Sunday, June 06, 2010

Higher education watchdog to be all inclusive

The single higher education body that is being set up will most likely be a unified one that includes medical, agricultural, legal as well as higher education. The final draft bill to set up the National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) notes that all streams would come under the bodys ambit, despite various ministries having indicated they want to regulate their own territories.

When the task force invited experts, all of them recommended that the NCHER should be an all-encompassing one, covering all areas of education. There are efforts going on to convince the Union health minister to be a part of the NCHER. In the end, I see a single unified body emerging to handle all the aspects of post-school education, said a member of the panel that penned the final draft for the Higher Education and Research Bill, 2010, a copy of which is with TOI.

The draft bill states that along with the Prime Minister, both the Union human resources development minister and the Union health minister would be a part of the selection committee that would recommend to the President who should head the NCHER. Similarly, even the general council,which would be the working group of the NCHER, has members from all the professional bodies associated with health sciences - Medical Council of India, the Dental Council of India and other such bodies.

The Union agriculture ministry and the Union law ministry have already conceded to the thought of the NCHER handling the educational aspects, said sources. So that the Union health ministry also warms to the idea, the draft bill clarifies that the commission would not step on its turf.

The bill reads: College or institution intending to impart medical education shall provide an assessment report of its attached hospital and clinical establishment prepared in such a manner and in accordance with such norms as may be specified by the central government ... which refers to the ministry concerned with the subject matter of medical education. Even the director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has a place on the general council.

Members of the panel that drafted the bill said that the document would now be shared with the states in the June 19 meeting of the Central Advisory Board for Education (CABE). Interestingly, among its many tasks, the NCHER would also be put in charge of regulating the entry and operation of foreign universities.

The Higher Education Financial Services Corporation, too, would come under the NCHER. This corporation would be responsible for giving out loans to students to take up higher education and to institutes to build and develop campuses.

At a time when most Indian states are setting up specialized universities that compartmentalise areas of medical and technical education, the final draft has also recognised the importance of interdisciplinary education and introduced a concept of setting up inter-university centres that would set up research facilities for a group of varsities to carry out cutting-edge research. Whether medical or agricultural or legal, a panel member said, "The real answers lie at the cusp of two streams".

Report by Hemali Chhapia in The Times of India, June 6, 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive