In a bid to overhaul higher education in India the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has drafted an act to repeal the UGC Act 1951 and set up the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). The HECI will not subsume all regulatory bodies as envisaged earlier, it’ll only focus on academy matters and monetary grants would come under the purview of the ministry, as per the draft.

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar after posting the new draft on the ministry’s website asked all educationalists, stakeholders and the general public to give feedback before 5 pm on July 7 on the draft.

Under the new commission, the regulator for the first time will have powers to enforce academic quality standards. It will also have the authority to order the closure of sub-standard institutes.

The HECI Act 2018 is expected to be tabled in Parliament in the Upcoming monsoon session. Given only a year for the Modi government’s tenure, it’s going to be challenging to get parliamentary passage for the new legislation.

As per the draft, HECI will not subsume the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) as originally proposed.

The new Higher Education Commission will have 12 other members appointed by the central government, apart from the chairperson and vice-president. The secretaries of higher education, the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship and department of science and technology, as well as the chairpersons of AICTE and NCTE and two serving vice chancellors, would also be among the members of the commission.

As per the draft, the commission would take steps to improve the quality of academic institutions and specify learning oucomes for cources of study in higher education. The commission would put in place a new accredition system for evaluation of academic cources.

Apart from these, the commission would order those institutions to be closed that fail to adhere to the minimum standards as long as it doesn’t affect the interests of students. 

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