IN A BID to improve the rankings of the Indian institutes globally, the Human Resource Development Ministry on Monday announced the name of six universities which have been selected for the Institute of Eminence status. Out of six, three are in the public sector and the remaining in the private sector.
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday tweeted, "The Institute of Eminence are important for the country. We have 800 universities, but not a single university in top 100 or even 200 in the world ranking. Today’s decision will help achieve this.”
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay, IIT-Delhi and IISc Bangalore are the three public universities selected under this. Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation, BITS Pilani, Manipal Academy of Higher Education are the three private universities which have been granted the status of Institute of Eminence.
There is a good reason why searching for Jio Institute on Google did not throw up any results. The institute, backed by Reliance Foundation, is non-existent. When the HRD Ministry accorded Jio Institute with the "Institution of Eminence” status, the move created a furore on social media over how a proposed university qualified for the tag.
The college is only set to begin operations in the next three years but when it does, it will have far greater autonomy from government regulators as compared to most institutions.
There is a good reason why searching for Jio Institute on Google did not throw up any results. The institute, backed by Reliance Foundation, is non-existent.
The IoE tag will grant special powers to these six institutes, such as greater autonomy to start a new course, hire foreign faculty and collaborate with foreign institutes without government approval.
Jio’s presence on the list is all the more curious as the panel tasked with selecting the institutions was supposed to pick 20 colleges and universities for the IoE tag but zeroed in on just six. Those missing out include the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the Delhi University and a host of others IITs.
Congress accuses BJP of favouring:
On Monday, the Congress accused the BJP of ‘favouring’ Mukesh and Nita Ambani. They wrote on Twitter: "The BJP Govt favours Mukesh & Nita Ambani yet again. The illusionary JIO Institute which is yet to see the light of day has been declared as an 'eminent' institute. The Govt needs to clarify the basis of classification for granting such a status.”
While the government faced huge criticism over grant of the IoE tag to the Reliance Foundation's Jio Institute on Twitter as the news began trending on the microblogging site, various sections of teachers and academicians also joined the chorus, questioning the government's decision.
"We unambiguously object to the HRD ministry's announcement of the list of eminent institutions and the inclusion of Jio Institute in this list,” Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) president Rajib Ray said.
When the HRD Ministry accorded Jio Institute with the "Institution of Eminence” status, the move created a furore on social media over how a proposed university qualified for the tag.
DUTA secretary Vivek Choudhary questioned the government's decision, saying grant of IoE tag to the Jio Institute makes "a mockery of the whole exercise.”
"As of today, Jio only exists as a proposal. It has no record of academic or socially relevant accomplishments The inclusion of clauses which allow paper proposals to qualify as an eminent institution is an academic corruption of highest order. It is turning a government scheme as a promotion for a private player,” Ray said.
Many on Twitter strongly objected to Jio Institute being awarded the status. Here is what some of them had to say
Even a parody account of Jio Institute has come up which with its tweets has left people laughing hard.
Govt. issues clarification
Following criticism on social media on the inclusion of Jio Institute on the government's IOE list -- which is meant Institute on the government's IOE list -- which is meant to create an enabling architecture for 10 public and 10 private institutions to emerge as world-class institutions --the ministry of Human Resources and Development (HRD) defended the move saying 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 responded to criticism on social media by issuing a clarification about how the decision on IoE tag was taken. The ministry shared the list of the clarifications on twitter, "in response to some misinformation campaign in social media" regarding the IoE tag.
"The clause 6.1 of the UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2017, provides for a completely new proposal to establish an institution to be considered under this project,” the ministry said in a statement.
"Accordingly, a separate category of applications have been invited from the sponsoring organisations for setting up new or Greenfield projects. The purpose of this provision is to allow responsible private investment to come into building global class education,” it added.
Jio was among 11 institutes that applied under the category. The others included Vedanta for a university in Odisha and Airtel for Bharti University.
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