Panel suggests replacing UGC with new statutory agency

April 7, 2015

In far reaching recommendations, a panel set up to evaluate UGC’s performance has suggested replacing the body altogether with a new statutory agency enjoying wide ranging and quasi-judicial powers on setting standards in higher education, according to an official release on April 1.

The committee set up under former UGC chairman Hari Gautam has suggested setting up of a ‘national higher education authority’ through an act of parliament, with sources saying some “out of box” ideas have also been recommended on the appointment of vice chancellors.

However, till the time the authority is set up, the committee has recommended improving the organisational structure and functional status of UGC so that it can perform effectively to govern higher education in the country.

Along with its recommendations, the committee has also presented a draft bill for setting up of the authority, noting that the present body has not only “failed to fulfill its mandate but also has not been able to deal with emerging diverse complexities”.

Revamping of UGC would also be a futile exercise, said the committee in its report submitted to higher education secretary Satya N Mohanty on March 18.

“We would also submit our recommendations to HRD minister Smriti Irani,” said professor Gautam, adding it could be posted in the ministry website.

Mohanty, meanwhile, dismissed media reports that UGC was being scrapped, saying they are yet to analyse the reports before deciding any future course of action.

“The mandate given to the committee was to analyse, review and recommend to the ministry, the architecture required, and the ministry will have to take a view after going through it threadbare.

“Hence, no such decision on the UGC getting scrapped has been taken and the recommendations are yet to be understood and analysed before any decision is taken in the matter. The UGC has been created by an Act of the Parliament and cannot be unilaterally scrapped,” he told media sources in New Delhi.

The committee has suggested that categorisation of universities should be replaced with an efficient model, a national research aptitude test for admission to Ph.D and a single tenure of VCs, besides scrapping a criteria that requires 10 years as professor to be eligible for VC.

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