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UGC Asks HEIs to Follow Educational Recommendations in NITI Aayog’s Urban Planning Reforms

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed all colleges, universities, and higher education institutions to comply with the recommendations in ‘Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India’, a report by NITI Aayog’s advisory committee.

The report lists down a set of 14 recommendations for reforms. Some of these are pertaining to higher education. The Advisory Committee recommends ‘develop India-centric solutions’. It has been recommended that the history of human settlements in the Indian subcontinent be taught to all young planners in a manner that can help them learn about the planning and management of ancient and medieval human settlements in India.

The Advisory Committee also recommends ‘More exposure in curricula on Economics’ and a deeper focus on the subject matter of economics to be brought in by the educational institutions while educating future planners.

NITI Aayog had constituted an Advisory Committee on ‘Reforms in Urban Planning Education in India’ in October 2020. The consultative process resulted in a comprehensive document called “Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India” September 2021. It presented a condensed outcome of the deliberations with the committee members, eminent experts, academia, and professionals.

According to the report by NITI Aayog, steps for strengthening the urban planning education system are:

  • The history of human settlements in the Indian subcontinent must be taught to all young planners in a more exhaustive and analytical manner.
  • The Central universities and technical institutions in all the States, Union Territories (UTs) of the Indian Himalayan Region may be encouraged to establish a ‘department of planning and public policy and offer postgraduate degree programmes (MTech) with specializations in ‘hill area planning’, ‘environmental planning’, ‘regional planning’, and ‘rural area planning’
  • The Advisory Committee also recommends that all such institutions may coordinate with the Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, and respective state rural development departments or directorates and develop demand-driven short-term programmes on rural area planning.
  • ‘Planning’ as an umbrella term, including all its specializations such as environment, housing, transportation, infrastructure, logistics, rural area, regional, etc., or any other nomenclature approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), should be included as a discipline under the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) of MoE to encourage healthy competition among the institutions.
  • The Advisory Committee recommends that AICTE may retain the names of specializations based on industry requirements while limiting them to an appropriate number, as 25 nomenclatures seem too high for market acknowledgment and absorption.
  • The Advisory Committee recommends that the institutions in the domain of planning education may identify prominent international and national institutes, connect with them and sign agreements for mentoring.

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