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HRD may give more powers to AICTE

Prakash Kumar, New Delhi, Dec 16, 2013, DHNS: 0:53 IST
The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is contemplating giving All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) a significant role to play in approval of new technical institutions and courses even as the final authority will remain the University Grants Commission (UGC).

The ministry wants that all the applications seeking approval of new technical institutions or programmes should first be examined by the AICTE and the UGC take a decision on them on the basis of the Council’s recommendations.

“The ministry has sought opinion of the Law Ministry,”official sources told Deccan Herald.
The ministry’s effort to make the AICTE relevant in the process of giving approval to new technical colleges and programmes comes about eight months after a Supreme Court verdict stripped the council of its regulatory powers.

The apex court reduced the AICTE to an advisory body in April this year. It held colleges that council did not have the authority to control or regulate professional colleges that were affiliated to universities.

“The role of AICTE vis--vis universities is only advisory, recommendatory and one of providing guidance and has no authority to issue or enforce any sanction by itself,” the court held. The ministry’s move to give the AICTE powers to screen the applications for approval of new institutes and courses indicates that a debate over a proposal to restore the regulatory powers of the AICTE is over. The council may now be back to its advisory role with bigger mandate, so far as regulation of technical institutions is concerned.

The UGC has already come up with draft regulations to take over charge of the AICTE to regulate technical colleges affiliated to varsities across the country, even as an Ordinance seeking to restore the powers of the AICTE, however, continues to remain pending with the Union Cabinet.

As the ministry is gradually moving towards vesting the regulatory powers on the UGC, many private technical institutions have begun opposing the move, saying the higher education regulator had no prior experience in dealing with technical education and vesting of regulatory power into it would turn out be detrimental.

A delegation of the Education Promotion Society of India, an association of private universities, called on HRD Minister Pallam Raju on Monday and shared concerns about the “hasty manner” in which the UGC was “trying to push through” its draft regulations, giving stakeholders very little time to give their feedback.

The delegation members urged the minister to allow existing evaluation system of the AICTE to continue for approval colleges offering technical programme be followed.

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