Govt proposes to replace UGC with new commission

The new Higher Education Commission of India Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session. Photo: Mint

The new Higher Education Commission of India Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday unveiled the draft of a bill to replace higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) with a Higher Education Commission.

The new commission to be established through an Act will not have grant-making authority, will promote reduced inspection system and will focus more on quality outcome at universities and colleges.

Human resource development (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar, who claimed this is a key education reform, said the new body will be more representational. Its board will have senior bureaucrats from the ministries of HRD, skills and entrepreneurship, and science and technology, in a way ending the monopoly of HRD ministry in regulating higher education.

“The draft Act is in accordance with the commitment of the government for reforming the regulatory systems that provide more autonomy to higher educational institutes to promote excellence and facilitate holistic growth of the education system,” Javadekar said in a tweet.

He said the new Act will separate grant-making functions, end inspection raj, focus on academic quality and empower the new commission to enforce quality issues.

According to the draft bill, university and college managements found wanting and violating penalty imposed by the commission “shall be liable for prosecution as per procedure laid down under the Criminal Procedure Code and may be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years”.

The new body will specify learning outcomes for colleges and universities, prescribe teaching, assessment, research standards.

UGC reform was part of the BJP’s general election manifesto in 2014. To be sure, a similar restructuring was discussed and promoted by the previous United Progressive Alliance government but could not become a law due to lack of support from the parliament.

Over the last four years, the HRD ministry has deliberated on several models like a single regulator for higher education by merging UGC, National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE); however, the plans were not taken forward.

“This Act provides for establishing the Higher Education Commission of India repealing the University Grants Commission Act, 1956,” said the draft bill which is open for public feedback till 7 July.

“Whereas for promoting uniform development of quality of education in higher educational institutions, there is a need for creation of a Body that lays down uniform standards, and ensures maintenance of the same through systematic monitoring and promotion, Whereas the existing regulatory structure as reflected by the mandate given to University Grants Commission required redefinition based on the changing priorities of higher education and allow its growth,” underlines the draft bill on need for a change.

The new commission shall consist of a chairperson, vice chairperson and 12 members to be appointed by the central government. The secretary of the commission will act as the member-secretary. Of the 12 members, three members will represent union government namely: secretary of higher education, secretary of ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship and secretary, department of science and technology. Besides, there will be an “industry doyen” among the board members.

[“Source-livemint”]

Govt proposes to replace UGC with new commission

The new Higher Education Commission of India Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session. Photo: Mint

The new Higher Education Commission of India Act is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the monsoon session. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday unveiled the draft of a bill to replace higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) with a Higher Education Commission.

The new commission to be established through an Act will not have grant-making authority, will promote reduced inspection system and will focus more on quality outcome at universities and colleges.

Human resource development (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar, who claimed this is a key education reform, said the new body will be more representational. Its board will have senior bureaucrats from the ministries of HRD, skills and entrepreneurship, and science and technology, in a way ending the monopoly of HRD ministry in regulating higher education.

“The draft Act is in accordance with the commitment of the government for reforming the regulatory systems that provide more autonomy to higher educational institutes to promote excellence and facilitate holistic growth of the education system,” Javadekar said in a tweet.

He said the new Act will separate grant-making functions, end inspection raj, focus on academic quality and empower the new commission to enforce quality issues.

According to the draft bill, university and college managements found wanting and violating penalty imposed by the commission “shall be liable for prosecution as per procedure laid down under the Criminal Procedure Code and may be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years”.

The new body will specify learning outcomes for colleges and universities, prescribe teaching, assessment, research standards.

UGC reform was part of the BJP’s general election manifesto in 2014. To be sure, a similar restructuring was discussed and promoted by the previous United Progressive Alliance government but could not become a law due to lack of support from the parliament.

Over the last four years, the HRD ministry has deliberated on several models like a single regulator for higher education by merging UGC, National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE); however, the plans were not taken forward.

“This Act provides for establishing the Higher Education Commission of India repealing the University Grants Commission Act, 1956,” said the draft bill which is open for public feedback till 7 July.

“Whereas for promoting uniform development of quality of education in higher educational institutions, there is a need for creation of a Body that lays down uniform standards, and ensures maintenance of the same through systematic monitoring and promotion, Whereas the existing regulatory structure as reflected by the mandate given to University Grants Commission required redefinition based on the changing priorities of higher education and allow its growth,” underlines the draft bill on need for a change.

The new commission shall consist of a chairperson, vice chairperson and 12 members to be appointed by the central government. The secretary of the commission will act as the member-secretary. Of the 12 members, three members will represent union government namely: secretary of higher education, secretary of ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship and secretary, department of science and technology. Besides, there will be an “industry doyen” among the board members.

UGC warning to Bhimrao Ambedkar University faculty on discrimination against SC, ST students

BBAU authorities have been asked to  develop a page on the university website for complaints of caste discrimination against SC/ST students and also make available a complaint register at the registrar’s office.

Lucknow: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked officials and faculty members of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU) to desist from any act of discrimination against scheduled caste (SC) nd scheduled tribe (ST) students on grounds of their social origin.

BBAU authorities were also asked to develop a page on the university website for such complaints of caste discrimination against SC/ST students and also make available a complaint register at the registrar’s office.

BBAU has 50% seats reserved for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students.

UGC under secretary Madhu Verma in her order said if any such incident came to the notice of the authorities, action should be taken against the erring officials/faculty members promptly.

The order said the university should ensure that no official, faculty members indulge in any kind of discrimination against any community or category of students.

The university may constitute a committee to look into the discriminating complaints received from SC/ST students, teachers and non teaching staff, the UGC order reads.

The university was asked to advise the official/faculty members that they should be more sensitive while dealing with such incidents of caste discrimination and send an action taken report to UGC within 30 days.

There have been a number of number occasions when students have made allegations of caste discrimination and lodged complaints.

Last year in September, a Dalit student studying forensic science, Sumit Kumar, who was suffering from liver cirrhosis, was allegedly forced to vacate his room by officials on charges of beating up a professor.

“The university officials threw out all my medicines, ultrasound reports and other belongings without showing any mercy. They were so heartless that they did not even bother to inform me. They simply uploaded the order of my rustication (with seven others) and threw away all my belongings from the room in my absence,” Kumar told Hindustan Times.

The university administration, however, has denied the charge.

BBAU was in the news on January 2016 when a few Dalit students raised slogans against PM Modi during its convocation ceremony over his silence on Hyderabad University PhD student Rohith Vemula’s suicide.

It was here at BBAU that Modi spoke about Vemula’s death for the first time saying his death “pained” him and that “Mother India has lost one of her sons”.

 

 

[“source-thestatesman”]

UGC asks varsities to set up students counseling system

The UGC letter said that the counseling system should bridge formal as well as communicative gaps between the students and the institution at large.

The UGC letter said that the counseling system should bridge formal as well as communicative gaps between the students and the institution at large.

New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has written to all universities to put in place a “students counseling system” for redressal of problems and challenges faced by students in the backdrop of massive outrage over the suicide by a Dalit research scholar in Hyderabad University.

This system should be interactive and target-oriented, involving students, teachers and parents to address common student concerns ranging from anxiety, stress, fear of change and failure to homesickness and other academic worries, UGC secretary Jaspal Singh Sandhu said in a letter to vice chancellors of all universities.

Referring to the UGC guidelines on safety of students on and off campuses, he said that according to them all higher education institutions have to “mandatorily” put in place a broad-based “students counseling system”. These guidelines he said have already been communicated to universities last year, he said.

The UGC letter said that the counseling system should bridge formal as well as communicative gaps between the students and the institution at large. Teacher counselors, trained to act as the guardians of students at the college level, should remain in close touch with the students allotted to them (batch of 25 students) throughout the year, cater to their emotional and intellectual needs and guide them to move up in their career at regular interval of time, the UGC secretary said.

Teacher counselors can coordinate with wardens of hostels and exchange personal details of students, academic record and behaviour patterns for prompt preemptive or corrective action, he added. He further said that in the students counseling centres set up in universities and colleges affiliated to them, services of a trained psychologist may be used as and when required.

The suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University earlier this month has triggered much outrage after which the human resources development ministry had announced that it would take steps including sensitising administrations. In two other letters, the UGC has asked universities to observe 30 January as martyrs day and celebrate ‘Matribhasha Diwas’ on 21 February every year.

[“source-Livemint”]