New committee to help rejig UGC

HRD Ministry to set up the body to submit report in six months

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has constituted a committee which will review the performance of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and suggest measures for its restructuring to make it more effective as a regulatory body. 

The committee will also suggest ways and means to set up a robust accreditation system in the higher education sector, and to revamp the National Assessment and Accreditation Council. The four-member panel, headed by former UGC chairman Hari Gautam, has been asked to submit its report in six months.

Restructuring the UGC was one of the promises that the BJP had made in its Lok Sabha poll manifesto. The move has been initiated with the constitution of the review committee as there was a “feeling” among various quarters that the higher education regulator failed to fulfil its mandate on various counts.

With the increase in the enrolment in higher education, there has been a spurt in the number of private universities across the country. While the UGC has laid down regulations for maintenance of standards in these institutions, the regulations are implemented more in breach rather than compliance, noted a senior official of the Ministry while issuing order for constituting the committee on July 30.

“A case in point is a recent instance reported about a private university, which was selling research and PhD degrees. The UGC has no mechanism to ensure follow-up on regulatory instructions and enforce their compliance. This inadequacy is on account of the limitations in its structure and processes. These limitations can only be overcome through a thorough review and amending the UGC Act, 1956,” he said.

The HRD Ministry has realised that the UGC has not been able to do justice to its mandate with the “massification” of higher education. Its functioning continues to be oriented more to giving grants rather than regulation and enforcement of standards.

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