Wednesday, December 23, 2009

College Autonomy

Autonomy in colleges is an opportunity to the teachers and students to make innovations, utilize their creative talent, improve the standards of teaching, examination and research and quickly respond to social needs.An autonomous college will take up the responsibility of the academic programmes, the content and quality of teaching and the admission and the assessment of students.

The concept of autonomy was meant to promote academic independence as well as excellence.  It also encouraged the introduction of innovations in order to improve standards of education,quality assurance and higher academic standards. Being an examination oriented system, teaching is to a certain extent subordinated to examinations.  Testing and evaluation must help towards assessing several dimensions of the learner.. Autonomy when exercised with the sense of responsibility and accountability will inevitably lead to excellence in academics, governance and financial management of the colleges.

Institutional autonomy

The institutional autonomy is the functional status given to the colleges by the UGC which includes three important aspects: academic autonomy, administrative autonomy and financial autonomy. Academic autonomy is the freedom to decide academic issues like curricula, instructional materials, pedagogy and student evaluation techniques. Administrative autonomy is the freedom to manage its own affairs with regard to administration. Financial autonomy is the freedom to the institutions to utilize the financial resources at its disposal in a prudent way keeping in view of its priorities.

The responsibility of  Autonomous College

An autonomous college will be fully accountable for the content and quality of education that it imparts.  The students would receive greater individual attention on the basis of their needs and aptitude.  Autonomy would encourage the students to think clearly, critically and creatively and to express themselves effectively. 

Origin of autonomy
The Kothari Commission (1964 – 1966) considered autonomy a must for intellectual development and had recommended the following criteria:
  • Freedom in curriculum design.
  • Adoption of new teaching – learning methods
  • Revision of rules for admission.
  • Implementation of separate evaluation methods.
  • Introduction of specific programmes. 

UGC Guidelines for Autonomous Colleges

They will have freedom to determine and prescribe its own courses of study and syllabi. They can prescribe rules for admission in consonance with the reservation policy of the state government. They can evolve methods of assessment of student work, the conduct of examinations and notification of results. They can use modern tools of educational technology to achieve higher standards and greater creativity.

Accountability of Autonomy

Accountability can be defined as the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. Accountability is for personal, financial and physical resources in relation to the specific academic objectives and overall national development.
External accountability may include
o   Analysis of contents of the courses.
o   Course options.
o   Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.
§  Performance of students.
§  Students’ employment.
o   Contribution to generation of knowledge and
o   Teachers’ contribution to extension etc. 
Internal accountability may include
1.       Resource acquisition.
2.         Efficiency index.
3.        Average work load.
4.         Average time distribution between lectures, tutorials /practicals.
5.         Group discussions.
6.         Project work.
7.        Teaching aids used.
8.       Programmes and activities planned and implemented.
9.       Professional development of teachers.
10.    Utilization of infrastructural facilities.
11.    Number of books / journals in the library.

The concept of autonomy was meant to promote academic independence as well as excellence. It also encourages the introduction of innovations in order to improve  standards of education.

‘Our higher education has to be internationally comparable in quality’   
– Rastogi Report

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