The government is set to replace the apex higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) with a higher education commission by repealing the UGC Act, 1951.
“Under the leadership of PM @narendramodi has embarked on a process of reforms of the regulatory agencies for better administration of the HE sector (sic). In a landmark decision, a draft Act for repeal of #UGC & setting up #HECI (Higher Education Commission of India) has been prepared,” Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted.
“The draft Act is in accordance with the commitment of govt for reforming the regulatory systems that provide more autonomy to HE institutes to promote excellence & facilitate holistic growth of the education system,” he added.
The Higher Education Commission of India would focus solely on academic matters. Monetary grants would be the purview of the ministry, according to the draft.
“Less government and more governance, separation of grant functions, end of inspection raj, focus on academic quality, powers to enforce compliance to the academic quality standards and to order closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions are some of the highlights of the new act,” the draft says.
The Act will be called the Higher Education Commission of India Act, 2018 (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act).
The HRD Ministry has asked all educationists, stakeholders and the general public to give comments and suggestions before 5 pm on July 7 on the draft, which has been released on its website.
The new Act is likely to be tabled in the Parliament during the monsoon session. The government was earlier planning a single regulator for technical education, national council teachers training and UGC.
However, it has been decided to strengthen the higher education regulator as it was felt that the current commission remains preoccupied with disbursing funds to institutes, it is unable to concentrate on other key areas such as mentoring institutes, focusing on research to be undertaken and other quality measures required in the sector.
“The Commission shall have the power to grant authorization for starting of academic operations on the basis of their compliance with norms of academic quality. It will also have the powers to revoke authorization granting to a higher education institution where there is a case of wilful or continuous default in compliance with the norms,” the draft said.
“There will be an Advisory Council to render advice to the Commission on matters concerning coordination and determination of standards in the country. This will be represented by the Chairpersons / Vice-Chairpersons of State Councils for Higher Education and chaired by the HRD Minister,” it added.