Connect with us
http://www.mvpthemes.com/zoxnews/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/zox-leader.png, http://www.mvpthemes.com/zoxnews/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/zox-leader.png

Editorial

Will HECI Be The New Face Of The Higher Education In India ?

Published

on

In one of the leading education system of the world, India namely the third largest Higher Education system can probably go under major change as the Modi Government recently announced its decision to scrap the University Grants Commission ( UGC ) and set up a fresh legislation called Higher Education Commission of India ( HECI )

Be it the upcoming elections or say it the need of the hour, But the Modi government is quite set to bring change. Maybe “Acche Din” are coming soon with this change. The end of the June this year did not only bring the end to scorching heat but also a prospect to end the flaws in our Education sector. The Modi Government and The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry on 28th June announced their decision to formulate a Single Regulatory body for The Indian Higher Education called Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) repealing The University Grant Commission (UGC) Act, 1951. This proposal is all set to pilot in the upcoming monsoon session of the Parliament.

And before this bill gets passed or not considering all the opposition, let’s have a closer look into the matters that will decide the fate of the Indian Education Sector.

HECI - The industry before HECI

Into Yesteryears: A little about the past

Have you heard the quote “Try and try until you qualify “? It seems the situation is the same in this case too. The decision to scrap UGC  first came to the table back in 2009, the then HRD Minister Kapil Sibal proposed to create a new regulatory body called National Commission For Higher Education and Research (NCHER). And like many proposals that the Indian Government has failed to apply, much didn’t happen at that time.

Later in 2013, The Central government restarted this debate when it intended to create NCHER under The Higher Education and Research (HE&R) Bill, 2011. But before the center could draft the bill, The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) decided to ask the opinions of other state governments which seemed to be opposed by the idea. Despite this, the dire need for an overarching regulatory body in higher education is felt again and again.

The Current government previously in 2016 also suggested this idea. At that time, the Prime Minister of India and Niti Aayog supported the draft ‘Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency (HEERA). It was circulated and discussed, in May meeting also occurred in Mussoorie. This Meeting was red flagged by other regulators which HEERA was going to replace .

It’s truly said that History repeats itself as the same situation is happening right now. Though HECI will not replace All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) but the AICTE Act and the NCTE Act will have to be modified to fall in tune with the new HECI Act. The AICTE at the beginning of the year revised it curriculum with visions of making it more evolved with mandatory internships, engaging students with laboratory assessments and more focus towards practical training.The AICTE and NCTE raised objections stating that if the regulators are already making changes then there is no need for an entirely new body.

Why is this change a necessity now?

Even though this issue didn’t proceed to this level, but every time the need for a single regulatory body was felt by many. The UGC and its regulatory regime have been criticised by a number of committees and their reports. Several committees like the Prof Yash Pal committee and the National Knowledge Commission of the UPA era and the Hari Gautam committee in the Modi regime have also recommended for a body like HEERA.

This is due to the fact that over the year the progress of the education sector has been very restricting compared to the Global Standards.

The UGC has been busy with granting funds instead of promoting the better level of Higher Education in India, which was the sole purpose of UGC formation.

HECI – What is it?

The  Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has decided to revamp the UGC into a single higher education regulatory body called Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). The main focus of HECI will be to set higher academic standards by implementing new plans and research and ensure that they undergo instead of giving grants.

It will also be given certain penal powers like to order the closure of institutes that violate the set norms or charge fines on institutes wherever required and also a provision for imprisonment where necessary. The UGC didn’t have any powers like these which made it handicapped at times, hindering to take any major actions or decisions against fake institutions. The set guidelines for HECI are yet to be defined.

The HECI is set to be governed by a chairperson and vice-chairperson selected by a committee which will include the Cabinet Secretary and the Higher Education Secretary. There also will be the panel having Twelve other members, including various ministers, two serving V-C’s, and industry doyen and two professors. And if for any policy the Centre and HECI have any dispute then the decision of The Central Government prevails.

How is it different?

The HECI will be the new reform, a better version, a new face and a new avatar of UGC.

It has different aims, focuses, and powers with it. It will not give grants like UGC instead this power will now be vested with HRD Ministry. This is due to many government committees pointing out how often the Grant giving the function of the UGC allowed over regulation, therefore, decreasing the quality of Indian Higher Education System.

