Students can have à-la-carte options to choose courses and have flexibility in admission process
In order to create world class educational institutions in the country, the human resource development (HRD) ministry has come out with an Institutions of Eminence (IoE) scheme.
Till date, India has 16 institutions as IoEs including IIT Madras, IIT Bombay, Delhi University, Vellore Institute of Technology, Shiv Nadar University and Banaras Hindu University.
While there are financial incentives offered to these institutes for being tagged as IoE, here is how the students will benefit:
The government institutions will get an additional funding up to Rs 1,000 crore. This will mean that any expansion projects or infrastructure-related developments will not be stalled for lack of funds.
Typically, institutes depend on budgetary allocations or alumni network to fund setting up new buildings, hostels or research facilities. Now, students have quicker access to these facilities.
Being an IoE would mean that the selected Institutions under IoE shall have complete academic and administrative autonomy.
Since the academic curriculum is guided by a central framework across India, having autonomy would mean an institute can modify course curriculum to make the programme more employment-friendly and practical.
Additional funds would mean that students can also get access to latest technology within the campus itself to accentuate theoretical knowledge.
Academic collaborations with foreign higher educational institutions (in top 500) would be exempt from government approvals.
For an Indian student, having access to course content and expertise from a global institute would help them gain international exposure.
More exchange programmes could be facilitated, giving students an opportunity to spend at least one semester at an institute abroad.
The inspection by government bodies which is prevalent among other institutes will no longer be mandatory for IoEs. Hence, there will be more reliance on self governance with students playing an active role in this process.
An IoE will have freedom to hire personnel from the industry. This will make the programme more relevant for students as these personnel would be their future employers.
At present, only those who have academic qualifications such as B.Ed, M.Phil and have passed competitive examinations like NET are eligible to become professors.
IoEs will also have the freedom to recruit faculty from outside India (limit of 25 percent of its faculty strength for public institution). The international faculty would mean more research collaboration opportunities for Indian students.
Being an IoE would give institutes the freedom to have their own transparent merit based system for the admission of students. This could work either way for students, depending on how the process is tweaked.
Most colleges in the areas of engineering, medicine and management have a national-level entrance examination that are tough to crack. If the admission process is restructured to allow more emphasis on practical skills than rote learning, students who cannot afford coaching classes for these entrance tests stand to gain.
There is also good news for international students. IoEs will have additional freedom to admit foreign students on merit subject to a maximum of 30 percent of the strength of admitted domestic students.
Fee structure changes
IoEs will have the freedom to fix and charge fees from foreign students without restriction.
Similarly, there will be freedom to determine the domestic student fees, subject to the condition that the admission of no selected student is turned away for the lack of finance.
However, while MHRD has said that every institute should encourage scholarships and extension of loans facility, it has not specified any fixed amount for this purpose.
Nevertheless, having no cap on the fees could be detrimental since this gives an institute the flexibility to charge any quantum of fee.
One of the biggest complaints against Indian higher educational institutions was that there was a compartmentalisation of the course structure. For instance, an Arts students could not study chemistry while an engineering student had little opportunity to study world history.
However, IoEs will have the freedom to offer courses within a programme, as well as to offer degrees in newer areas, including inter-disciplinary ones.
Students studying in these institutes can study courses on a À-la-carte basis and will have freedom on the duration of the degree programme.
A Bachelors degree would not necessarily be a three-year programme nor will it be mandatory for an Masters degree to be a two-year course.
Whatever is trending and is needed of future employers could be taught. Students could also be given the facility of entry/exit after completing one year.
There will also be the option to offer online courses as a part of their programmes with a restriction that not more than 20 percent of the programme should be in online mode.However, certificate courses can entirely be through online mode. This will benefit students from remote areas pursuing a short-term course only for skilling purposes.Get access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.