“The idea of Replacing AICTE, UGC with HEERA is the cleanest, most sweeping Reform in Education Sector”: Senior Education Officials…
In a bid to reform academics, a determined Modi government is all set to bring about a radical change in higher education. The union HRD (human resource development) ministry will scrap autonomous bodies AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) and UGC (University Grants Commission). These educational institutions will be replaced by HEERA (Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency)—the regulator of higher education.
The decision to launch a single regulatory authority was long advocated by academic experts. In past, several committees, such as the National Knowledge Commission, Yashpal Committee and the Hari Gautam Committee proposed this idea during the UPA era, but the reform never happened.
The decision to go ahead with this change was taken in a meeting with education officers, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this March. Amendment of existing rules was proposed in the meeting earlier, as setting up a new regulatory body was taking some time.
According to senior officials of education department, the authorities are rapidly working on HEERA legislation policies. Mr. KK Sharma (higher education secretary) and Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant will work on the detailed blueprint of HEERA. Niti Aayog and HRD ministry officers will collectively frame new laws for HEERA.
This decision will eliminate hurdles in jurisdiction and remove irrelevant regulatory provisions that were implemented earlier. The new regulatory legislation will be precise and clean. It comes with minimum standards, quite focused on generating positive outcomes. The experts believe that distinguishing non-technical and technical education is out-of-sync and outmoded with global practices. Introducing a single regulator is likely to produce better results in framing curricula for different institutions.
HEERA will attempt to end dominating policies, harassment, forced legislation and ‘inspector raj’ prevalent during the UGC regime. The new body will enjoy new powers. They can take strong penal action against the offenders, wherever necessary.
Repealing various acts associated with the UGC and AICTE is a time-taking process. Therefore, rather than bringing in a new legislation, the decision-making officers are likely to amend these acts for Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency. As of now, the education ministry banks on HEERA to produce positive, unbiased results in future.