In what could be one of the biggest education reforms in recent years, the NDA government is all set to replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) with a single higher education regulator, which has been tentatively named Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency (HEERA). The decision to scrap UGC and AICTE was taken in the month of March in a meeting on education chaired by the Prime Minister.
What it means?
It’s an important decision that will have far-reaching effects on the Indian education sector. Here are some of the expected benefits of replacing UGC and AICTE with single body –
- It will put an end to all overlaps in the jurisdiction.
- It will help in eliminating the regulatory provisions that have become outmoded and are no longer useful.
- It will put an end to the inspector raj. In other words, this move will help in reducing the unnecessary and excessive regulations that often interfere with the functioning of educational institutes. This, in turn, will provide more autonomy to educational institutes.
- It will bring more harmony and cooperation among educational institutes.
- It will become easier for the education regulator to take decisions on granting the funds to educational institutes.
The decision to replace the UGC and AICTE with a single education regulator is something that was in the offing for several years now. The Yashpal Committee and the National Knowledge Commission under the UPA rule had made the same suggestion. Similarly, the Hari Gautam Committee set up by the current government has made the similar recommendation. However, the decision to scrap the two apex education bodies remained in a limbo for many years. Recently, the HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar had hinted that a decision may be announced soon when he acknowledged that the AICTE and UGC have become ‘stumbling blocks’ in the Indian education sector.
Most education experts are of the opinion that the idea of keeping the technical and nontechnical education separate has become outdated. In light of all these factors, the decision to replace the UGC and AICTE with HEERA seems like a step in the right direction. However, the process of scrapping the UGC and AICTE will be tedious and time-consuming.