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NEP: Varsities in TN face UGC pressure

The next academic year is expected to begin in June 2023, and both UGC and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have begun work with regard to granting approval to new courses, accreditation and recognition to new colleges, releasing funds and seeking reports from the institutions for this academic period.

CHENNAI: With only months left for the next academic year to commence, the higher education institutions (HEIs) in the State are yet again finding themselves caught in the crossfire between the State and central governments, as the University Grants Commission (UGC) has instructed the institutions here that the new courses that are awaiting approval should be in line with the National Education Policy (NEP).

The next academic year is expected to begin in June 2023, and both UGC and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have begun work with regard to granting approval to new courses, accreditation and recognition to new colleges, releasing funds and seeking reports from the institutions for this academic period.

In the last year and half, the commission had issued several circulars directing all the HEIs in the State to begin working on NEP-related activities and upload reports to the commission’s web portal for verification.

In a recent circular, it intimated all universities, technical institutions, and colleges in Tamil Nadu to send proposals for approval to introduce new courses from the coming academic year. The commission has made it clear that all the new courses should be in line with the national policy if they are to be granted approval.

Seeking anonymity, a senior official from the Higher Education Department told DT Next that according to the provisions given in NEP, all undergraduate (UG) new degree programmes would have a tenure of four years. Under this, students should have the option to exit the four-year course after each year.

However, he claimed, none of the institutions in the State has put forth any proposal to begin four-year UG degree programmes. “They all are waiting for the State Education Policy,” he added.

A senior professor from a State-run university pointed out that the UGC has already sent more than 15 circulars to the institutions on the implementation of NEP and has sought action taken reports. “Few circulars have clearly stated that funds will not be released if NEP is not implemented,” he added.

“As the government here has already formed an expert committee to come out with the State Education Policy, the managements of all universities are caught in the crossfire between Centre and State. The government should urge the UGC and AICTE not to insist the institutions till the State Policy was released,” he added.

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