Tamil Nadu has close to one-third of all the autonomous educational institutions in the country and the numbers are escalating. Of the 155 colleges with autonomy in the state, only 27 are engineering or architecture institutions, with most offering courses in arts, pure sciences, humanities and management.
Experts say that there are around 80 autonomous arts and science colleges in the state, with the most independent institutions in the Coimbatore region.
“When Anna University, Coimbatore, was given jurisdiction over engineering colleges in the region in 2009, many colleges were awarded the status of autonomous institutions,” education consultant J P Gandhi said.”There was hesitation initially from universities to award autonomous status to colleges affiliated to them but that gradually changed.”
“Autonomy gives colleges the freedom to frame their own syllabus based on market needs,” Sri Krishna Institutions chief executive officer K Sundararaman said. “It also allows them to opt for innovative courses that may be added to the curriculum with approval from the university to which they are affiliated.”