A single Higher Education regulator will help in better management as it won’t have regulatory issues over the precedence of the presiding Higher Education Systems, hence doing away with the overlaps and creating an environment concentrating on the nurturing of the prevailing Higher education systems into excellence. Despite this, the Leading Academicians of India feels that the government is trying to interfere in the education sector. They also believe if such changed are to be made then it should be the Academicians who take such decisions.

The HECI won’t be providing any financial aid so that it could just focus on the Academics.

Into Future: How will it help?

A single body will ensure that it removes the duplicity of regulatory tasks and the overlap of jurisdiction will also be nullified. Therefore, this will also give some clarity in the higher education system and give more space for development and change

It won’t just give an administrative ease but this change can transform the education sector of India. Many institutes have been given granted funds by UGC continuously and the concern shifted from the academic need to governance needs.

If HECI comes into existence after all the struggles and is able to break through the UGC mould then it can play a major role in strengthening the Higher Education System of India. And benefit not just the domestic students but students from all around the globe. Despite this we cannot predict the drawbacks it will have but one thing is sure that the increasing interference of the government into the Higher Education will lead to a major conflict of opinions and decisions between the government and the leading Academicians of India.

But before all this is possible, let’s see what fate is decided of HECI by the Parliament of India.

 

Editorial

Atal Bihari Vajpayee – Visionary behind Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

Published

on

“Our aim may be as high as the endless sky, but we should have a resolve in our minds to walk ahead, hand-in-hand, for victory will be ours”

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

On 17th August, amidst full state honors and in the presence of state delegates and leaders, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India’s former prime minister and perhaps the only one to have ever served three terms successfully in the office, was bid a final farewell from his worldly duties. As the country mourns the loss of one of its greatest leaders, let’s have a look at one of the impactful reforms that he had brought into the dynamics of Indian Politics especially in the education Sector.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee – The Poet, Politician, and Reformist

Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his tenure in the office had been an inspiring journey for many. He was the powerhouse behind many of the economic, social and education reforms that this country has ever seen. A poet by heart, he was awarded Bharat Ratna in 2015, which is the highest civilian Honour bestowed upon an individual in India as a recognition for achievements accomplished by one. With an unmatched oration skill, he had touched the hearts of millions whenever he addressed the nation. One of the facts that he emphasized was on the importance of education and the need to empower the youth of this country so as to help India achieve its full potential and zenith.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

An advocate of practice what you preach, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had pioneered the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) program. After being mandated by the 86th Amendment of the constitution of India, the program was launched in 2001 and aimed at providing free and elementary education for all. The program strived towards removing the disparity in the society by working at the grassroots level which was education. He advocated the effectiveness of societal growth by making sure that every person in the society has access to their basic education which can, in turn, help them in improving the quality of their livelihood and helping them get a firm ground for their future goals.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan – The Features

The SSA or the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was created in response to the need for quality education which would be available for every individual irrespective of caste, creed, and religion. The program had a clear time frame in making sure to provide universal elementary education. As part of the initiative, both central and panchayat bodies were made to join hands in making sure that an effective methodology was adopted in its execution.  Education committees and bodies that belonged to all levels from state to panchayat were made the part at the grassroot level to create an efficient flow of free primary education for all. As part of the program, each state was given their own will to create programs and strategy that would work best for their respective states.

Following are the other objectives that were part of the SSA Program

  •      All children should either be in a school or an education center of an alternative school or an’   Back-to-School’ camp by 2003
  •      All children of the appropriate age will fulfill five years of primary schooling by 2007
  •      All children of the appropriate age will fulfill eight years of elementary schooling by 2010
  •      Focus is on elementary education of satisfactory quality which will be considered to be beneficial for life
  •      To bridge all gender and social class gaps at primary stage by 2007 and at elementary education level by 2010
  •      Have universal retention in schools both primary and elementary by 2010

(Source: childlineindia.org.in)

A varied amount of resources and planning had been adopted by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan executioners to make sure that the program is able to achieve a massive success. With the primary goal of the program being to provide quality education, the SSA had actively taken initiative in reforming the ways in which education is delivered. Focus on improving resources and financial backing for smooth operations of the schools was also prioritized as part of the Program. Reaching out to even the lowest strata, the program had made sure that marginalized minorities were also able to reap the benefit out of the program

Financial Support

The financial provision for the program was taken as a collaborative force between the state and central government. Another share of the financial burden was supported by the external agencies like the World Bank, DFID, and UNICEF. As per the stats, the program by 2001, had taken 50 million children under its wings and it was reported that the impact of the program was mostly noticed on minority children

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan – The Modern Day Fate

In 2014, a subdivision program was launched by then HRD Minister, Smriti Irani, under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The program was aptly named “Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat” and was an attempt to revive the reading and mathematical skills of elementary kids. The program which was funded by the government for a whopping 762 crore was majorly seen as an extension of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and has been actively working towards helping children gain proficiency in reading as well as basic mathematical skills. In 2018, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan along with Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan was merged into a single program, Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is a good example of how education should be prioritized and how it acts as a catalyst in reforming the society and providing the individual the necessary armor to have an opportunity at obtaining quality life. As he leaves the world at the age of 93 after a long battle with illness, he leaves behind a long trail of wisdom and reforms that has taken this country on a progressive path.

