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LUCID MAINS CURRENT AFFAIRS 2018

  1. HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION OF INDIA BILL, 2018

WHY IN NEWS

The Ministry of Human Resource Development released a draft legislation called the Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill, 2018 to repeal the UGC Act, 1956

WHY SCRAP UGC?

More preoccupation with fund disbursement to institutes and inadequate concentration on other key areas such as mentoring institutes, focusing on research and other quality measures required in the sector

COMMITTEES THAT SUGGESTED REVAMP OF UGC WITH AN INDEPENDENT REGULATOR

  • The National Knowledge Commission (2006)
  • Yashpal Committee Report -The Committee on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education (2009)
  • The UGC Review Committee in 2014
  • NITI Aayog’s Higher Education Action Agenda

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GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF HECI

Less government and more governance the government aims to downsize the scope of the regulator to ensure non-interference in the management issues of the educational institutions

Separation of grant function the grant functions to be carried out by the HRD Ministry, unlike the UGC till now. Thereby allowing HECI to focus on academic matters only

End of inspection Raj by bringing in transparent public disclosures, merit-based decision making on matters regarding standards and quality in higher education.

Focus on academic quality. Strict adherence to academics and wielding power to enforce quality standards

CRITICISM

CONCEPT OF AUTONOMY

Concurrence of HECI prior to course and syllabi design restricts the freedom of a university’s Board of Studies. Also empowering the Centre to remove the HECI’s chairperson and vicechairperson for reasons including “moral turpitude” will again curtail the regulator’s autonomy, which in turn will impact the autonomy of universities

FORMULAIC EXPECTATIONS

Expected leaning outcomes on same metric or the one-size –fits all approach brings in disparity between the regional and metropolitan institutions

NON- DIVESTMENT OF FINANCIAL POWERS

Is likely to promote bargaining for funds which may be subject to interest of political powers and ideological manipulation and corruption

LACK OF DEBATE ON TOPIC

Lesser time frame to arrive at a decision of this magnitude is a greater curb on dissent, freedom of expression of individuals and institutions respectively

PENAL PROVISIONS

Is an extraordinary power without any checks and balances? Arbitrary closure or threats can deprive students of the limited education that they can access

TEACHER REPRESENTATION

Reduced to an ineffectual minority of just two while the overall membership increased from ten to twelve.

CENTRALISATION

Overriding powers of State government and Universities in academic functioning by central government

HIKE IN FEES

Non-financial support or incentive is likely to make a steady increase in fees to raise fund and profiteering

WAY FORWARD

  • Bottom- up approach – Education is a continuum from lower to higher. Higher education is reflective of the quality of lower education.
  • Respect and acknowledgement of Institutional diversity and plurality will ensure distinctiveness and relevance of the idea of University
  • Uphold Institutional standards by facilitating academic autonomy and criterion to academia stakeholders.
  • Minimal regulation and performance-based provision of funds