A committee of academicians constituted to suggest ways to improve tertiary education in the state has called for developing a framework for the state-level assessment of private universities in the light of different academic parameters and processes.
Himachal Pradesh Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Commission had set up a panel of experts earlier this month to suggest ways to improve the quality of tertiary education and create good benchmarks for private higher education in the state.
The panel met here on Friday evening for the first time and suggested that a framework of regulatory norms be developed, taking into consideration various processes, including admission intake criteria, teaching, learning, staff development, examination and evaluation system, research and governance.
Committee chairperson Sarojini Ganju Thakur, who is also the chairperson of the commission, presented an overview of the activities being performed by the commission as per its mandate, besides talking about the issues arising out of enforcement of regulatory norms.
Given that the central regulatory bodies have a limited outreach and control over implementation of norms in early stages of establishment of private higher educational institutions, especially universities, the committee emphasised the critical role of a state-level regulator not only for adherence to national regulatory framework but also to facilitate creation of a learner-centric environment conducive for quality education and maintenance thereof.
The committee stressed the need for commission to start disseminating critical information on academic parameters of various institutions relevant from the point of view of quality of education for students, parents and general public.
The committee appreciated the commission's efforts for making its presence felt in effective regulations, which is visible from the improvements that have taken place in standards of private higher education in Himachal especially vis-a-vis other neighboring states.
The panel includes Dr Furquan Qamar, former vice-chancellor of the Central University, Kangra, who is also secretary general of the Association of Indian Universities; Prof Chetan Singh, director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla; RL Sharma, vice-chancellor of the HP Technical University at Hamirpur; Rajnish Srivastva, director of the National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur; and PK Ahluwalia, dean of planning at Himachal Pradesh University at Shimla and Sunil Sharma, an HPPERC member.
There are 252 private educational institutions across the state, including 17 private universities. Besides, there are 20 polytechnic colleges, 83 education colleges and 25 pharmacy, nursing and dental colleges.