Bill to merge AICTE, UGC in final stages | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Bill to merge AICTE, UGC in final stages

New Delhi | ByAmandeep Shukla
Sep 09, 2019 12:16 AM IST

The HRD ministry’s five-year Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP), which was released in June, called for the need to set up a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).

A bill that aims to merge the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to create a single regulator for higher education in the country is in the final stages of preparation and likely to come up before the cabinet next month, according to an official aware of the development.

The official however, refused to share more details about the elements of the bill.(HT image)
The official however, refused to share more details about the elements of the bill.(HT image)

Till now, the UGC regulated the functioning, accreditation and also fund disbursal to 40 central varsities while the AICTE played a similar role for technical institutions. The government has been considering setting up a single regulatory body that would focus on imparting quality education and learning outcomes. The function of fund disbursal would not be a role for such a body.

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“The India Higher Education Commission Bill to replace the UGC and the AICTE has been prepared in consultation with the states. The ministry plans to take it to the cabinet next month,” the official said on condition of anonymity. The official added that the bill is in its final stages.

The official however, refused to share more details about the elements of the bill.

The HRD ministry’s five-year Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP), which was released in June, called for the need to set up a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).

The plan envisaged the HECI as a regulatory body to promote the quality and standards of education by merging the UGC and AICTE.

According to the suggestion of the EQUIP report, the HECI will primarily focus on academic and quality matters related to ensuring learning outcomes, mentoring of institutions, training of teachers and administrators. It would also seek to promote education through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives.

According to the EQUIP report, which HRD officials terms as their five-year implementation plan, the HECI will grant autonomy to best performing higher educational institutions and award them powers to confer degrees.

The disbursal of funds that the UGC presently undertakes will be kept separate from the commission, according to the EQUIP report. “Disbursal of the funds shall be done through an SPV [Special Purpose Vehicle]. The HECI shall provide for comprehensive and holistic growth of higher education and research in a competitive global environment,” the report said.

A bill seeking the formation of a National Research Foundation (NRF) is also ready and expected to be placed before the Union cabinet for approval.

In her budget speech in July, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to the formation of the NRF to fund, promote and coordinate research in the country. “The NRF will assimilate the research grants being given by various ministries independent of each other,” she had said.

“The need to create an umbrella body for the higher education sector has been felt for a long time. However, what kind of relations it has with other bodies including varsities and institutions would define its success. Its role vis-à-vis all other bodies will have to be carefully defined,” said former UGC member Prof Inder Mohan Kapahy.

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