Universities must budge on college autonomy nudge

Syllabus: GS I, Subject: Society and Social Justice, Topic: Social Sector-education, Issue: Autonomous status for colleges

Context: UGC’s new regulation has sparked an unprecedented response, with 590 colleges applying for autonomous status.

  • The National Education Policy 2020 aims for autonomous colleges to drive innovation, self-governance, and academic freedom.

Significance of giving autonomy to colleges:

  • Autonomy enhances innovation, academic quality, and institutional excellence.
  • Curriculum adaptation in autonomous colleges meets evolving student and industry needs, driving knowledge and societal development.
  • Autonomy fosters accountability, enhancing institutional efficiency and motivating faculty and staff.


  • Universities are reluctant to cede autonomy, particularly in critical areas.
  • Restrictions like syllabus change caps hinder college autonomy in curriculum development.
  • Delays in recognizing autonomy undermine college efficiency and spirit.

The way ahead

  • Effective implementation of UGC autonomy regulation by State Councils for Higher Education
  • Stakeholders must make a concerted effort to address challenges and ensure a vibrant higher education ecosystem.
+1 advantage for mains (Rankings)

·         NIRF 2023 rankings demonstrate autonomy’s positive impact, with 55 out of the top 100 colleges being autonomous.

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