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What is an autonomous engineering institute?

Aug 4, 2017 11:14 IST
    What is an autonomous engineering institute
    What is an autonomous engineering institute

    You must have heard about the terms ‘autonomous institute’, ‘non-autonomous institute’ and ‘private institute’ often. Some people don’t have much idea and clarity about the differences between these institutes. Let’s understand the concept of autonomy and the institutes having autonomy.

    Autonomy is the freedom granted to selected institutions of high standards and repute to develop the curriculum based on the current industry needs.

    In India, apart from different types of universities, there are generally three types of engineering institutes and they are:

    (i) Autonomous institutes which can autonomously award their own degrees and have academic independence.

    (ii) Autonomous institutes which cannot award their own degrees but have academic independence.

    (iii) Non-Autonomous institutes which can neither award their own degrees nor have academic independence.

    Some of the salient features of these institutes are:

    Autonomous institutes

    (Institutes autonomously award degrees and have academic independence)

    Autonomous institutes

    (Parent university awards degrees and have academic independence)

    Non-Autonomous institutes

    (Parent university awards degrees and do not have academic independence)

    These are the institutes granted permission to autonomously award degrees.

    The Parent University (generally a state university) will award the degree to the students evaluated and recommended by autonomous colleges.

    These affiliated colleges cannot grant degrees. The affiliating university awards degrees although name of the college may be mentioned in the degree.

    These institutes can set their own curriculum, syllabus and conduct examinations.

    These institutes can also set their own curriculum, syllabus and conduct examinations.

    These institutes follow the syllabus and curriculum prescribed by the universities from which they are affiliated

     

    Exams are conducted by the institute itself and are in accordance with what is being taught during the semester.

    Exams are conducted by the institute itself and are in accordance with what is being taught during the semester.

    Exams are conducted by the university in some other college and are in accordance with the prescribed syllabus of the university.

    Relative grading system is followed where the highest marks obtained by a student decide the marks of the others in a class.

    Relative grading system is followed where the highest marks obtained by a student decide the marks of the others in a class.

    Traditional percentage system is being followed in most of the institutes.

    Some of the popular institutes are: IITs, NITs, IISc Bangalore etc.

    Some of the popular institutes are: HBTI, M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology etc.

    Some of the popular institutes are: JSS Academy of Technical Education, Atmiya Institute of Technology & Science etc.

    The affiliating system of colleges was originally designed when their number in a university was small.  The university could then effectively oversee the working of the colleges, act as an examining body and award degrees on their behalf.

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    The system has now become unwieldy and is becoming increasingly difficult for a university to attend to the varied needs of individual colleges.

    The colleges do not have the freedom to update their curricula or make them more relevant to industrial needs. The regulations of the university and its common system, governing all colleges alike, irrespective of their characteristic strengths, weaknesses and locations, have affected the academic development of individual colleges. Colleges that have the potential for offering programmes of a higher standard do not have the freedom to offer them.

    Due to this reason University Grants Commission (UGC)  has decided to give autonomy to the  colleges which gives them freedom to design their own syllabus and curriculum based on industrial needs.

    In the present scenario the number of colleges affiliated to university is increasing day by day due to which GC appeals to more and more institutions in our country to become autonomous so as to improve the standard of education.

    Some of the most frequently asked questions:

    Q: Can autonomous college be a private college?

    Ans: Yes, an autonomous college can both be a government college or private college.

    Q: Are autonomous colleges free to set their own fees structure?

    Ans: Generally, a higher authority sets the fees structure of a college, it may be the university with which the college is affiliated or a higher governing education body.

    Q: What are the challenges faced by an autonomous college?

    Ans: A new course or syllabus and curriculum can be successfully implemented only after the mutual agreement of the faculty members. There is always a possibility that faculty members may not agree with the new course/syllabus and it may not be implemented. Also, there is not a solid system to monitor the promises of the institute in their demand of autonomy.

    Q: What is the difference between a Deemed University and an Autonomous College?

    Ans: A Deemed University is fully autonomous to the extent of awarding its own Degrees. A Deemed University is usually a Non-Affiliating version of a University and has similar responsibilities like any University. An autonomous college enjoys only academic autonomy. The University to which an autonomous college is affiliated will have checks on the performance of the autonomous college and award degree likewise.

    Q: Can an autonomous college offer relevant short-term courses within curriculum, based on the industrial needs, for the benefit of the students?

    Ans: Yes. Organization of special need-based short-term courses under the college's department of continuing education may be an important activity for the benefit of students of the college besides outsiders who may also enroll for the course.

    Q: How does the examination system function in an autonomous college?

    Ans: Students’ performance is examined internally and externally. To ensure fairness and justice to students, various alternatives are adopted in the examination system.

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