Monday, May 31, 2010

Education super-regulator bill to be tabled in Parliament

The government's intention to establish a super regulator like body for education could materialize within this financial year. The National Commission on Higher Education and Research (NCHER) Bill is likely to be presented in the monsoon session of Parliament. The NCHER Bill seeks to establish a super regulator for education. The University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), and the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) needs to be scrapped after NCHER is set up. They will be subsumed inside this council to create a super governing body, which will also have the role of a regulator. The second draft on NCHER is to be presented to the Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE), that is the highest advisory body on education in the country, on June 17. Once the proposal is finalized, it will be taken to the Cabinet very soon. Before that, CABE will take a call on this council and after that a Cabinet note will be moved to set up this council.

Henceforth, all professional colleges will be governed by NCHER. In addition, the bill proposes that NCHER be the governing body for all professional courses including law, nursing, dentistry, and architecture. This means existing bodies like the Bar Council or the Indian Nursing Council will only be responsible for the professional aspects of the sector, thereby curtailing their powers significantly.

Efforts are on to include medical education under the NCHER, a move that is being resisted currently. NCHER will offer greater functional autonomy to the Vice Chancellors of Universities, who now have to run from pillar to post for getting routine clearances. It will be a must for all universities and colleges to seek accreditation from NCHER and proposes to do away with the current practice of voluntary application for accreditation. Currently, only 20% of 503 universities have been accredited.

The Commission may be made functional within FY11 and there is a proposal for it to be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge. It is likely to comprise of seven members. However, it remains to be seen if the Centre will be able to develop a consensus among states in the next meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education.


Source: www.moneycontrol.com, May 31, 2010

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