What’s the Missing Block in Building Institute of Excellence?

Context: Times of India dated 27 march 2023 has a news article highlighting the issues associated with the Institute of excellence.

What is the institute of Excellence?

Institutions of Eminence scheme has been to help higher education institutions to become world-class teaching and research institutions. Ten public and ten private institutions are to be identified to emerge as world-class Teaching and Research Institutions. This will enhance affordable access to high-quality education for ordinary Indians.

Objectives of the scheme – institutions of eminence

  • To provide for higher education leading to excellence and innovations in such branches of knowledge as may be deemed fit at post-graduate, graduate and research degree levels and award degrees, diplomas and other academic distinctions; 
  • To provide for high-quality teaching and research and the advancement of knowledge and its dissemination through various research programmes undertaken in-house by a substantial number of full-time faculty and research scholars in diverse disciplines etc.

Expectations from the institutions of eminence

  • Highly qualified faculty, with the freedom to hire from across the world; 
  • Existence of academic, administrative and financial autonomy; 
  • Excellence in research; 
  • High Quality of teaching etc.


  • The multiplicity of regulatory agencies and the lack of coordination among them is a major challenge in the emergence of institutes of eminence in India.
  • The multiplicity of regulatory agencies and the lack of coordination among them is a major challenge in the emergence of institutes of eminence in India.
  • Limited Funding compared to other countries like China which have provided more extensive funding to their elite universities.
  • Limited coverage of universities in the IOE scheme, as only three public-funded and three private-funded universities have been selected, and the selection has excluded some notable institutions.
  • Limited financial autonomy in fund utilization, with strict compliance with Government Financial Rules (GFR) and the fear of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India audit. Delays in receiving funds from sponsoring organizations.
  • Challenging procurement procedures such as purchase and procurement through Government e-Marketplace portal.
  • Delays in the purchase period for equipment having foreign components due to too many clearances.
  • The current Public Financial Management System hampers the purchase where a commitment is made without completing the final transaction.
  • Difficulty in compliance with laws relating to visa, registration, opening a bank account, residence permit, exit permit, etc., for foreign students.
  • Existing high fees in IITs with little scope for raising the fees to attract more foreign students, as higher fees contradict the equity objective of a public-funded university.
  • Difficulty in recruiting international faculty due to various bottlenecks, such as political clearances, complex taxation laws, and other bureaucratic hurdles.

What is the way forward?

  • The proposed HECI should set its priorities right and bring out regulations based on evidence-based inputs.
  • HECI should refrain from bringing out regulations in areas requiring no regulation.
  • HECI should asses how the regulations will impact the functioning of higher education institutes.
  • A stakeholder-based approach should be adopted to formulate regulations so that the inputs and feedback of all stakeholders can be incorporated.
  • There is a need to create an interconnected web of regulatory functions.

UPSC Mains PYQ 2015:

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.

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