<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An invite from the University Grants Commission (UGC) to educational institutes across the country for an orientation programme, to introduce them with its scheme of autonomous colleges, has created an uproar at Delhi University (DU) with officials calling it an attempt of ‘privatisation’ and ‘commercialisation’.In his letter to the colleges, PK Thakur, secretary, UGC, wrote that the commission has been implementing the scheme of autonomous colleges, in order to achieve further qualitative improvement leading towards academic excellence. Officials at the regulatory body said that the programme, which is scheduled to be held on Thursday, will help them to have an idea about the interest of colleges in its scheme that was notified earlier this year.The scheme offers academic and operative freedom to the colleges. It enables a college to design and structure its own courses of study and syllabi to suit the local needs and to devise innovative methods of teaching, examination and evaluation. Any number of colleges under a university, fulfilling a set criteria, can apply for autonomy from UGC under this scheme.However, according to officials at DU, it will give a free hand to the colleges to make changes in its fee structure.”The move will ultimately deprive the students from marginalised sections of society of affordable education, as it can lead to a hike in the fee structure of the colleges,” said Rajesh Jha, member of DU’s Executive Council (EC), the university’s highest statutory body.The EC, however, termed it a”violation”of DU Act, 1922.”UGC sending letters directly to colleges is like the Central government contacting the civic bodies bypassing a state government. Under DU Act, 1922, all such communications should come from the university and not the regulatory bodies,” he said.College principals across the university have also slammed the move.”If the UGC wants to implement the scheme, it should be done with lots of caution considering the after-effects,” said Manoj Sinha, principal, Aryabhatt College.DU faculty members also claim that even if the government gives the colleges a choice to become anonymous, the majority of them will not favour it.”A month-long agitation earlier this year by faculty members and students at St Stephens college against administration’s decision to apply to be an autonomous institution speaks volumes,” said a St Stephens faculty member.AUTONOMY SCHEMEThe scheme offers academic and operative freedom to the colleges. It enables a college to design and structure its own courses of study and syllabi to suit the local needs and to devise innovative methods of teaching, examination and evaluation.