Even as the Human Resource Development Ministry (HRD) wants to give more autonomy to educational institutions, the institutions are not in favour of this idea, calling it a move towards privatisation of education.
After Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) were granted autonomy recently, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar announced that the government wants to grant autonomy to educational institutions based on their performance.
However, institutions are not very happy with the idea, specially after a recent circular from the Finance Ministry, which talks about fund cuts from the government to autonomous organisations.
The letter dated January 13, circulated from the Finance Ministry reads: “The autonomous organisations are expected to manage their affairs in such a fashion that their dependence on the central government for financial support to meet the extra financial implications is minimal as such autonomous organisations are expected to be financially self-sufficient so as not to cause any extra burden on the central exchequer”.
If an institution attains complete autonomy, it will be allowed to manage everything on its own, including faculty recruitment, fee structure and other policies. The institute will also have to arrange for its own budget in that case as government will provide minimal budget. It would be a bad move for students as institutions would be allowed to hike fees according to their own will, in the name of expenditure.
The organisations which are in any case not able to meet the financial expenses will have to convey it to the government, along with the reasons, to get funding, the finance ministry has said in its circular.
The Teachers Association in Delhi University, one of the largest central universities in the country, with over 64 colleges under it, has expressed its opposition to the government on granting autonomy to colleges.
“First the government talks about fund cut to autonomous institutions and then it is saying that it will provide more autonomy and zero interference. This is a disastrous plan for educational institutions. It will just lead to privatisation of education and teachers like us will just remain puppets in the hands of a few owners,” says Rajesh Jha, a member of Delhi University Teachers Association.
All India Federation of University & College Teachers’ Organisations (AIFUCTO) has also supported it. “As the interference with government reduces, our power to negotiate with stakeholders in terms of funds and other policy issues also reduces and the power goes to hands of a few private entities. This is the reason that we are against the idea of autonomy,” said Arun Kumar from AIFUCTO.
Even as colleges like Shri Ram College of Commerce, Lady Shri Ram College and Hindu college have already begun the process to complete autonomy, many other colleges in Delhi University are not in favour of the central government idea.