New Delhi: Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) while condemning the Modi government's decision to scrap University Grants Commission (UGC) and replace it with Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) said the move will only lead to more interference in education sector.
"The new body will only increase government's direct interference into education institutions", DUTA said in a statement issued soon after the reports came that the Modi government is planning to replace UGC with HECI.
"It is also not clear how shifting grant functions to the ministry will result in less interference. On the contrary, we fear that it will result in an increased direct interference by the Governments", the DUTA reiterated.
The DUTA statrement was issued after the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in a letter posted on its official website, invited suggestions and comments from stakeholders on Repeal of UGC Act with the Higher Education Commission of India Act 2018. The new act will replace UGC Act 1956 and will shift the grant distribution power to the Ministry of HRD. The new body will be vested with power to ensure academic standards of institutions.
The Act will have powers to revoke authorization to grant degrees in case the standards are not maintained. And in case, an institution disregards HECI’s order on a penalty or closure, the administrators could face criminal prosecution, resulting in a jail sentence up to three years.
As per the draft, all universities including state-owned ones will have to get authorization from HECI for granting degrees, and also fulfil conditions regarding academic curricula and infrastructure for this. “This will do away with substandard universities which are operating from one or two rooms in some parts of the country,” said R Subrahmanyam, secretary, higher education, HRD ministry.
The draft has also made accreditation mandatory for all institutions; those with failing to do so by 2022 face the threat of closure.
The draft has been billed as "one of the biggest move to reform education sector". However, the HRD Ministry has a given a time of just about ten days to stakeholders and the general public to give comments and suggestions on the proposal.
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