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NCERT eyes upgrade to central university

delhi Updated: Dec 03, 2010 01:17 IST
Charu Sudan Kasturi
Charu Sudan Kasturi
Hindustan Times
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The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) may soon offer degrees as a centrally-funded university under a proposal to upgrade India’s apex school education policy agency half a century after its birth.

The human resource development ministry has set up a panel of academic experts to advise the government on the proposal to convert the NCERT into a university, top government sources have confirmed to HT. The NCERT could alternatively be awarded deemed university status, the sources said.

The expert panel is headed by professor Goverdhan Mehta, former director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and currently a national research fellow. Former Indian Council of Philosophical Research head Mrinal Miri is also on the panel, which will evaluate the proposal and feasibility of the project, sources said.

“The NCERT has the potential to become a top research university. If the plan takes off, this could be a perfect golden jubilee gift for the NCERT,” a source said. The NCERT was started in 1961 and has since then been the country’s top policy-making agency on school education, research and pedagogy.

It produces the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) that outlines the direction of school education to be followed across the country. A similar NCF for teacher education is the Bible that teacher training schools must follow. The NCERT also conducts research across education subjects. NCERT regional centres offer B.Ed and M.Ed courses.

But the NCERT cannot itself offer degrees for these courses. It relies on partnerships with state government universities at present to offer degrees. Only institutions established under acts of Parliament or state legislatures, and deemed universities can offer degrees. The NCERT is merely a registered society.

This inability to award degrees has hampered the NCERT’s growth, several academicians have argued over the past few years. The idea of converting the NCERT into a university was discussed within the Council at least twice before, during the tenure of past Directors JS Rajput and Krishna Kumar, sources said. It has however never before been taken up by the HRD ministry.

NCERT sources argue that the absence of a university tag also hurts their ability to collaborate with top global universities and research centres. Widening scope