Seven institutes of higher education from south India have found a place in the list of institutes considered for the tag of ‘Institute of Eminence’ by the government of India.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) on Friday released the list of 20 institutes of higher education being considered for the coveted tag. The UGC had initially recommended 30 institutes for the honour but had to trim the list down to 20 after the central government’s directions. Bengaluru’s Azim Premji University, however, which was on the UGC’s list of 30 institutes has now been dropped.
The UGC has also stated that Tamil Nadu’s Anna University, though ranked 13th at the All-India level for the year 2019, will be considered for the tag after consultation with the state government.
Private universities Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and Vellore Institute of Technology Tamil Nadu have been recommended for the issue of Letters of Intent.
Azim Premji University and the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) both in Bengaluru, KREA University of the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) and Andhra University have been dropped from UGC’s radar to confer the IoE tag.
From the south, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru has already been declared as an IoE. The UGC has recommended Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and University of Hyderabad to be declared as IoEs. Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal has already been selected and given a Letter of Intent.
The Institute of Eminence process kicked off a row in 2018 when the central government awarded Jio Institute (A Reliance Foundation initiative) the IoE tag. This announcement sparked controversy since the institute had not been opened yet and all the other five names announced along with Jio Institute were institutions of great repute.
The other institutions named then by the central government were IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay, IISc Bengaluru, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani and Manipal Institute of Higher Education, Manipal.
UGC’s Empowered Expert Committee, which recommended the names, had clarified that Jio Institute has been chosen under the ‘Greenfield category’ and it has been granted three years’ time to set up the institute.
The IoE tag will come with financial support for infrastructure and research in these institutions, with the goal of securing international rankings among educational institutions. The status also comes with financial autonomy and independence in decisions related to fees and faculty hiring. A grant of Rs 1,000 crore is expected for public institutions over a five year period.