Modi govt proposes repeal of UGC Act, new Higher Education Commission to be set up

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday proposed the draft of a new Act with which it seeks to replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) — the principal funding body for universities.

Announcing the draft of the Act which is likely to repeal the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar appealed to stakeholders to send their recommendations on the Act by July 7, 2018.

“My appeal to all educationists, stakeholders and others to furnish their comments and suggestions by July 7, 2018 till 5 p.m and mail at reformofugc@gmail.com,” Javadekar said in a tweet.

“The Draft Act is in accordance with the commitment of government for reforming the regulatory systems that provide more autonomy to Higher Education institutes to promote excellence and facilitate holistic growth of the education system.

“The transformation of the regulatory set up is based upon the principles – Minimum government & Maximum governance, separation of grant functions, end of inspection raj, focus on academic quality, powers to enforce,” he said.

The new Act, termed “Higher Education Commission of India Act, 2018”, will be applicable to all higher education institutions established under any Act of the Parliament excluding institutions of national importance notified so by the Central or state government

The Act is designed to downsize the scope of the regulator by ending its interference in the management issues of the educational institutions, a government statement said.

The Commission, once established, will focus solely on academic matters while the grant functions — now with UGC — would then lie with the HRD Ministry.

With the new body, the government said it will ensure that “regulation is done through transparent public disclosures, merit-based decision making on matters regarding standards and quality in higher education”.

The Commission will come with powers to shut down non-compliant and bogus institutes and will have the mandate for improving academic standards and training of the teachers.

“The Commission shall have the power to grant authorization for starting of academic operations on the basis of their compliance with norms of academic quality,” the statement read.