Major higher education reforms bills in LS
Government's initiatives on higher education reforms will be put on fast track as four bills, including one on allowing entry of foreign universities to the country, are expected to be introduced in Lok Sabha on Monday.
The other bills relate to checking of malpractices by educational institutions, setting up of a national accreditation agency and having specialised educational tribunals to adjudicate disputes in campuses.
According to the list of business slated for Monday, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal is expected to move the four bills.
The Cabinet has cleared the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill on March 15. The bill seeks to allow entry and operation of foreign universities in the country.
The major provisions of the bill are conditions like Rs 50 crore as corpus fund to be deposited by the aspiring institute to be allowed to operate.
Each institute will have to be registered with the University Grants Commission (UGC) or any regulatory body in place at the time of registration.
The bill has a provision under which the government can reject an application of a university if it feels that the venture will have an adverse impact on national security.
Provisions of Section 25 of the Companies Act will be applicable for the foreign institutes. Under this provision, they cannot take the profit back, but will have to spend the amount for further expansion of the institutions here.
The bill was hanging fire for over four years owing to opposition from various quarters, including the Left parties, over certain provisions. Last year, it was referred to a Committee of Secretaries which brought modifications to some provisions which existed earlier.
Sibal will also introduce Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and University Bill, which was approved by the Cabinet in March.
Duping students by charging capitation fee or failing to keep promise of quality education could attract a fine of upto Rs 50 lakh for errant institutes or imprisonment upto three years for its administrators, it says.
The bill seeks to consider such practices as criminal or civil offences depending on the nature of the crime.
Sibal will move the Educational Tribunal Bill which provides for setting up of tribunals to settle all types of disputes, including any type of malpractice or harassment of students.
The fourth one is the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill. The proposed agency will assess and accredit institutions of higher education to ensure high standards.