU). These grants have now been allocated under the head of the support for central universities, which has increased from last year’s Rs11,529 to Rs15,928. The spending on deemed universities has increased as well. That means the funding for UGC has increased, not decreased,” he said.

Reservation Policies In Higher Education

The chairman also addressed the recent controversy around draft guidelines for implementing reservation policies in higher education providing for ‘deserving’ some of the faculty posts reserved for marginalised sections in 'exceptional circumstances'.

He claimed that the committee that prepared the document had included the provision based on ‘some documents’, even as he asserted that the central universities will have to follow the current government norms on hiring and filling the posts meant for backward communities.

“We clarified that all the appointments will be based on The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers' Cadre) Act, 2019. The draft guidelines won't have any bearing on that,” he said.

When asked about the inadequate representation of marginalised groups among central university faculty, Kumar pointed out that the government has created ‘CU Chayan’, a dedicated portal for recruitment at central universities, where universities can post job advertisements and candidates can apply. “We are asking universities to advertise more regularly. We are closely monitoring this situation,” he said.

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