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UGC to relook at its university funding scheme

The University Grants Commission is contemplating a new model of university funding based on the enrolment figures. The vice-chancellors of about 250 universities will meet in New Delhi next week to discuss the higher education authority’s proposal to change the pattern of funding from block grants to one based on norms.

The norm based funding which is quite popular in US universities works on the suggestions given by a funding agency that determines course-wise per-capita expenditure of students. Grants are allocated on the basis of the number of students. The per-capita expenditure may vary depending on location and quality of the university.

If the proposed funding norm gets a nod then universities with large number of students will get higher funds. This implies that universities that have more affiliate colleges like Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta Universities would draw more funds from UGC than unitary universities like Jawaharlal Nehru University, Visva Bharati etc.

“This method of block grant makes many good universities starve. The best example is Delhi University, which has been facing a severe funds crunch. Things have improved in recent years after the UGC gave the special funds for implementation of OBC quota,” said former Delhi University vice chancellor Deepak Pental.

However, there are supporters for the block grants scheme as well, Former JNU vice-chancellor B.B. Bhattacharya said, “A block grant system encourages autonomy of the institutes. The IITs also get block grants. The institutes decide on how to spend the grants.”

Presently, UGC follows the block grant scheme, it provides funds for the expenses of the 40 central universities — both maintenance costs and staff salary. It also funds 200 state universities for buildings and laboratories.

The UGC sends an expert team to each institution to assess their funds requirement. Accordingly, it releases the funds as block grant, a one-time award to the institute for a specific year.

[Source: The Telegraph]

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