Modi Govt to create HEERA (Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority)

Modi Govt to create HEERA to replace UGC

Modi government has drawn up the draft legislation to create a single higher education regulator.

  • The draft legislation for setting up a ‘Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority, 2018’ (HEERA) or Higher Education Regulatory Council (HERC).
  • Once the new regulator is created, other existing regulatory authorities such as the University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the National Council for Technical Education (NCTE) will be scrapped.
  • According to draft legislation, new regulator will mentor institutes, besides defining academic standards.
  • HEERA won’t have grant giving powers but it will be armed with zero tolerance mechanisms for violations, including provisions to terminate the affiliation of an institute.

The draft Bill is being discussed by the government and is being scrutinised by the Prime Minister’s Office, it will be a key discussion agenda for a policy retreat that the HRD ministry is planning for drawing up a New Education Strategy for 2022The HRD ministry had announced a 40-point action plan in April where it said that it was planning to bring the HEERA Bill in Parliament by September 2018

Background :-

Draft Legislation calls to create HEERA

WHAT’S IN THE BILL :-

  • The HEERA Bill says that the new authority will focus on setting quality standards for institutions, specify learning outcomes, lay down standards of teaching assessment and research and evaluate the yearly academic performance of the institutes on clearly laid criteria.
  • HEERA, unlike UGC, will “provide for training/mentoring of institutions found to be failing in maintaining required academic standards”.
  • Central or state government grants to an institute will require that they meet the standards outlined by the HEERA. Funding will be largely vested with the HRD ministry which will release grants based on annual action plans presented by institutes rather than just dole out money.
  • It will be able to bar an institute from admitting new students in a particular course if it is established that it has violated the quality benchmarks. It will also be able to terminate affiliation of such an institute and provide for measures to safeguard interest of the enrolled students.
  • If any university is found to grant affiliation to a course in contravention of regulations of the HEERA, it may be faced with a penalty, fine, withdrawal of degree granting powers and in dire cases, even a direction to cease all operations. A three year imprisonment has been proposed for those that fail to comply with the penalty imposed.
  • HEERA, like UGC, will specify & notify degrees and their nomenclature, have the right to bring a variety of regulations for maintenance of standards at varsities. It will come under CAG’s scanner and will also take directions from the Centre on policy matters.
  • HEERA may provide expert advice ’to any institution or its departments for ‘promoting excellence’.

Composition of HEERA :-

The ten-member HEERA will have :-

  • An eminent academician as a chairperson, who will be assisted by two Vice Chairpersons,
  • Three members who may have served at least for five years as Directors of an IIT/IIM/IISc/IISER/IISc.
  • Another three members who may serve for a minimum of five years as a Vice chancellor of a reputed state or central university.

But there’s still debate over how to bring state universities within the ambit of HEERA, and whether regulation of teacher education institutes should be within its purview.

( Source :- EconomicTimes )

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