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UGC proposes clustering of colleges

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Issues related to the development of the social sector relating to education, government policies and interventions for the development of various sectors etc


Source: The Hindu, Indian Express

Context: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has finalized guidelines for transforming colleges and universities into multidisciplinary institutions.


      • Promoting multidisciplinary institutions was a key recommendation of the National Education Policy 2020.
      • Guidelines for Transforming Higher Educational Institutions into Multidisciplinary Institutions: These aim to help State governments and universities frame appropriate rules and policies.

Key Highlights:

      • Academic collaboration through clusters: The UGC has suggested academic collaboration between institutions through “clusters” of higher education institutions (HEIs) in order to promote multidisciplinary education and research in online and offline
      • Cluster system Importance:
        • The cluster system will help single-stream institutions with poor enrolment.
        • Such centres will improve the grades in National Assessment And Accreditation Council (NAAC)
      • Affiliated colleges during the initial phase: The member colleges in a cluster will continue to function as affiliated colleges under the university in the initial phase
        • After the initial years, the affiliating university may affiliate the cluster of colleges as a single unit
      • The merger of single-stream institutions, with other multidisciplinary institutions under the same management or different management
      • Expanding the number of departments in a college or university: By adding new subjects such as languages, literature, music, Indology, sports, etc.
      • Credit mobility: Students opting for courses offered as a result of collaborations and mergers can also avail of credit mobility between partnering institutions
        • The National e-Governance Division of MeitY has developed the ABC platform:
          • Which allows students to open an academic account
          • Add HEIs of interest
          • Store credits earned from them for receiving degrees and diplomas.
        • Student orientation programmes: The guidelines also identify student orientation programmes as an important element to familiarize them with the new options available to them.
        • Capacity-building for faculty: It suggests capacity-building for faculty so that they can teach, train and research in multi-disciplinary academic programmes such as Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) as well as investment in learning assessment tools.
        • Setting up Education Departments in universities and colleges: They will teach curriculum design, pedagogy, communication and writing to future teachers.

National Education Policy 2020:

      • Multidisciplinary institutions: It envisages that by 2040 all HEIs should aim to become multidisciplinary with student enrolments in thousands.
      • Underserved regions: It also says that more HEIs will be established and developed in underserved regions to ensure equity and inclusion.
      • Creating new institutions: By 2030 there should be one large multi-disciplinary HEI in or near every district, achieved by creating new institutions apart from consolidating, expanding and improving existing HEIs.
Related Article:

Fall in school enrolment to continue till 2025: NCERT

Source: The Hindu

●        Enrollment in Primary stage: School enrolment in primary classes(grades I-V) started declining in India in 2011, a trend which is set to continue until 2025, according to a “projection and trends” report prepared by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

●        Fall in growth rate: The Council has attributed this dip in enrolment to a fall in the growth rate of India’s child population.

●        A decline in upper primary and secondary stages: The upper primary (classes VI-VIII) and secondary stages (IX-X) started witnessing a decline in enrolment in 2016 and 2019, respectively, the report stated.

●        Rise in girl students: The share of girl students rose to register an increase of over 1,000 per cent.

●        SCs and STs: The declining pattern of enrolment of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe children is very similar to India’s enrolment (total) pattern.

Uses of the report:

●        Policies and programmes: It will help policymakers frame appropriate policies and programmes.

●        New schools: The number of new schools to be opened or upgraded

●        New teachers: The number of teachers required is decided on the basis of the number of children to be potentially enrolled in the system.


Insta Links:

NEP 2020


Mains Link:

Q. The quality of higher education in India requires major improvements to make it internationally competitive. Do you think that the entry of foreign educational institutions would help improve the quality of technical and higher education in the country? Discuss. (UPSC 2015)


Prelims links:

      • NEP
      • ARPIT
      • ABC platform
      • NAAC
      • UGC

Consider the following statements:

  1. National Education Policy 2020 envisages that by 2030 all higher educational institutions(HEIs) should aim to become multidisciplinary.
  2. NEP 2020 aims to create one HEI in every district by 2025.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (d)


Refer to the article above