NEW DELHI: The new version of the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) Bill proposes a bigger, common regulator that will govern all areas of higher education barring medicine.
The draft HECI Bill suggests the Commission will replace the University Grants Commission, the All India Council for Technical Education and will also take over the job of regulating the education of law and architecture from the Bar Council of India and the Council of Architecture, respectively.
The professions of law and architecture, however, will continue to be regulated by the respective councils.
AICTE acts as a regulator for engineering, pharmacy, management and other technical education colleges.
In the version of the Bill presented in 2018, the HECI had sought to replace only the UGC. Government officials said the new draft was approved by HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank this week and will be moved to the Union Cabinet in a few weeks.
The new draft gives more autonomy to the states and will allow the creation of a special purpose vehicle, most likely in the form of a society headed by an academician, which will be responsible for disbursal of funds to the universities.
At any time in the Commission, there will be representatives from 4 states which will be rotated every three years.
“The last version of the Bill faced most opposition on account of less autonomy to states and suggestion of an advisory board under the HRD minister that would have been in charge of issuing monetary grants to the universities,” said a senior official. “Both these clauses have been amended.”
The ministry has been stressing that the proposed Commission is meant to suggest measures to promote the autonomy of higher education institutions, reduce the scope of regulation, and eliminate interference in their management.
Skeptics, however, are still wary.
“Certain provisions of the Bill don’t meet declared objective of providing greater autonomy to institutions,” said a political science professor with a Delhi University college.