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Old Wine Minus The Punch

The UGC will be replaced with the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) that will deal only with academic co-ordination, determination, and maintenance of the standards of university education.
Sonal Khetarpal   New Delhi     Print Edition: August 12, 2018
Old Wine Minus The Punch

Should the government be interfering in academic institutions? It recently announced it was scrapping the University Grants Commission.

The UGC will be replaced with the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) that will deal only with academic co-ordination, determination, and maintenance of the standards of university education. The UGC's other job - disbursing funds to colleges and universities will now be with the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

In the present arrangement, the government can't remove the UGC's chair or vice-chair, ensuring total independence in their functioning. There is no such autonomy in the proposed HECI, which could give rise to politically influenced appointments.

What we really need is a complete overhaul of the education system. Government interference in other sectors such as telecom or IT has proven disastrous in the past. Since India is the only country with a famed demographic dividend, education needs to be leveraged to its potential, not turned on its head.

Sonal Khetarpal

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