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Higher Education Commission of India for Improving Academic Standards & Quality of Higher Education

Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will focus on improving academic standards and the quality of Higher Education as per the Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill 2018 prepared by the Ministry of HRD aims at reforming the regulatory systems that provide for more autonomy and facilitate holistic growth of the education system which provides greater opportunities to the Indian students at more affordable cost. Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, while addressing convocation of ICFAI University in Dehradun on Saturday July 15, 2015, noting that Indian universities had not been able to make it to the list of world’s top universities, asked them to treat it as a “big challenge” and work hard to distinguish themselves from others. As per the proposed Bill, HECI will oversee accreditation, curricular and quality issues, while the HRD Ministry will control the funding and grant-giving process. The transformation of the regulatory set up is guided by the following principles:

  • HECI should not have interference in the management issues of the educational institutions. This will downsize scope of the Regulator based on the principle of Less Government and more Governance
  • HECI would focus only on academic matters and the grant functions would be carried out by the HRD Ministry, leading to separation of grant functions.
  • HECI would do Regulation through transparent public disclosures, merit-based decision making on matters regarding standards and quality in higher education, leading to the end of Inspection Raj.
  • HECI will focus on academic quality and would be tasked with the mandate of improving academic standards with specific focus on learning outcomes, evaluation of academic performance by institutions, mentoring of institutions, training of teachers, promote use of educational technology etc.
  • It will develop norms for setting standards for opening and closure of institutions, provide for greater flexibility and autonomy to institutions, lay standards for appointments to critical leadership positions at the institutional level irrespective of University started under any Law (including State Law).
  • HECI as Regulator will have powers to enforce compliance to the academic quality standards and will have the power to order closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions. Non-compliance could result in fines or jail sentence.

It is expected that the initiative of setting up HECI would ensure access, equity and excellence in the higher education, as it aims to give more autonomy to the higher education Institutions. However, it is essential for every Institution to brainstorm in respect to the prevailing requirements of education imparted by them and remain competitive for producing excellence.

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