NCERT Approaches UGC for ‘Reputable University’ Status

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With the government’s proposal to make the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) an ‘Institute of National Importance’ on the back burner, NCERT is now vying for another tag – deemed to be a university.

NCERT, an autonomous academic body that advises the Center on school education matters, has reportedly applied to the University Grants Commission (UGC) for “deemed university” status in the de novo category. The issue is scheduled for discussion at an Executive Committee (EC) meeting on Monday.

The EC is the highest decision-making body of NCERT and is chaired by the Minister of Education. The proposal, however, sparked opposition within NCERT, with a faculty member writing to the director against it. Assistant Professor Abhay Kumar, who is also an elected member of NCERT’s founding committee, opposed the idea on the grounds that “deemed university” status would erode NCERT’s autonomy.

“In deciding to grant ‘Deemed to be a University’ status to NCERT, all we are trying to do is cede our academic autonomy to UGC,” he wrote in his letter to the director. “Just as UGC is the academic authority for higher education, NCERT is the academic authority for school education. Considered university status, it will severely erode that authority,” he said.

According to the proposal on the agenda of Monday’s EC meeting, the status of “deemed to be a university” would allow NCERT to offer its own graduate, postgraduate and doctoral degrees and to have autonomy in terms of curriculum introduction, course structure, conducting examinations and management, among others.

Currently, the graduate and postgraduate programs offered by the Regional Institute of Education (REI) of NCERT are affiliated with local universities such as Barkatullah University, Bhopal, MDS University, Ajmer, University of Mysuru, Utkal University, Bhubaneshwar and North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong.

The proposal emphasizes the need for autonomy, stating that despite offering innovative teacher education courses through REIs for decades, NCERT still depends on the approval of local universities to introduce programs. .

The move comes after NCERT’s efforts to obtain “Institute of National Importance” status from the government were unsuccessful.

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