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Told to Name 20 Institutions of ‘Eminence’, Expert Committee Finds Only Six, Cites Weak Research

File photo of University Grants Commission (UGC).

File photo of University Grants Commission (UGC).

The University Grants Commission (UGC) on Monday announced the name of the six institutes — three public and three private, JIO Institute, BITS Pilani, Manipal University, IIT-Bombay, IISc Bangalore and IIT-Delhi.

New Delhi: The Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) which was entrusted to find 20 institutions that would emerge as world class teaching and research institutions, termed ‘Institutions of Eminence’ (IoEs), said that it was not able to find institutions on grounds of weak quality of teaching and research.

The EEC submitted its report where it stated that it could not find 20 such institutes that could bag the tag of IoEs owing to weakness in activities related to quality of research.

Speaking to News18.com, the head of EEC and the former Chief Election Commissioner Gopalaswami said, “The EEC has submitted its report. We were asked to select 10 public and 10 private institutes to bag the tag of the IoEs but we could not find 20.”

The University Grants Commission (UGC) on Monday announced the name of the six institutes — three public and three private — IIT-Bombay, IISc Bangalore and IIT-Delhi, Jio Institute, BITS Pilani and Manipal University,

While government institutes will be eligible for both greater autonomy and additional funding of up to Rs 1,000 crore, private institutes will not be eligible for any funding.

The Jio Institute, to be run by the Reliance Foundation, has been included in the list under rules for greenfield institutions — new or proposed institutes that are yet to come into existence. According to officials, 11 such institutions had applied for the IoE tag and Jio was selected from among them.

The Empowered Expert Committee had laid out four conditions for an institute to make the cut—availability of land for construction of the institution, putting in place a core team with very high qualification and wide experience, making available funding for setting up the institution and a strategic vision plan with clear annual milestones and action plan.

Various issues were kept in mind – especially regarding the quality of the research, number of research papers published and in what kinds of journals, and whether they have been quoted by others.

Gopalaswami said, “You may have produced good research but was it of use to anybody? Whether somebody found it useful and quoted that research? One may produce something on a subject, it should be considered useful by somebody else.”

Another glaring gap was in the “teacher and taught ratio”, “If you 100 teaching positions and 25 are vacant then your quality of teaching must be questionable,” he added.

As per the criteria, the prospective Institute of Eminence should come within the top 500 of any of the world-renowned ranking frameworks in the first 10 years of being declared an Institute of Eminence and “should consistently improve its ranking to come in the top 100 eventually over time.”

Gopalaswami said, “Ultimately world rankings lean very heavily on quality of research, quality of teaching. Our Indian academia is knowledgeable, and knows these issue but the focus of each institute might be different.”

The eligibility criterion says that the institution should be known for promoting a culture where faculty are encouraged to publish regularly in peer-reviewed journals and engage academically with the issues of concern to the society.

“What is the number of papers produced? What is the number of PhDs there? And how often are their papers quoted, therefore that decides quality of their work,” he said.

As per the guidelines, the Institution of Eminence shall continue to be ranked in the National Institutional Ranking Framework and, within five years of notification, shall get itself ranked in an international Ranking index of repute.

However, if the selected institution is unable to meet the goals at the end of fifth and subsequent years and there are grave enough deviations, The Ministry of Human Resource Development can ask for removal of the Institution of Eminence status and reverting it to the original status.