The Centre has decided to establish a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) in the place of the University Grants Commission (UGC). A draft Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill, 2018, is being circulated among stakeholders to invite suggestions.
Touted as a key reform in higher education sector, the Bill if passed by the Parliament, will separate the academic and funding aspects of the sector.
Here are the key differences between the proposed Higher Education Commission of India from the present University Grants Commission:
UGC: It disburses grants to Central institutions out of its funds
HECI: It will specify standards for grant of authorisation to a university or higher educational institution to commence its academic operations
UGC: It is mandated to promote and coordinate university education and determine and maintain standards of teaching, examination and research.
HECI: It will specify standards for grant of authorisation to a university of higher educational institution to commence its academic operations.
UGC: To assess financial needs or standards of teaching in an institution, UGC conducts periodic inspections
HECI: No inspections. The body will prescribe norms on academic performance by higher educational institutions.
Action on bogus institutions
UGC: Affiliations of colleges to universities can be terminated for contravention of its regulations. It can withhold grants to universities for violations of its regulations. It occasionally publishes lists of bogus institutions.
HECI: It will be empowered to penalise or even shut down sub-standard institutions without affecting students' interests. If the management of the institution does not comply with the penalties, they can land in jail for up to three years.
UGC: Has a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman, and 10 members appointed by the Central government, some ex-officia members and some from academia, industry. The Chairman's retirement age is 65 and has a term of 5 years, with an extension of additional 5 years.
HECI: It shall comprise a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and 12 members to be appointed by the Centre, including educationists and a member of the industry. The Chairperson's retirement age is 70, will hold office for five years.
UGC: In case of any dispute between the Centre and the UGC on policy, the Centre prevails.
HECI: The Centre prevails in case of any dispute between the Centre and the HECI on policy.
The UGC appoints its own staff. The same will apply to the HECI as well. The present staff of UGC will be re-trained to work on fully digital mode — without physical files — at HECI.