Government approves draft Act prepared by HRD Ministry for setting up of Higher Education Commission of India by repealing UGC Act

On June 27,2018, The Ministry of HRD has prepared a Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill 2018 which seeks to repeal  UGC Act and provides for setting up of Higher Education Commission of India .

Government approves draft Act prepared by HRD Ministry for setting up of Higher Education Commission of India by repealing UGC ActThis has been placed in public domain for comments and suggestions till 7th July 2018.

Objective:

The focus of Higher Education Commission of India will be on improving academic standards and the quality of Higher Education.

Key Points:

i. It is an initiative of the central government to reform the regulatory agencies for better administration of the higher education sector.

ii. Along the lines of this launch several reform measures have already been launched viz, reform of NAAC, Regulation for grant of Graded Autonomy to Universities, granting of Autonomous status to colleges, the Regulation for Open Distance Learning, Regulation for Online degrees etc.

iii. It follows the following principles for fair reforms in the education sector:

Less Government and more Governance, Separation of grant functions, End of Inspection Raj, Focus on academic quality, Powers to enforce.

About the Higher Education Commission of India( repeal of the UGC Act) bill 2018.

  • The focus of the Commission will be on improving academic standards and quality of higher education, specifying norms for learning outcomes, lay down standards of teaching/research etc.
  • It will provide a road map for mentoring of institutions found failing in maintaining the required academic standards.
  • It shall have the power to enforce its decisions through legal provisions in the Act,
  • 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 / regulations.
  • It will also have the power to recommend closure of institutions which fail to adhere to minimum standards without affecting students’ interest.
  • The Commission will encourage higher education institutions to formulate a Code of
    Good Practices covering promotion of research, teaching and learning.
  • The constitution of the Commission is strengthened by the cooperation of Chairpersons of the AICTE and the NCTE.  Moreover the Chairpersons/Vice-Chairpersons and members will be scholars in the field of academics and research, possessing leadership qualities, proven capacities for institution building and deep understanding of issues of higher education policy and practice.
  • The Bill also provides for the penal provisions, which albeit graded in nature, will cover withdrawal of power to grant degrees/ diplomas or academic operations and in cases of wilful non-compliance, may result in prosecution sanction as per the Criminal Procedure Code with a punishment of imprisonment for a term which may extend up to 3 years.
  • 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 Union Minister for HRD.
  • The Commission will also specify norms and processes for fixing of fee chargeable by higher education institutions and advice the Central Government or the State Governments, as the case may be, regarding steps to be taken for making education affordable to all.
  • The Commission will monitor, through a national data base, all matters covering the development of emerging fields of knowledge and balanced growth of higher education institutions in all spheres and specially in promotion of academic quality in higher education.

Ministry of Human Resource and Development:
♦ Union Minister : Prakash Javadekar.
♦ Minister of State: Mahendra Nath Pandey.