HRD Ministry to discuss higher education reforms with states

To discuss reforms in the higher education sector, HRD Ministry will convene a meeting of state education ministers and secretaries on January 6, Lok Sabha was informed.

Replying to queries related to higher education, HRD minister Smriti Irani said a meeting of state education ministers and secretaries has been convened on January 6 to discuss reforms with regard to higher education.

The government has already set up committees to review University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), she said. The UGC Review Committee, constituted in July, is chaired by Prof Hari Gautam, who is a former chairman of UGC. The panel would look at the restructuring UGC - which regulates higher education system.

"While UGC has endeavored to regulate higher education system in the country and promote quality and access, it was felt that the UGC could have done better, if it were strengthened and re-structured," Irani said.

UGC has no mechanism to ensure follow up on regulatory instructions and enforce compliance with it. "These limitations can only be overcome by a thorough review and amending the UGC Act, 1956, to meet the emerging challenges in the higher education sector," the minister said.

Meanwhile, a committee chaired by M K Kaw, former secretary at HRD Ministry, to review AICTE. With regard to shortage of teaching staff in universities, Irani said the government consults with states as part of a continuous process to appoint teachers. The government is considering a new scheme to train teachers, she noted. According to her, the government is working on drawing up parameters for national ranking of universities. International ranking of universities has been a matter of debate, she said.
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