A watchdog is an individual or group (generally non-profit) that keeps an eye on a particular entity or a particular element of community. It is concerned with and warns the members of the community when a potential or actual problem arises. One such watchdog for educational institutions in India is UGC.
The University Grants Commission of India (UGC India) is a statutory body set up by the Indian Union government in accordance with the UGC Act 1956 under Ministry of Human Resource Development and is charged with coordination, determination and maintenance of the standards of higher education. It provides recognition to universities in India and disburses funds to such recognized universities and colleges. The UGC also conducts exams, known as NET, for appointing teachers in colleges.
The UGC was established in 1956 as a statutory body of the Union Government. However, UGC was formally inaugurated by the Education, Natural Resources and Scientific Research Minister, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, in 1953. The other universities and colleges fall under the UGC. It is responsible for granting recognitions to various universities, be it new Universities such as AP Goyal Shimla University or reputed age-old universities like IIMs, IITs. New struggling universities such as BML Munjal University which was established in 2014 is also granted by the UGC.
When talking about the function of the University Grants Commission, the UGC ACT says that the first function is to look into the financial needs of universities. It then allocates and disburses grants to these universities. Well, the other academic functions come only after these functions.
The UGC seeks to promote responsible understanding between the institutions, the Government and the community at large. It mediates interests between institutions and the Administration. On the one hand, the UGC safeguards the academic freedom and institutional autonomy of the institutions, while on the other it ensures value for money for the taxpayers. The Committee has open channels to both the institutions and Government, since it offers advice to, and receives advice from, both.
In respect of capital works projects, the UGC advises both Institutions and the Government on campus development plans and proposals made by Institutions, with a view to supporting their academic and overall development. The Committee takes its role in quality assurance very seriously, with several peer reviews being carried out in the past decade. It also promotes and supports institutions in quality assurance and enhancement initiatives and processes, and monitors academic standards of the institutions.
In respect of research, the Committee carries out Research Assessment Exercises primarily to inform the distribution of the research portion of block grants, to discharge public accountability and to induce improvements in research.In December 2015, the Indian government set a National Institutional of Ranking Framework under UGC which will rank all educational institutes by April 2016. UGC has suggested to all Universities in India to set up an Online Admission System from the academic session commencing in 2016-2017. Recently UGC has released 22 fake universities, 9 are from Uttar Pradesh, 5 from Delhi, 2 from West Bengal and one each from Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. Thus, UGC is all focused towards improving the higher education of the country.