University of Hyderabad (UoH), having achieved rank 4 in NIRF 2019, has launched an ambitious plan to leverage the category-I Graded Autonomy conferred by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in order to take the institution to the next level of academic excellence, while adhering to its core values of equity, social justice, and affordable higher education for the needy. It sees Graded Autonomy as an opportunity to emphasize and reinforce the University’s commitment to public education.

The University has created a fund for Student Welfare, Academic and Research Grant (SWARG). SWARG, now approved by the Finance Committee and the Executive Council, is directed at augmenting the financial, infrastructural facilities for students so that the University’s commitment to the ideals of the public institution remain unchanged. The University expect to increase, for example, support for students enrolled in the PhD programs, especially in cases where financial constraints may hinder their work. Conscious of the possible paucity of funding to the underprivileged students, SWARG is an attempt to ensure a smoother education life cycle in the public institution.     

With this aim, the recent Executive Council meeting it has been decided that an amount up to Rs. 10.00 lakhs per annum from the interest on corpus is earmarked for SWARG,  enabling students’ welfare measures as an interim arrangement till the accumulated corpus under SWARG reaches a certain level. Considering the representation of the Students Union the council also agreed to enhance of UoHSA from the existing Rs. 750/- per month to Rs. 1,000- per month w.e.f. the current semester.  This will support needy-cum-meritorious students in the pursuit of their goal of higher education in this prestigious university. The Revised guidelines for sanction of this assistance are also being issued. The Council also approved guidelines for utilizing Prof. Gurbaksh Singh Students’ Aid Fund (GBSSAF) for the benefit of meritorious and needy students. Soon the contributions to GBSSAF will be eligible for tax exemptions.     

Some of the other decisions to facilitate greater access to quality education in the University include:

• Adoption of reservations (10%) for Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs) for admission in Central Educational Institutions. 

• A significant portion of income from self-financing courses, which will have a different fee-structure, to be launched under Graded Autonomy will go into SWARG. This alternative source of revenue, which will fund our existing programs with minimal or no increase of financial burdens on the students,  is an attempt to ensure that the University’s agenda of providing public education will remain in place even when traditional public funding is, for some reason, delayed or reduced.    

• Institution of the OBC Medal from the year 2019 in the Integrated and PG courses for the toppers among OBC students to be awarded at the Annual Convocation.

• Proposals for Skill-Enhancement and Skill-Development courses/programs from Schools and Departments are to be invited, with a clear focus on making students more employable and with clearer learning outcomes that fit them better into the global job market, and such courses/programs will find easier approvals from the statutory bodies (where required). 

• Research supervision to be monitored more closely to ensure better quality and timely output from doctoral students, with research supervisors’ own outputs being factored into the allotment of students.

• Programs for working professionals – thus contributing to the country’s ‘continuing education’ ideals – in various disciplines to be invited, and income from such programs will also go into SWARG.   

• The University expects to work towards better peer and employer perceptions of the University so that this will directly impact, positively, on our students’ placements.