Ordinance to amend university laws promulgated

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has promulgated the University Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 empowering the Syndicates of Kerala, Calicut, Mahatma Gandhi, and Kannur universities to consider applications for new courses in affiliated colleges for the academic year 2020-21.

A gazette notification of the Ordinance issued on Monday will expire in one month. “Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act and the Statutes, made thereunder, the Syndicate may receive and consider applications for affiliation of a new course in an affiliated college for the academic year 2020-21 within one month from the date of commencement of the Ordinance,” says the amendments made in the Acts of the four universities.

The Ordinance was promulgated as part of inviting applications from affiliated colleges for the new innovative and interdisciplinary programmes for the academic year 2020-21.

However, the deadline for submitting applications for new courses in 2020-21 had already expired as per the statutes of the universities and the institutions were not in a position to invite applications for new courses. The government wanted to launch the new innovative programmes from November 1 onwards.

The gazette notification says that the Assembly is not in session and the Governor is satisfied that circumstances exist that render it necessary for him to take immediate action.

With the promulgation of the Ordinance, the universities can invite applications for the innovative and interdisciplinary undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in its affiliated colleges. The universities are likely to call for applications for launching nearly 100 to 150 new courses in this academic year.

An order issued by the Department of Higher Education on September 18 says that NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) score and NIRF (National Institutional Ranking Framework) ranking need not be insisted for colleges having necessary infrastructure to start four and five year programmes. The proposals of colleges belonging to Scheduled Caste community trusts can also be recommended, even if unaccredited, it says.

The department had asked the universities to consider the recommendations of the Kerala State Higher Education Council while recommending the new innovative and interdisciplinary programmes.

An expert committee headed by Sabu Thomas, Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University, had come up with a report on the need to start new generation, interdisciplinary undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

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