UGC Guidelines and Educations in India

When opening a website of a central university or any other academic institution in India or reading a prospect for an upcoming entrance examination for a certain course, we are bound to have faced a set of regulations mandated by a nationwide body of regulations. However, what is this body, and what does it do?

University Grant Commission

Since its creation, the UGC has served various roles in advancing university education in India. During the 1950s and 1960s, the higher education system developed dramatically. Since the 1970s, UGC has advocated for a moderation strategy in expansion and increased emphasis on consolidation and quality improvement. During the latter stage of development, the UGC took several major initiatives, including the establishment of centers of excellence, the improvement of the quality of teaching in colleges, the establishment of major facilities for research in specialized fields that several universities could share, the development of facilities for the use of electronic media in higher education, and measures to improve the working conditions of teachers and their training.

The UGC has provided financial assistance to around 180 institutions and roughly 4000 colleges throughout the country. In 1997-98, the Commission disbursed around Rs. 6400 million in awards.

The UGC does not sponsor agricultural education and research, for which another specialized organization, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (IC'AR), was established earlier. Similarly, the Commission does not support medical education because the Ministry of Health is the focal body for medical education. No funds are available to the UGC to promote education and research in medicine and allied subjects.

Brief Overview of UGC

In Indian history, university education always has held a prominent position, from medieval Hindustan to contemporary India. Institutes like Nalanda, Taxila, and Vikramsila were well-known in antiquity and drew students from distant nations. One of the biggest tertiary education systems on the globe is currently run by India. The current higher education system can be traced back to Mountstuart Elphinstone's minutes from 1823, which emphasized the necessity for schools to be established to educate English and European sciences.

Later, Lord Macaulay supported "efforts to make inhabitants of the land genuinely proficient English academics" in his minutes from 1835. Dubbed the "Magna Carta of English Instruction in The country," Sir Charles Wood's Dispatch of 1854 advocated developing a well-organized educational system from the elementary level to the university. It envisaged the creation of a comprehensive education strategy and aimed to promote indigenous education.

To boost university operations, the Inter-University Board (formally renamed the Association of Indian Universities) was founded in 1925. It works in education, culture, sports, and related fields by exchanging information and cooperating with other organizations. The Recommendations of the Central Advisory Board of Education on Post-War Academic Growth in India, known colloquially as the Sargeant Report, published in 1944, was India's first attempt at creating a national educational system.

To supervise the operations of the three National Institutions of Aligarh, Banaras, and Delhi, it advised the creation of a University Grants Committee, which was established in 1945. The Committee was given the task of handling all of the then-existing Universities in 1947.

The University Education Commission was established in 1948, after India gained its independence, and was presided over by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. Its mandate was to "report on Indian university studies and propose changes and additions that may be advantageous to satisfy the current and future requirements and aspirations of the nation." It was suggested that the University Grants Committee be reorganized along the general lines of the University Grants Commission of the United Kingdom, with a full-time Chairman and additional members to be chosen from among reputable educators.

The Union Government determined in 1952 that the University Grants Commission could be consulted in all instances involving the distribution of grants-in-aid using taxpayer revenues to the Central Universities as well as other campuses and institutions of higher education.

As a result, on December 28, 1953, the late Shri Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the country's Minister of Education, Natural Resources, and Scientific Research, officially inaugurated the University Grants Commission (UGC). To coordinate, create, and maintain the norms of higher instruction in India, the UGC was legally established in November 1956 through an Act of Parliament. The UGC has diversified its activities by establishing six regional hubs nationwide to provide adequate area representation across the country.

The Mandate of the UGC

The UGC holds the remarkable reputation of being the sole grant-making organization in the nation to have been given two mandates: funding and management, determination, and the preservation of standards in universities of higher education. The duties of the UGC encompass the following −

  • Organizing and promoting higher education.

  • Establishing and upholding standards for university instruction, testing, and research.

  • Establishing basic educational standards for regulations.

  • Grants are given to colleges and universities while developments in tertiary and university degrees are tracked.

  • Acting as a key conduit between the federal government, state governments, and higher education institutions.

  • Counseling the federal and state legislatures on the steps that must be taken to strengthen higher education.

Need for UGC

The Commission underlined the necessity for a UGC in the following terms: a commission for granting money to universities from the Centre is vital to improving and developing universities in India; such a body should comprise experts and government officials.

Experts with knowledge and experience are required for the execution of political decisions on policy and resource allocation; it should be the responsibility of such a body to create and develop facilities for advanced research in universities; there is a need for coordination of facilities, in special fields, as it may not be feasible to provide all facilities in all universities; and there should be the constant liaison between universities and national research lanes; Such a council would be able to suggest policies to the central government regularly, and it would be responsible for ensuring the basic standards of efficient administration at universities.

The Central Government adopted these proposals, and a University Grants Commission was founded in 1956 by an Act of Parliament. The Commission comprises ten members, including a full-time Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Two government employees, university instructors, representatives of the learned professions, and Vice-Chancellors are among the ten members.


Atal Bihari Vajpayee recommended that the Commission rename itself the "University Education Development Commission." This moniker accurately describes how the UGC's function has altered in current history. The coordination, creation, and upkeep of university education standards have historically been delegated to UGC. To achieve this, it worked on establishing regulations for minimum educational standards, establishing criteria for university instruction, testing, and research, keeping track of advancements in the domain of interscholastic and university-level education, awarding grants to colleges and universities, and creating Inter-University Centers, which are essentially common facilities, services, and initiatives for a collective of universities.

Functions of UGC

The Commission's major functions are as follows: promotion and coordination of university education; determination and maintenance of standards of teaching, examinations, and research; allocation and disbursement of grants to universities from funds provided by the Central government; advising universities on measures to improve university education; and advising the Central and State governments on university education matters.

Current UGC Guidelines for Pursuing Two Courses Simultaneously

  • A student is permitted to enroll in two full-time curriculums in the physical mode as long as the class schedules for the different programs do not conflict.

  • A student may follow up to two ODL/Online academic programs at once, one in a full-time physical mode and the other in a Distance and Open Learning (ODL)/Online mode.

  • Only HEIs approved to run these programs by the UGC, the Statutory Council, or the Government of India may provide major or diplomas in the ODL/Online mode.

  • Graduates or diplomas covered by these recommendations must adhere to the regulations announced by the UGC and any applicable legislative or professional councils.

  • These regulations shall be in effect as of the UGC's notification. Pupils who have previously completed two academic programs concurrently anterior to the notice of these rules are not eligible to claim any retroactive benefits.

Purview of UGC

  • Notifications on specification of degrees

  • Regulations on establishment and maintenance of institutions

  • Regulations on Minimum standards of instruction for the grant of degrees

  • Rules on returns of information by Universities

  • Minimum Qualifications required to be appointed as teaching staff and other posts

  • Regulations on institutions deemed to be universities

  • Regulations for private universities

  • Regulations on admission to specified professional programmes


The University Grants Commission of India came after a long struggle of former freedom fighters of India to establish a universal regulatory body to coordinate and keep integration of the numerous universities of India and to ensure that they are accomplishing the set of tasks that have been derailed for them. While it is responsible for several operations regarding the universities and their functioning, it is also a statutory body that never fails to live up to its expectations and upholds its duties to the foremost levels.

Updated on: 13-Feb-2023


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