The committee consists of five state ministers and three bureaucrats.

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news Education Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 11:18

In an attempt to speed up the process of receiving the Institution of Eminence (IoE) tag for Anna University, the government of Tamil Nadu has formed a five-minister committee to study the possibility of bifurcating Anna University into two. The reason behind the proposal, as per reports, is because once IoE status is granted, Anna University will not be allowed to grant affiliation to engineering colleges in the state.

According to a government order issued on Monday by the Department of Higher Education, a meeting was held on November 19 to discuss the granting of IoE status to Anna University, Tamil Nadu’s public institution which is in charge of the state’s technical education including engineering and technology. In the meeting, a cabinet resolution was passed to form a committee to study the proposal of bifurcation of the university into Anna Institute of Eminence and Anna University, by amending the Anna University Act 1978 and enacting a new Act.

Speaking to TNM on the committee, Principal Secretary to Government (Higher Education) Mangat Ram Sharma said that the proposal was put forth by the constituent colleges of Anna University -- College of Engineering Guindy, Madras Institute of Technology and Alagappa College of Technology (including the School of Architecture and Planning). “After bifurcation, the Anna Institute of Eminence will have only these three colleges. Their major focus will be research and innovation. They will also have more students from abroad for research,” he said. Adding that there is no specific deadline fixed for the committee to study the proposal, Mangat Ram Sharma said, “We will try to expedite the process, but it will take a little time due to local body elections.”

Meanwhile post-bifurcation, Anna University will continue to affiliate colleges, set syllabus, conduct examinations and award degrees to other engineering and technology colleges in the state.

It has also been decided in the cabinet meeting to get a clear response from the government of India on the possibility of retaining Tamil Nadu’s reservation policy for admission in the Institute of Eminence once the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) confers the tag on Anna University.

Speaking about the reservation policy post bifurcation, Mangat Ram Sharma said that both the institutes will follow state’s reservation policy in admitting students even after the status of IoE is granted by the MHRD.

The new committee consists of KA Sengottaiyan, School Education minister, KP Anbalagan, minister for higher education, P Thangamani, minister for electricity, D Jayakumar, minister for fisheries and C Ve Shanmugam, state law minister. The committee also has three bureaucrats -- Principal Secretaries to the government (Finance and Higher education) and Secretary to government (Law).

The MHRD had recommended the Institute of Eminence tag for Anna University upon consent from the state government. In August, the MHRD had written to the government of Tamil Nadu seeking a letter of commitment towards the IoE tag to Anna University. The government of Tamil Nadu then wrote to the MHRD seeking clarification on the maintenance of the state’s unique reservation policy in the admission to the university even after receiving the IoE tag, to which the MHRD responded that the university can follow 69% reservation in admissions as per the current process, even after receiving the IoE tag. However, MK Surappa, the Vice Chancellor of Anna University told TNM that the government of Tamil Nadu is yet to send a Letter of Commitment to the centre.

The status of Institute of Eminence (IoE) comes with financial support for infrastructure and research in selected institutions. IoE status will also grant financial autonomy and independence to the institutions in decisions related to fees and faculty hiring. A grant of Rs 1,000 crore is anticipated for public institutions over a 5-year period.