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St Stephen's stands for autonomy amid fear of fund cuts

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has been encouraging educational institutions to perform well in order to get more autonomy and be free of the government control.

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St Stephen's stands for autonomy amid fear of fund cuts
Students and teachers of St. Stephen’s College called an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss the modalities of attaining autonomous status
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In a bid to get more autonomy from the Delhi University (DU), the prestigious St. Stephen's College, which is already independent in terms of admission process among other things, has decided to take the matter forward with the University Grants Commission (UGC).

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has been encouraging educational institutions to perform well in order to get more autonomy and be free of the government control. There is fear in the academic circles, however, that fund cuts may follow soon.

Meanwhile, the decision to apply for more autonomy was taken in a Governing Body (GB) meeting held on Saturday, wherein the proposal was approved in principle, despite opposition from some members. Among other things, the institution wants to be able to design its own curriculum.

Nandita Narain, elected teacher representative, GB, who was present at the meeting, said: "There are a lot of implications of getting complete autonomy. We will have to be completely on our own in terms of funding, managing exams, and other things. Stephen's already decides its own admission process. What more could they want?"

"The college wants to be able to design new courses, but it is already doing that. Four GB members were against the idea and expressed their opposition, but were not heard by the Principal," she added.

Principal John Varghese said there was a standard offer from UGC to colleges seeking autonomy and Stephen's decided to take the matter forward. "By getting more autonomy, we will be able to have the academic freedom to design our own courses and revamp the syllabus, if needed," he said, confirming that the college will be applying for more autonomy. A few other DU colleges have also applied for more autonomy but the proposals are still being considered.

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