The University Grants Commission (UGC) has finally mellowed down on its stand that Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) should align their courses in the three-year module after IIT directors made it clear that the institutes are governed by the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961, which declares them as "Institutions of national importance", and lays down their powers, duties and framework for governance.
UGC chairman Ved Prakash called the circular as a routine one issued to all degree-conferring institutes and saying it has been misunderstood as an encroachment on the autonomy of institutions of higher learning, a daily has reported.
In the circular, the UGC had stated that prior approval of the government of India would be required to issue degrees as specified by the commission under Gazette notification dated July 5, 2014. However, this may not douse the fire.
IIT Kanpur Director Prof Indranil Manna indicated that he would seek clarifications in the IIT Council meeting on October one. Meanwhile, sources in the Human Resource Development Ministry said that the UGC chairman, who discussed the stand-off with the officials close to HRD Minister Smriti Irani, had been asked to find an amicable solution to the issue.
The UGC has earlier claimed that some of the IIT programmes are not in conformity with those recognised by it.
The direction from the UGC, the apex regulatory body governing higher education in the country, was sent to director of IIT Kharagpur, months after it asked Delhi University to scrap its four-year-undergraduate programme and sent instructions to some other institutes including Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore to align their courses.
It was also reported that the UGC notification did not come up for discussion during the directors meeting with the President on Friday, but Shevgaonkar emphasised that if at all the UGC has an issue; it must take it up with the IIT Council and not write to all institutes individually.