New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has rolled out an application process for varsities and institutes seeking the “eminence" tag.

The establishment of 20 world-class institutions, 10 public and the rest private, is one of the flagship projects of the ministry of human resource development for internationalisation of Indian campuses and creating world class universities.

The government will invest Rs10,000 crore in 10 public higher education institutions to be shortlisted with a mission to make them “world-class" and the investment will be done over a period of 10 years, which is over and above the regular grants.

The UGC on Tuesday announced the initiation of the 90 days application process from interested public and private institutions. By March-April 2018, 20 (10 each from public and private category) institutions will be according the status of “institutions of eminence" with a mandate to achieve world- class status over a period of 10 years.

“The process for setting up of institutions of eminence gets underway from 13 September with the invitation for applications. The institutions which can apply are divided into three categories – existing government educational institutions, existing private higher educational institutions and sponsoring organization for setting up of private institutions," Kewal Kumar Sharma, secretary, ministry of HRD told reporters.

As per the guidelines issued by the UGC, institutions in the top 50 of the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings or those who have secured ranking among top 500 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS University Rankings or Shanghai Ranking Academic Ranking of World Universities are eligible to apply.

New institutions need to submit a 15-year vision plan to be among the top 500 globally ranked institutions, while existing institutions among the top 500 would have to offer a plan to improve their ranking to be among the top 100 in the next 10 years.

“The mission is to set up universities with all India character and with international standards. For a large country like India the possibility of providing globally recognized best education is what we are trying to create," said Sharma.

The institutions declared as institutions of eminence will be free from the usual regulatory mechanism to choose their path to become institutions of global repute with emphasis on multi-disciplinary initiatives, high quality research, global best practices and international collaborations.

Unlike the other institutions in the country, these institutions will have the liberty to enroll up to 30% foreign students. Moreover, selected public institutions will be able to recruit up to 25% foreign faculty, while there will be no such limit for selected private institutions.

“The universities will have the freedom of devising their own courses, create centres without coming to UGC, fix their own fee structure, but with a need blind mechanism so that the best students are not denied education for fund crunch," a senior UGC official said. The HRD Ministry will set up an empowered expert committee which will process the application and the process of shortlisting the institutions is likely to be completed by March-April 2018.

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