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EDITORIAL's DNA with ASHISH MALIK Reform 101: On higher education
unacademy ABOUT ME: Ashish Malik (B.E. Civil) Appeared for UPSC CSE Mains twice (2016,2017) Freelancer and Faculty of GS Follow me on UNACADEMY at: https://unacademy.com/user/AshishMalik-8996
Context . In a landmark decision, a Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill 2018 (HECI) which seeks to repeal UGC Act and provides for setting up of Higher Education Commission of India has been prepared by the Ministry of HRD The focus of Higher Education Commission of India will be on improving academic standards and the quality of Higher Education.
Is UGC a failure? e Since its inception, the University Grants Commission (UGC has been witness to a spectacular growth in higher education. The number of universities has multiplied 40 times over and student enrolment has increased a hundred-fold. However, the UGC has been a silent spectator to the languishing quality of education in many of these institutions o Few recent policies including increase in teaching hours of the faculty and its subsequent cancellation, the implementation of the choice-based credit semester system in Delhi University, and the decision to discontinue UGC non-NET scholarship for MPhil and PhD unpopular. students and its abandonment after protests, have been Its policies also suffer from opposite issues tn per regulation afai tver tego ataome trically opposite issues
(HECI) Bill 2018 Draft The transformation of the regulatory set up is guided by the following principles: Less Government and more Governance:-No more interference in the management issues of the educatio institutions. The grant functions would be carried out by the HRD Ministry, and the HECI would focus only on academic matters e Regulation is done through transparent public disclosures, merit-based decision making on matters regarding standards and quality in higher education. HECI is tasked with the mandate of improving acad standards with specific focus on learniing outcomes Powers to enforce: The Regulator will have powers to enforce compliance to the academic quality standar
Conclusion Reform should, therefore, lead to the creation of an agency that has the intellectual corpus to help universities and colleges adapt, and the vision to plan for public funding in the emerging spheres of activity Th draft legislation to weed out degree ere is a positive attempt in the mills and dubious training institutions, with a provision for prosecution and imprisonment of management officials who defy the H CI. It is important to remember that students from socially and economically disadvantaged sections continue to face disadvantages in higher education. The increase in suicides among students coming from these sections is alarming. The educational spaces that remain equal and socially just should be kept away from the forces of evil market. . 1 . Yet, this will take political will, given that over the past three decades laissez faire expansion of higher education has been pursued purely for commercial motives
Way forward .The commission also have the power to order the closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions. This should be implemented in letter and spirit. Currently, UGC releases the names of bogus institutions on its website to inform the public but cannot take any action. The draft Act will have to reform the regulatory systems, provide more autonomy to higher education institutes to promote excellence and facilitate holistic growth of the education system. The transformation is based upon minimum government & maximum governance separation of grant functions, end of inspection raj, focus on academic quality and powers to enforce.