Saturday, November 01, 2014

Government to restructure AICTE

The government on Friday set the ball rolling to restructure the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the apex education regulator of the country with more than 11,000 professional colleges under its purview, and try to curb the “commercialization” of education by private entities.

As part of the effort, a 15-point review of the AICTE will look at, among other things, four contentious issues. The issues are curbing commercialization in technical education, a regulatory tussle between AICTE and the University Grants Commission (UGC), amending the AICTE Act, and separation of the grant-giving and oversight powers.

“There is a realization that AICTE is finding it difficult to match the demand of private players in the field of technical education. It is a fact that a lot of private institutions have come up in technical education sector and there is a growing trend of commercialization of technical education and the laid-down norms and standards are not fully implemented,” said a Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) order, which was made public on Friday.

“The technical education sector needs to be re-oriented in light of these difficulties...and technical education needs to be redefined. Therefore, it’s imperative that an urgent review of AICTE be conducted,” said the order issued by Amarjeet Sinha, Additional Secretary, Higher Education. Recognizing the “need for restructuring and strengthening” AICTE to address challenges, the MHRD has also set up a review committee led by former education secretary M.K. Kaw for “fullest realization” of technical learning and research potential in India.

A government official, requesting anonymity, said the mandate has the imprint of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) manifesto for the April-May general elections. In its manifesto, the party had said it will strive to restore the “credibility of the regulatory bodies”. It had also said that UGC will be restructured and transformed into a higher education commission rather than just being a grant distribution agency. The government had earlier set up a committee to review UGC.

“AICTE is a key regulator and its restructuring will go a long way in redefining the private-dominated professional education in the country,” said the government official.

Source: Mint, November 1, 2014

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