HECI To Replace AICTE and UGC: A Bill that aims to create a single regulator for higher education i.e HECI to replace AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) and the UGC (University Grants Commission), is likely to be introduced in the winter session of Parliament.
According to the draft Bill, it proposes to bring almost all areas of higher education including technical, architectural and legal courses under the ambit of a single body i.e Higher Education Commission of India or HECI. However, Medical education will not come under the proposed HECI.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has already prepared draft legislation in this regards which will be placed before the Union Cabinet in October 2019. According to the government, the HECI move “this will help to comprehensively reform the regulatory system of higher education to promote greater autonomy and focus on better academic outcomes”. The new version of the legislation has a proposal to have grant disbursal authority under a new autonomous body that will be created to supervise the doling out of funds to higher education institutions.
AICTE is the official statutory authority for planning, formulation, and maintenance of norms and standards of technical institutes in the country which caters into the fields like engineering, management, polytechnic, architecture and pharma, among others. These functions will now be moved to the new HECI.
UGC is the regulator for universities across the country, provide grants (funds) to institutes and also coordination, determination and maintenance of standards in institutions of higher education.
After the HRD Ministry released the draft Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) Act, 2018 in June last year for public consultation, it had received over 8,000 comments and suggestions from the public and stakeholders.
The HRD Ministry had stated earlier that less government and more governance, separation of grant-related functions, end of inspection raj, powers to enforce compliance with the academic quality standards and to order closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions are some of the highlights of the HECI Act, 2018.
The development regarding the AICTE coming one day after Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairperson, AICTE, said that several reform measures and steps have been taken to improve the overall quality of technical education and revision of curriculum and faculty development programme.
Issue of employability and lack of skills among the graduates from engineering and other technical areas have been an issue of concern for long.
“The HECI will be created by repealing the UGC Act, 1951 and AICTE Act, 1987,” the official said. HECI will be responsible for the quality of academic institutions, maintenance of academic standards and encourage autonomy of good performing educational institutions for free pursuit of knowledge, innovation, skills and entrepreneurship.’ The bill has been prepared after elaborate consultation with states and will be taken to the Cabinet in October,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.
HECI will also look to provide equal and inclusive opportunities to the students for comprehensive growth of higher education and research in the country. It will help India’s higher education sector to be competitive at a global level.
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