Explained: How Central Govt is planning to overhaul Higher Education System

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The government has come up with an 11-point agenda to boost quality of education and autonomy of institutes under the Centre’s short-term measures meant to improve UGC and AICTE’s regulatory framework.

Government’s policy think-tank Niti Aayog in collaboration with the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has chalked up a plan for implementing the new proposals, a report by the Economic Times said.

Earlier this month the Modi government announced that the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) would be replaced by a singular regulatory body called Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency (HEERA). In the interim period, before that lengthy process of constituting HEERA is completed, existing rules of UGC and AICTE are to be amended as needed.

Check: UGC NET Paper 1 – 6000 MCQs + 11 Years QAs

The new 11-point agenda is going to amend rules regarding foreign collaboration, qualification for PhD, eligibility for autonomy of institutions, online courses among other things.

Below are few key takeaways from the things that are soon to be implemented.

Autonomy and accreditation

Accreditation will be linked to autonomy for institutes. Higher accreditation dependent on performance, infrastructure and other components will result into higher levels of autonomy. Institutions will have autonomy regarding course designing, fees, administrative framework etc. Three gradations of category I, II, and III have been decided based on assessment scores.

The new rules will also recognize accreditation from national and global agencies under regulations from UGC. Previously, only National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) could accredit educational institutes.

Foreign collaboration

Although joint degrees with foreign institutions are to be allowed, rules for foreign collaborations have been made more stringent. Collaboration will be granted with foreign institutions having the highest grade of accreditation in their homeland or securing a position within the top 500 institutions as per reputed global ranking systems. Indian institutes not qualifying for Category I accreditation will face more rigorous approval procedures.

Technical institutes do not fall under this purview.

Check: UGC Regulations 2016 : Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of M.PHIL./PH.D Degrees

Limited inspection

To put an end to the red tape inspection history of UGC, inspection of institutions has been limited to the start of new academic operations, programmes, or departments.

NET mandatory for PhD

Citing low quality of PhD admissions, the government’s proposal wants to extend the filter of NET examination—meant for college and university lectureship and awarding of Junior Research Fellowship—as pre-requisite for determining PhD enrollment.

News Courtesy: Money Control (link)


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