Higher Education Council Bill passed in Gujarat Assembly

The Bill for the establishment of the Council was brought on the recommendation of UGC and Rashtriya Uchhatar Shiksha Abhiyan in 2013.

Higher Education Council Bill passed in Gujarat Assembly

Gandhinagar: A bill, for the establishment of a council which would work as a 'supreme body' for all key matters concerning higher education in Gujarat, was passed by the state Assembly in the absence of Congress MLAs.

On the last day of Budget Session yesterday, 'The Gujarat Higher Education Council Bill-2016', which was brought by the BJP-led state government, was passed in the absence of Congress MLAs, who were already suspended for two days by the Speaker.

The Bill for the establishment of the Council was brought on the recommendation of University Grants Commission (UGC) and Rashtriya Uchhatar Shiksha Abhiyan in 2013.

As per the recommendations, state level planning and co-ordination of higher education shall be done through state Council for Higher Education, which would work as the supreme body, said Higher and Technical Education Minister Vasuben Trivedi while presenting the Bill in the House.

As per the provisions mentioned in the Bill, the Gujarat Chief Minister would be the ex-officio president of the council, while cabinet minister for education would be appointed as vice-president while minister of state for education will serve as co-vice president.

In total, there will be 15 ex-officio members in the Council, including the CM and the two ministers. Other members include secretaries of Education, Finance, Industries and Labour department among others.

One of the key functions of the Council would be "to carry out effective monitoring of academic/administrative/financial performance of Universities and affiliated colleges and to recommend remedial measures for better performance", stated the Bill.

The Council will also have some sweeping powers to regulate higher education in the state. As per section 15 of the Bill, government, can ask universities to implement reforms suggested by the Council.

Further, "it shall be obligatory on the part of the University to implement the directions given by the state government and report the action taken to state government and the Council accordingly" stated the Bill.

"The Council would also act as a watch dog to monitor illegal and unauthorised education institutes imparting fake degrees. The Council will also make recommendations with regard to funding to universities, scholarship criteria, development of curriculum and courses, etc," the Higher Education Minister said in her speech.

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