Centre is planning to replace statutory body University Grant Commission (UGC) with a new body named "Higher Education Commission of India." A draft named "Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Act, 2018" is presented in public domain and is open for suggestions from all stakeholders.
Why a new body is needed ?
The UGC is preoccupied with disbursing funds and is unable to concentrate on mentoring higher education institutes, focus on research, and implement other quality measures required in the education sector.
What is Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) ?
Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) seeks to replace UGC, where the proposed body will focus more on quality education while funding powers is been taken away from it, the body will also have power to close down bogus institutes.
The plan is to separate education quality and funding power of higher education. New Higher Education Commission of India will be responsible to ensure quality education while MHRD (Ministry of Human resource development) or any other new body will take care of funding universities and colleges.
As anticipated earlier, there is no plan to merge all higher education regulators into a agency called (Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency. Other regulatory bodies like AICTE and NCTE will also be reformed in similar manner.
UGS don't have powers to enforce compliance, it just have authority to list bogus institutes and not recognise their degrees. The new body will have powers to enforce compliance to the academic quality standards and the power to order closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions, the non-compliance could result in fines or even a jail sentence.
The composition of new body HECI will comprise a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and 12 other members, an eminent academics and a prominent person of industry.
Implications with HECI
As proposed under the draft bill, the new body can take away higher education from the State's list since financial powers would now stay with the Central government.