It is commented by experts that The UGC failed to maintain the standards of higher education in India because its entire function was geared towards the disbursal of grants rather than regulation. Will replacing UGC with Higher Education Commission of India act as panacea for higher education? Critically examine (15 marks)

Mentors Comment:

The government has expressed its intention to bring in the Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill, 2018, which will replace UGC with HECI. It will bring substantial and much required reform in the higher education regulation of India. The issue is quite important for the mains this year.

The question wants us to write in detail about the salient provisions of the Higher Education Commission of India and How is HECI is better than UGC and what are the shortcomings of HECI.

  • In Introduction, mention 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 HECI has been placed in public domain for comments and suggestions.
  • Discuss the salient provisions of HECI bill and how the proposed body HECI will be better than UGC. e.g The new regime separates the academic and funding aspects of higher education with no powers of grant with HECI; regime of transparent public disclosure vs inspection system in UGC; more powers than UGC like power to shut down bogus and sub-standard academic institutions etc.
  • Mention the challenges before HECI and specially the features which affect its autonomy.
  • Then discuss what more can be done in the conclusion. Mention that this is a welcome step and should be complemented by reforming other bodies like AICTE, NCTE etc.

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