UGC to go; Higher Education Comm of India to take over

UGC to go; Higher Education Comm of India to take over

The Centre has moved in to replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) with a new regulatory body which would have powers to "enforce" compliance with its regulatory provisions and order closure of "substandard and bogus" institutions.

Non-compliance with the directives or regulations of the proposed Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) by any university or college would result in slapping of fine.

On failure to deposit the fine, heads and members of the management of such institutions would be liable for prosecution under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which may lead to a maximum three years imprisonment.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has come up with a draft bill to repeal the UGC Act 1956 and establish the HECI. The move is aimed at improving the academic standards in the country's higher education sector.

The HECI (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act, 1956) Bill, 2018 will be applicable to all universities, set up under a law by Parliament or State legislature, and the institutions which have been granted deemed-to-be-university status.

OCIs eligible

An Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) having requisite qualifications can be appointed as the chairman of the proposed HECI, apart from any other eligible Indian citizen, according to the draft bill.

The central government will appoint the HECI chairman, vice chairman and 12 other members.

The Cabinet Secretary will head the search-cum-selection committee for recommending a panel of names for the post of HECI chairman. The same committee will also recommend a panel of names for the appointment of the vice chairman. This committee will have HECI chairperson as its member.

Human Resource Development minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday invited comments and suggestions from all educationists and other stakeholders on the draft bill, by July 7, 2018, 5 pm.

14-member body

Secretaries of the HRD ministry's higher education department, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship ministry and Department of Science and Technology will be the members of the HECI, representing the central government.

The chairmen of All India Council for Technical Education and national Council for Teacher Education will also be members. Two members of the HECI will be the heads of  accreditation bodies.

The 14-member HECI will also have two serving vice chancellors of reputed universities, two serving professors and “one doyen of Industry” as its members.

The HECI will also have an 'Advisory Council' to be headed by the Union HRD minister. It will comprise chairperson or vice-chairpersons of all State Councils for Higher Education as its members.