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HRD min likely to form coordinating body for education regulators

Keeping aside proposal for over-arching body subsuming existing regulators in higher education sector, government has decided to come up with a coordinating body instead through an executive order.

New Delhi: Keeping aside a contentious proposal for an over-arching body subsuming existing regulators in the higher education sector, government has decided to come up with a coordinating body instead through an executive order.
The development comes in wake of the Parliamentary standing committee on HRD opposing the viability of a proposed over-arching body which would have subsumed regulators like UGC and AICTE.

While examining the Higher Education and Research Bill 2011 for creation of National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER), it feared the over-arching body would give rise to "undesired results".

It had instead suggested to form an over-arching commission which would work as a coordinator with the specialised bodies like UGC, AICTE and NCTE, as a workable formula under the overall supervision of the Commission.

Taking note of the suggestion, HRD Ministry officials said they have given "in principal" approval to the setting of the coordination mechanism.

However, a lot of ground needs to be covered before the move bears fruition as the proposal has to be cleared by the Law Ministry.

The development could be seen a major climbdown for the Ministry, which under the then Minister Kapil Sibal had vigorously pursued the over-arching body, triggering backlash from the medical and legal fraternity as well. The proposed bill had sought to cover both these subjects too.

Drawing attention to the apprehension of the state governments with respect to their autonomy and jurisdiction over higher education, the standing committee had also underlined that "any attempt to infringe upon the autonomy of the state governments would not be a wise move..."

The panel was of the view that the HRD Ministry should have pursued the issue with the state governments to allay their apprehensions and arrive at a consensus on areas of concerns in the Bill.


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