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Autonomy prod for private tech colleges

Owners of private engineering colleges would have to submit an undertaking that they would not interfere in academic and administrative matters for the institutes to be eligible for a World Bank grant.

The undertaking would initially have to be furnished by the owners of three private engineering colleges that received the first instalment of the grant under the World Bank’s Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (Tequip).

The state government later plans to seek the undertaking from the owners of other private colleges with suitable infrastructure.

“Our intention is to ensure academic and administrative autonomy of these institutes,” said an official of the West Bengal University of Technology (WBUT).

Colleges granted autonomy would be able to design courses, frame syllabi, follow their own teaching methods, conduct research and hold examinations.

“We are prepared to give full academic and administrative freedom to private engineering colleges. But this freedom will be given only to deserving colleges and after rigorous inspection and screening,” said Sabyasachi Sengupta, the vice-chancellor of the WBUT.

The university currently controls the academic affairs of the affiliated colleges.

“The colleges chosen for the first instalment of the grant will be given autonomy. Other colleges will be inspected later so that they can be given autonomy,” said the vice-chancellor.

The private colleges that received the first instalment of the grant are the Institute of Engineering and Management in Salt Lake, Netaji Subhas Institute of Engineering in Garia and the Haldia Institute of Technology.

The state government and the university felt the need to grant autonomy to colleges after the World Bank declared that it would provide funds in the second phase only to autonomous institutions.

The first instalment of the grant was meant for infrastructure development of the institutes.

“According to the conditions set by the World Bank, funds given in the second phase should be utilised for research,” said a source.

The first phase of the programme ended last year. The second instalment of the grant will be disbursed this year.

The source added the state government had fixed the criteria that the three private engineering colleges need to fulfil to be granted autonomy and subsequently, the second installment of the grant.

The three colleges were among 11 institutes given Rs 153 crore under Tequip. Jadavpur University and Bengal Engineering and Science University had been given Rs 24 crore each under the programme.

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