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HRD ministry, NITI Aayog examine Gautam panel report on UGC

 The HRD Ministry and NITI Aayog have begun examining the report of the Hari Gautam panel, which has raised serious questions about the functioning of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and even recommended its scrapping.



New Delhi: The HRD Ministry and NITI Aayog have begun examining the report of the Hari Gautam panel, which has raised serious questions about the functioning of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and even recommended its scrapping.

The report, which had suggested replacing the UGC with a National Higher Education Authority, is being studied in detail with the experts from NITI Aayog, said officials in the Ministry, without giving a deadline for completion of the exercise.

The matter was raised in Parliament last week when a member wanted to know if the recommendations of the committee headed by former UGC member Hari Gautam have been accepted.

Making a stinging attack on the style of functioning of the UGC, which governs higher education in the country, the committee had said it has not only "failed to fulfil its mandate but also has not been able to deal with emerging diverse complexities".

It had suggested setting up of a National Higher Education Authority through an Act of Parliament to replace UGC as "any reshaping or restructuring of the UGC will be a futile exercise". It said even amending the UGC Act would make little difference.

The committee had submitted its report in March this year, recommending far-reaching reforms, including scrapping of policies under which universities are categorised.

It also suggested a national research aptitude test for doing PhD and a single term for Vice Chancellors, besides scrapping the criteria that requires a person to have 10 years experience as professor to be eligible for elevation as VC.

The report said, "It (UGC) has side-stepped its function of being a sentinel of excellence in education and embraced the relatively easier function of funding education."

It also said the UGC chairperson "should be advised to strictly keep a vigilant track of the various performance areas of the UGC and assess contribution at all levels".

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