 

Continue Reading

Editorial

Fake Universities: The disturbing figures

Published

on

Fake Universities

The  government of India in the last decade faced a lot of cases surfacing with students and many seniors availing fake certificates to start their careers. But this norm is changing in the last few years, with the growing technology it is becoming really difficult to identify what is real and what is fake. The country is going around with fake news, certificates, degrees and now even fake universities. This scandalous current of Fake Universities  is increasing with each passing year like a wildfire, and if this continues then soon the Indian Higher Education system will feel the burns.

Fake Universities

The Chronicles of Fake Universities

Recently, The data provided by Satya Pal Singh, Minister of State in Lok Sabha deemed 277 Engineering Institute as fake in India existing currently. The shocking results also showed that the national capital, Delhi is the home to the most of these fake institutions. The number of fake engineering colleges identified in Delhi are outrageous, followed by  Telangana and then West Bengal. The Human Resource and Development(HRD) Ministry asked All India Council Of Technical Education (AICTE) to take actions against these Universities. The most revolting thing is not the high numbers of the fake institution but the fact that this is not happening for the first time in our country.

The UGC previously this year in April had announced a list of 24 “self-styled” fake universities in India. The Universities were spotted in:

  • Bihar
  • Delhi
  • Karnataka
  • Kerala
  • Maharashtra
  • West Bengal
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Odisha
  • Puducherry

You can check the full list by visiting the UGC Site

Delhi being the capital of the country is an educational hub seeing thousands of admissions yearly. Sadly, Delhi also harbours the most number of fake institutions which are pulling the level of higher education in the capital down. In May 2018 the government released a list of 12 fake education boards found in Delhi. The Delhi Police has also claimed that they have accessed a list of some of the beneficiaries of the gang running a fake admission racket.

“According to the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 under section 22(1) provides that a degree can be awarded, only by a University established under a central, state/provincial act or an institution deemed to be university under Section 3 of the UGC Act or an institution especially empowered by an Act of Parliament to confer the degree.”

A similar case was seen  in Rajasthan too where the Rajasthan Higher education department held an enquiry for 151 private colleges for not obtaining the necessary no objection certificates (NOC). According to officials, Strict actions were suggested to be taken against these colleges, as well a demand for the affiliation of these colleges to be cancelled was also done. However, it was also made clear that the students who are currently studying will not have to face any problem. The institutes won’t be permitted to run the session from the next session.

But the difference between these 277 Fake universities and that of  Rajasthan’s Private Universities lies in the fact that the prior ones have no approval from UGC, therefore, the UGC has slapped these institutions with notices to shut down. And the fates of the students and teachers are not very bright. The UGC is in no mood to forgive students with degrees from unrecognised universities or give them any relaxations.

“Students should take an informed decision. We try to create as much public awareness as possible, giving notices in newspapers, and on our website. If students join a course blindly, then it’s their misfortune.”, said an official from UGC.

Furthermore, this has impacted the Higher Education sector very deeply. The annual All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) report showed 80,000 Ghost teachers in the Indian Higher Education System in its survey. The UGC and the government on the other has not taken any strict decision against these teachers. The destiny of teachers from 277 Fake Engineering colleges is yet to be decided by the AICTE.

Fake Universities

Fake Universities – The actions and lack of one

We are all aware of the existence of fake universities in India. And the fact that they are being discovered recently is raising eyebrows over these sudden movements against these universities. The announcement of a new body replacing UGC called Higher Education Commission of India ( HECI ) can also be the reason driving this change. The government currently seems desperate to bring HECI into a reality and perhaps these actions can be seen in the light towards shining light on the relevance of a more strict regulatory body.

