The HRD Ministry's plan for setting up a commission that will replace existing regulatory bodies like UGC and AICTE is understood to have got support from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The Ministry made a presentation before the Prime Minister on August 28 with regard to the proposal for starting National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER).
Higher Education Secretary R P Agrawal in the presence of HRD Minister Kapil Sibal made the presentation.
Officials said the Prime Minister was inclined to the proposal and even suggested setting up of a task force to see how to go about it. The task force will also coordinate between states and other wings of the government on the issue.
As per the proposal, the NCHER will subsume the existing regulatory bodies like University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), Distance Education Council (DEC) and National Council for Teachers' Education (NCTE).
The concept of NCHER was recommended by the government-appointed committee on 'Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education', headed by Prof Yashpal.
As per the proposal, the NCHER will act as the apex regulatory body in the field of higher education in India and create enabling environment for universities to become self-regulatory bodies.
It will be the premier advisory body to the Central and state governments on policy issues on higher education. The proposed body will prepare and present a report on the state of higher education in India every year to Parliament. Yashpal committee has suggested that the proposed body will serve as a think tank on higher education policy in the country and provide a vision on higher education to be reflected in the curriculum framework, set benchmarks for universities and compare institutions globally.
The proposed commission would create norms, processes and structures for ensuring quality and accreditation of universities. It will establish transparent norms for entry and exit of institutions.
The proposed NCHER will develop mechanism for funding for universities and other institutions. It will provide the mechanism for national database on higher education.
Besides, the commission will create an environment in academic institutions that will encourage young people to take up academia as a career.
The Central Advisory Board of Education, the apex advisory body on education in the country, has already approved the proposal for setting up of the NCHER. The HRD Ministry has prepared a draft bill on it.