HRD minister has sought comments and suggestions till July 7 on the draft which has been released on the Ministry’s website.
The Hush Post: The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has prepared a draft Act to replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) with a new regulator for higher education in the country, it has been reported. This move has come as an effort to improve academic standards and crack down on bogus institutions, as per the draft released by the Ministry on Wednesday.
The new Higher Education Commission of India will focus solely on academic matters. Monetary grants would be the purview of the Ministry, according to a report.
The Act will be called the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) Act, 2018 (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act).
How is it different?
- For the first time, the country’s apex regulator of higher education institutions will have the powers to enforce academic standards, order the closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions, and also levy fines. Currently, UGC releases the names of bogus institutions on its website to warn the public, but cannot take any action against them.
- The Act will have powers to revoke authorisation to grant degrees in case the standards are not maintained. In case an institution disregards HECI’s order on a penalty or closure, the administrators could face criminal prosecution, resulting in a jail sentence up to three years.
- According to the draft, all universities including state-owned ones will have to get authorization from HECI for granting degrees, and also fulfill conditions regarding academic curricula and infrastructure .
- “This will do away with substandard universities which are operating from one or two rooms in some parts of the country,” said R Subrahmanyam, secretary, higher education, HRD ministry, in a report.
- The draft has also made accreditation mandatory for all institutions; those with failing to do so by 2022 face the threat of closure.
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar 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 the Ministry’s website. The new Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session which begins on July 18.
The government was earlier planning a single regulator to replace the regulators for technical education, teacher training and the UGC. However, it has since decided to strengthen the higher education regulator.