The sad part about the whole ordeal is that the government has taken no strict actions against these fake universities so far. The lack of measurements and proper governance and regulations taken towards monitoring these universities can also be one of the reasons why these fake universities are growing rapidly.The UGC and government have tried to make the people aware by publishing a list every year. But is that enough?The need of the hour requires stricter actions to be exercised. the government also needs to lay down certain ground rules. The future of the students and teachers trapped in this scandal of fake universities should be the priority of the Government.

 

Continue Reading

Editorial

1,00,000 crore For Research : Empowering Indian Higher Education

Published

on

Indian Higher Education

One of the largest working education web in the world, the Indian Higher Education is still in its budding stage and working its ways to improve the level of education in India. Upgrading and evolving the system has become the necessity of the hour, as it not only makes the situation better for the Indian students but will also attract foreign students. Currently, our Indian Higher Education Sector which once used to be famous worldwide for its flourishing culture and knowledge seems to be losing its touch. But to make sure we come back with a hit, the Central Government is coming up with new schemes and plans. And for every new plan, a financial support is required which seems to lacking and acting as a hindering factor for the developments. The level and amount of researches being conducted by the Education sector as a result have also gone on to become very low. To reduce this hindrance, the government plans to invest  1 lakh crore for research and academic infrastructure for the Indian Higher Education.

Indian Higher Education

Into the Past

In the recent years, the science and technology department of India has fostered a lot than before. Yet we are not standing even nearby to international standards. As one of the major obstacle on path of evolution faced by people is the lack of funding. It is not that there is an absence of funding but the provided funds are very low. In India, funding for the higher education sector is done by both government as well as the non-government organization.

The Indian Higher Education is divided into various section, each specializing for a certain sector of education. These sections are basically organisations like the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),and the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) to name few departments that conduct and govern researches in Indian higher education sector. The funds are provided to these departments who later then allocate funds for the various researches and fellowship programmes open for all with eligible qualifications.

One must think that if different departments are allocated then each department will be conducting many kinds of research and though this is true, the funds are so less that these departments have very few options to proceed forward with. This is a major reason why India is left behind when it comes to research. Even the universities in India do not promote research that much, a trend which should be switched with the modern time. This era calls for progressive research and knowledge. And the Government seems to agree with this. In the 2018-19 proposed budget, released on February 1, The government raised its spending on India’s science and technology programs compared to previous years.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) receives the hike of 8% in the proposed budget. The Department of Biotechnology gets an increase of nearly 7%. The Department of Scientific & Industrial Research sees a nearly 4% raise. And the cash-starved Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), which runs 38 labs, is slated to receive slightly more than a 3% increase. And Despite all this, even these fund are less to have to grace growth in research in India.

Into the Present

The Union Cabinet on July 4th made a decision that left many with the hope of a better future for the Indian Higher Education sector.  The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) which is headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the proposal to expand the scope the Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA). And this will be done by expanding its capital base to 10,000 crores. Not only this, the CCEA  also allocated 1,00,000 crore for research and academic infrastructure for higher education institutions by 2022.

The HRD Minister took Twitter to express his agreement and happiness for this decision. He tweeted, “Landmark decision of the Union Cabinet today, approves HEFA to mobilise 1,00,00 crore for research and academic infrastructure for higher education institutions by 2022. This  substantial allocation for research and academic infrastructure will help India compete on the world stage.”

Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) was set up on May 31, 2017, by the Central Government as a Non-Profit, Non-Banking financing Company (NBFC) to strengthen the  Indian Higher education by providing “free loan” to the Universities if they provide a laid down plan on where they want to spend money. This was done to help progress the growth in academic infrastructure in India.

Indian Higher Education

Into the Future

If without any delay the approved plan is put into work, then the future will be brighter. This will be also the first time that schools like Kendriya Vidyalayas /Navodaya Vidyalayas will also get funding from HEFA. The education in India will go under major transformation and we hope that research will be promoted not only in universities but at the schooling level too. The IITs, NITs, IISERs and other central universities, as well as AIIMS and other medical colleges, will also get funds from HEFA. Although in the recent years there were a lot of researches and progress made yet the medical department of India was left somewhere behind. With this, the Indian Medical department will also prosper.

Surely this move of the central government have made a stand  as an undisputed and one sided opinion of people that this will act as a ladder in progressive path of the Indian Higher Education & Research. For us, we are glad that even though before the election, the central Government is finally working to strengthen the Indian Higher Education. The promotion of research in India can bring many changes and bring back the glory we used to have.

This is definitely going to be a game changer but only time will tell us as to how much effective the move would be depending on the way the research funds are utilized and executed.

 

Let us know your views about this in the comment section.

 

 

Continue Reading

Trending