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Autonomy for Mission twins
- Presidency College misses the bus

Two Ramakrishna Mission colleges are set to become autonomous, in the footsteps of St Xavier’s College.

Calcutta University (CU) on Tuesday decided to grant autonomy to Ramakrishna Mission Residential College, Narendrapur, and Ramakrishna Mission Sikshanmandir, Belur, a B.Ed college.

“The two Ramakrishna Mission colleges recently submitted proposals to the government seeking autonomy. We accepted the proposals today,” said CU vice-chancellor Asis Kumar Banerjee.

“Going by the rules of the University Grants Commission (UGC), the university will now conduct inspections of the two institutions,” added Banerjee.

The UGC provides a substantial grant over five years to autonomous colleges. The institutes enjoy a free hand in fixing the fees and raising funds through other means. Autonomous colleges can also frame syllabi, hold examinations and award degrees. The certificates, however, mention the name of the university.

Father P.C. Mathew, principal of St Xavier’s College, which was granted autonomy in July last year, said: “Freedom is the biggest plus-point of autonomy. Earlier, when foreign universities approached us for tie-ups, we were unable to entertain them. Now, we are in talks with a number of universities.”

Presidency College, the state-run university affiliate that had been shortlisted for autonomy by the government, missed the bus on Tuesday.

Reason: The high-powered committee set up last year to determine the ideal status for the institution — deemed university or autonomous college — is yet to submit its report to the government.

Father Mathew had a possible explanation: “The government-aided colleges are bound by specific statutes. The statutes need to be changed before these colleges can be made autonomous.”

Officials of CU said the Ramakrishna Mission colleges would have to be examined by teams from the university and the UGC before they become autonomous.

Their proposals were taken up by the CU syndicate on Tuesday, at the behest of the state government. According to officials of the state higher education department, the proposals were submitted at the department only a few weeks ago.

“The government of West Bengal has no objection if the University of Calcutta grants autonomous status to Ramakrishna Mission Residential College, Narendrapur, and Ramakrishna Mission Sikshanmandir, Belur,” said a letter by the special secretary of the department to the CU authorities.

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