Clauses Introduced In 2017 Likely Helped Non-Existent Jio Institute Bag 'Institute Of Eminence' Status

10 July 2018 1:37 PM GMT
Clauses Introduced In 2017 Likely Helped Non-Existent Jio Institute Bag
Image Credits: Jagran, Patrika

Minister of Human Resource Development, Prakash Javedakar on Monday, July 9, awarded ‘Institute of Eminence’ (IoE) status to three public institutes, two private institutes and one Greenfield institute, the proposed Jio Institute. Prakash Javadekar said “This status would give them unprecedented administrative and academic autonomy,” reported Businessline.

Among the six institutes, IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, and IISc Bangaluru are the three Government Institutes, while BITS Pilani and Manipal University are two institutes from the private sector. Apart from these, a greenfield university, Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Institute also bagged the ‘Eminence award’. A greenfield institute is a project where the infrastructure of the Institute would be built on unused land where there is no need to remodel or demolish an existing structure.

Prakash Javadekar, in a series of tweets, congratulated each institute for being granted the ‘Institute of Eminence’ tag. He also said, that “the status hence bestowed on these institutes will help them “grow rapidly to a scale and improve quality and add new courses.” He also clarified that the status of Institute of Eminence does not grant just graded autonomy but full autonomy, allowing these institutes to make their own decisions.

What is an Institute of Eminence?

According to Financial Express, last year, no Indian Educational Institute had found a place in World University Rankings. Following this, the Modi Government proposed to confer the status of ‘Institute of Eminence’ to some institutions to improve their worldwide ranking. Under this proposal, there will be 20 such institutions which will have world-class education and status. These IoEs will include ten private and 10 government institutions.

These IoEs will be committed to delivering quality education irrespective of the financial background of the students. While the government institutes will be provided with a grant of Rs 1000 crore for the next five years, the private institutes will receive no such funds.

Institute Of Eminence v/s Other Institutes:-

  1. Greater Autonomy: As per the announcement, the Institutions of Eminence are proposed to have greater autonomy compared to other higher education institutions. For instance, they will be free to decide their fee for domestic and international students and have a flexible course duration and structure.
  2. Foreign Institutes Collaboration: Their academic collaborations with foreign institutions will be exempt from approvals of government or UGC except with institutions based on a list of negative countries prepared by the External Affairs and Home ministries.
  3. Financial Assistance: In his tweet, he also said that these public sector institutes would get a government grant of Rs.1000 crore in the next five years.

Flak over Jio Institute’s IoE status

Many people raised questions over Jio Institute’s IoE status. They said that how can an Institute that is just proposed, has no building, course or teachers be granted such a prestigious status.

Many people pointed out that two clauses in the HRD Ministry regulations that were introduced in 2017 by the current government might have been the reason for Jio bagging the status. One is that the Institute should show that they have the capability of transforming plans into real achievements (not necessarily in education, but preferable). The other clause is that the sponsoring organisation under Greenfield universities should at least have a total worth of Rs 5000 crore collectively.

Ministry’s response

Following the criticism for the inclusion of Jio Institute for this prestigious status, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar defended the decision by saying that the institution was accorded the coveted tag under greenfield category for new or proposed institutions that are yet to come into existence. The HRD Ministry tweeted “In response to some misinformation campaign in social media regarding ‘Institutes of Eminence’, please find herewith clarifications on commonly raised questions.”

The Ministry further said that 11 private universities applied but only Jio met all the four criteria required- Land availability, highly qualified and experienced core team, funding and strategic vision with “clear milestones and action plan”. Education Secretary R Subramanyam said that it would be mistake to think that Jio has already bagged the IoE status. “If they set up a good campus within three years and have a good faculty and fulfil all the criteria, they will get the Institute of Eminence status. Right now they don’t have the tag, they only have a letter of intent,” he said, reported NDTV.

“At this juncture, there’s only a Letter of Intent. They’re not same as established institutions. For a greenfield institution, they should have land, equipment, building, staff, etc. and for that, they need lead time,” head of the empowered expert committee, N Gopalaswami was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.

According to a proposal submitted by the firm to the committee, the Jio Institute will use Rs 9,500 crore in capital expenditure and will be located in a “fully residential university city” in Pune and they promised to get some ‘World Class faculties’.

Historian and author Ramchandra Guha tweeted: “To Sarkari apologists who say Jio Institute has been placed in the “Greenfield” category, a “Greenfield” university outside Chennai is being helmed by Raghuram Rajan, whose academic qualifications are in inverse proportion to those of the Ambanis. Why not choose that?”

On a lighter note, just when people started pouring their outrage over Twitter regarding the status granted to Jio University, a fake twitter trend emerged. While the content was mostly copied and pasted and was praising the Jio University’s status, the hashtag seemed a little odd. All the tweets pertaining to this topic went with the tweet #DivyaLiability.

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