Teachers bodies not game on replacing UGC

Prominent university teachers bodies have objected to the Centre's proposal to replace the University Grants Commission with a new regulatory body and take control over the commission's grant functions, saying the move would take away the autonomy of the universities.

Prominent university teachers bodies have objected to the Centre's proposal to replace the University Grants Commission with a new regulatory body and take control over the commission's grant functions, saying the move would take away the autonomy of the universities.

While All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisation (AIFUCTO) is gearing up to hold “phase-wise” nationwide protests against the move, the Federation of the Central Universities' Teachers Association (FEDCUTTA) has called meeting of its members next week to discuss the issue and submit its response to the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry on the proposal.

AIFUCTO has not yet finalised the dates for holding protests.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry on Wednesday came up with a draft bill to repeal the UGC Act 1956 to establish a Higher Education Council of India (HECI) in place of the UGC, saying the move is aimed at improving the academic standards in the country's higher education sector.

The ministry also proposed to take over the grant functions of the UGC with the establishment of the proposed HECI, saying the new regulatory body will focus on academic matters only.

“We strongly oppose the government's move. The HRD ministry has brought this bill to replace the UGC with a new regulatory body in a hurry without having any debate or discussion with the higher education institutions, academicians and teachers because this is the last year of this government. We condemn it and reject it,” AIFUCTO general secretary Arun Kumar told DH when asked for his comment.

Expressing strong objection to the HRD ministry's move, FEDCUTA president Rajib Ray said that the transfer of grant function from the regulatory body to the HRD ministry would take away the autonomy of the universities.

“We will decide our course of action after our meeting. We will also submit our response to the HRD ministry's proposal,” he said.

He accepted that there was a need to bring reforms in the functioning of the UGC.

“But the way the government wants to replace the UGC with a new regulatory body and take over the grant functions of the commission with the establishment of the HECI will turn out to be counterproductive. The move will lead to the bureaucratization of the system,” Ray added.

The HRD Ministry has invited comments and suggestion from “all stakeholders” including teachers, students and educationists on the draft bill by July 7, saying that the central government will consider their response while giving a final shape to the HECI (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act, 1956) Bill, 2018.

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Teachers bodies not game on replacing UGC

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