There’s no change in the top echelons of India’s best autonomous ASC colleges promoted by state governments. Although they are sufficiently qualified to be awarded autonomous status, they are totally ignored by media
A major reform proposed in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is a mandate to India’s 45,000 undergraduate colleges to upgrade into multi-disciplinary degree-awarding autonomous higher education institutions, and phasing out of the university-college affiliation system by 2035. This is a tall order. To date, a mere 871 undergrad colleges countrywide have been granted autonomous status i.e, academic and operational autonomy by the Delhi-based University Grants Commission (UGC, estb.1956). The remaining 44,129 are non-autonomous colleges tied to the apron strings of their affiliating universities.
UGC sets stringent conditions precedent — uniformly applicable to private and government colleges — for awarding much-prized autonomous status. Applicant colleges must be of more than ten years vintage and “accredited by either NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) with minimum ‘A’ Grade or by NBA (National Board of Accreditation of the All India Council for Technical Education) for at least three programme (s) or be awarded autonomy by a corresponding accreditation grade/score from a UGC empanelled accreditation agency”.
After conferment of autonomous status, colleges are permitted to review existing courses/programmes and restructure, redesign and prescribe their own courses/programmes of study and syllabi; introduce new courses/ programmes; evolve independent performance evaluation systems, conduct examinations and notify results. They are also allowed to issue mark sheets, migration and other certificates. Although their degrees are awarded by the affiliating university, the name of the college is permitted to be inscribed on the degree certificate. Of the 871 colleges conferred autonomous status by UGC (as on February 22, 2022), 689 are privately promoted and 182 established by the state governments.