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Edn panel wants UGC, AICTE scrapped
NEW DELHI, JUN 23:
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Published on 24 Jun. 2009 12:45 AM IST
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In an ambitious blueprint for reform of the education sector, the high-powered Yashpal Committee has recommended scrapping a whole lot of powerful bodies -- University Grants Commission, All India Council for Technical Education, National Council for Teacher Education and Distance Education Council. The committee, whose report is expected to serve as a template for measures to clean up the mess in higher education, has also recommended that IITs/IIMs be turned into universities and a GRE like test be evolved for university education. The committee said a plethora of regulatory bodies like UGC should be replaced by a super regulator: a seven-member Commission for Higher Education and Research (CHER) under an Act of Parliament. It has also recommended, obviously with a view to buffer the new regulator against political and other pressures, that the position of chairperson of the proposed commission should be analogous to that of election commissioners. The high-powered committee was set up under renowned scientist Yashpal, a former UGC chairman, with the mandate to suggest measures for “renovation and rejuvenation” of higher education in the country. It also said the jurisdiction of other regulators -- Medical Council of India, Bar Council of India and others -- be confined to administrative matters, with universities taking up their academic responsibilities. Finalised on Monday and to be given to HRD minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday, the report said that IITs and IIMs should be encouraged to diversify and expand their scope to work as full-fledged universities. According to Times News Network, the panel also proposed a national testing scheme for university admissions on the lines of GRE which would be open to all aspirants and would be held more than once a year. The proposed CHER, the report said, should first identify India’s 1,500 top colleges to upgrade them as universities and then create clusters of potentially good colleges to evolve as universities. Also, all levels of teacher education should be brought under the purview of higher education. Expressing concern on the mushrooming of engineering and management colleges, that had “largely become business entities dispensing very poor quality education”, Yashpal committee lamented the growth of deemed universities and called for a complete ban on further grant of such status. Existing ones, the committee said, should be given three years to develop as a university and fulfill the prescribed accreditation norms. Raising doubts about the source of funding of private education providers, the committee said mostly it was either “unaccounted wealth from business and political enterprises or from capitation fees”. It said the system of conferring academic designations as chancellors and vice-chancellors to members of the promoter’s family should be done away with. They should submit to a national accreditation system. However, the committee underlined the need for private investment in higher education. Recommending curricular reform, the committee said teachers should have the freedom to design courses and students should be able to study subjects outside their courses. Of the seven members of the proposed CHER, one would be an eminent professional from the world of industry. Chairperson and members will be selected by a committee headed by the PM, Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India. Commission will have five divisions dealing with future directions, accreditation management, funding and development and new institutions. An eminent individual will head each division for five years.

 
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