Significance of Institutes of Eminence: University Grant Commission

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Indian Premier higher education Institutes had been granted special scheme to be recognized as Institute of Eminence (IoE), set up by University Grant Commission (UGC) in 2007. The setup of IoE is to empower higher institutes. The decision came followed by the recommendations by a panel comprising of eminent IIT directors that had been tasked to improve the quality of education as per international standards. This scheme will encompass twenty institutes. As per the latest information, sixteen government and private institutes have already been declared Institute of Eminence. As per the scheme, the public sector universities will be granted a thousand crores, however, no funding is provided to private universities. Selected recognized universities will have more autonomy and will have better collaboration opportunities with global universities.

Objectives of Institute of Eminence

To provide for higher education leading to excellence and innovations in such branches of knowledge as may be deemed fit at post-graduate, graduate and research degree levels and award degrees, diplomas and other academic distinctions. Engaging in areas of specialization to make distinctive contributions to the objectives of the university education system wherein the academic engagement is clearly distinguishable from programmes of ordinary nature and is tuned to developing the capacity of the students and the researchers to compete in the global tertiary education marketplace through the acquisition and creation of advanced knowledge in those areas.

The scheme aims to provide for high-quality teaching and research and for the advancement of knowledge and its dissemination through various research programmes undertaken in-house by a substantial number of full-time faculty and research scholars in diverse disciplines. Offering special attention to teaching and research in unique and emerging areas of knowledge, including interdisciplinary areas, which are regarded as important for strategic needs of the country but are not being pursued by conventional or existing institutions so far, and award degrees, diplomas and other academic distinctions. Last but not the least, to be rated internationally for its teaching and research as a top hundred Institution in the world over time.

Importance of IoE and its impact on present education system

The question of the hour is whether Institute of Eminence would have any impact on the present education system? Every year, when the World University Rank and QS World University Rank publishes, the mainstream media get flooded with questions asking why none of India’s top University is listed in world’s top 200 rankings. Intellectuals, on the other hand, criticizes the quality of education offered in India is not par with international university standards. Without a doubt, we need to re-structure our academic curriculum emphasising more on practical learning rather just mugging data.

Also, it is the responsibility of top public universities which get government funding to do justice to the people of the nation by providing quality education on par with top universities in the world. The vision of IoE is to create world-class universities, provided all the stakeholders are on the same page. The selective preference might backfire if things are not handled delicately. For example, one of the most prestigious institutes recognized for its academic glory, JNU, has not been included in the IoE list. This seriously challenges the authenticity of the EEC mechanism. On the other hand, granting Reliance Institute an equal status at par with top universities like IITs absolutely makes no sense and questions the credibility. However, considering the noble initiative of this mission, we can expect the corrective measure will be adopted in the coming future.

Top institutes included in IoE are as follows: IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IISc Bangalore (Deemed University), IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur, BITS Pilani, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Delhi University (Central University), University of Hyderabad (Central University), Jadavpur University (State University), Anna University (State University), BHU (Central University), Savitribai Phule Pune University (State University), AMU (Central University), Tezpur University (Central University), Panjab University (State/Central University), Andhra University (State University). For the complete list of institutes check out the official website.

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