The Kerala Cabinet today decided to provide autonomous status to Government and aided Arts and Science Colleges and Engineering colleges in accordance with UGC guidelines.

An expert committee would be constituted to examine the applications forwarded by educational institutions that seek autonomous status, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told presspersons after a Cabinet meeting.

The decision was in line with the announcement in the State budget for the year 2013-14 that the Government would encourage arts, science and engineering colleges to get autonomous status.

This was part of Kerala’s objective to improve the quality of higher education. A sum of Rs 15 crore had been earmarked in the Budget to improve the basic physical infrastructure in Government Colleges and also for setting up of modern management systems to achieve autonomous status, he said.

The self-financing private educational institutions would not be considered for autonomous status now, he said in response to a question.

Chandy said UGC’s target was to provide autonomous status to 10 per cent of educational institutions in the country in the near future.

Following UGC’s decision, 420 educational institutions under 79 universities in 19 States had already obtained this status, he said. But, so far, Kerala did not have a single autonomous educational institution, he said.

In an another significant decision, the Government resolved to hand over to the State Public Service Commission the charge of appointing all non-teaching staff in universities in the State.