Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Particulars of the draft HECI, UGC, TSR Subramanian Committee Reforms
Mains level: Considering the ineffectiveness of UGC, the idea of setting up HECI has come forward to improve the scope of regulation of Educational Institutions.
The Centre has placed in the public domain a draft Bill for a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) – aimed at replacing the University Grants Commission – for eliciting suggestions from educationists.
Draft Higher Education Commission of India – a Regulator
- HECI is tasked with the mandate of improving academic standards with specific focus on learning outcomes, evaluation of academic performance by institutions, mentoring of institutions, training of teachers, promote use of educational technology.
- The draft HECI India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Act, 2018, takes away funding powers from the proposed regulator and gives it powers to ensure academic quality and even close down bogus institutions.
- HECI will be in charge of ensuring academic quality in universities and colleges, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) – or another mechanism that will be put in place later – will be responsible for funding universities and colleges.
- Once UGC is replaced by HECI, the technical education regulator AICTE and the teachers’ education regulator NCTE will also be reformed on similar lines.
- The new regime separates the academic and funding aspects of higher education.
Shutting Bogus Institutions
- The Regulator will have powers to enforce compliance to the academic quality standards and will have the power to order closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions.
- It will develop norms for setting standards for opening and closure of institutions, provide for greater flexibility and autonomy to institutions, lay standards for appointments to critical leadership positions at the institutional level irrespective of university started under any law (including state list).
- Non-compliance could result in fines or even a jail sentence.
- Till now, the UGC had no such powers. All it could do was to release a list of bogus institutions and not recognise their degrees.
Who will be the new staff?
- UGC staff would be retrained to adapt to the HECI regime, which will be fully digital and would do away with file work.
- The HECI will have a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and 12 other members, including ex-officio members, eminent academics and a doyen of industry.
UGC (University Grants Commission)
- The University Grants Commission of India (UGC India) is a statutory body set up by the Indian Union government in accordance to the UGC Act 1956 under Ministry of Human Resource Development.
- The UGC has two primary responsibilities:
- providing funds to educational institutions; and
- coordinating, determining and maintaining standards in institutions of higher education.
Its main functions are:
- promoting and coordinating education in universities,
- determining and maintaining standards for teaching, examination and research in universities,
- framing regulations on minimum standards for education,
- disbursing grants to universities and colleges,
- liaising between the CG, State governments and higher educational institutions, and
- advising the CG and State governments on possible policy measures to improve higher education in India.