Tiruchi: With autonomy being granted to the National College, which will be in effect from the coming academic year by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The number of autonomous colleges has gone up to 19 in the fold of the Bharathidasan University, which is believed to be the highest in any university in Tamil Nadu. As per sources, out of these 19 colleges, eight are government, while the remaining are government-aided colleges. Inclusive of the National College, the Tiruchi district alone accounts for eight autonomous colleges. However, it is initially for a period of six years that the UGC confers the autonomy.
According to the UGC's document on the X Plan profile of higher education in India, an autonomous college is in a better position to enhance its quality of education by having its own governing body, academic council, board of studies and finance committee. In the backdrop of persisting demands from affiliated colleges saying that the university valuation be made more credible, the heads of autonomous colleges in this region feel that their students are much safer.
According to the opinion of a principal of an affiliated college though it is the responsibility of the university to instill the credibility into the valuation process, but there are some factors, which are beyond its control. Informed sources explained the situation with an example and said that the university cannot obligate teachers to attend the valuation duty which although is a norm for them (teachers) to evaluate at least 40 copies per day. Due to scarcity of evaluators, the number of scripts entrusted for them far exceeds the number.
According to the principals, the teachers feel invigorated when under the autonomous system as the system necessarily involves them in decision making process, which infuses in them a sense of belongingness and responsibility. Also, under the system, a department has the freedom to design suitable courses, introduce new courses, rename obsolete courses by changing their content, and preparing course material and human resources. Moreover, it is learnt that owing to these advantages, a few more colleges have initiated the process of seeking autonomy.