After Supreme Court order, UGC may get power to shut institutes

Supreme Court order recently banned technical education through distance mode and cancelled degrees of hundreds of students who passed out between 2001 and 2005. Now the central government is now working on the idea of strengthening the powers of its regulators. 

THE CURRENT SCENARIO

Regulators for higher education — University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) — currently do not have the power to permanently close down an institution that isn’t abiding by its norms. They can only send them notices and cancel their affiliation over non-adherence to norms, for a limited period, after which the institute will have to acquire a fresh affiliation.

WHAT HRD MINISTRY SOURCES SAY

“Our regulators do not have enough power. Had that been the case, a situation like this would not have arised where the court would have to cancel degrees of students. The UGC had sent notices to these institutes, asking them to stop technical education courses through distance mode; but, they did not adhere to the orders and continued offering the courses,” said a senior Human Resource Development Ministry official.

“When we talk about a improving our regulatory authorities, we ought to give them more power, including that of deciding on closing down institutions when necessary,” the official said.

THE SC ORDER’S DETAILS

The Supreme Court judgment had mentioned that the government should form a committee to look into regulatory mechanism in the field of higher education. 

The Union of India may constitute a three-member committee comprising eminent persons who have held high positions in the fields of education, investigation, administration, or law at national level within one month. The committee may examine the issues indicated above and suggest a road map for strengthening and setting up of oversight and regulatory mechanism in the relevant field of higher education and allied issues within six months.

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