After the discovery of the fact that the department of higher education and the regulator of University Grants Commission are unaware of the meaning of “Higher education” besides the term too not been defined in the UGC Act, 1956 HRD minister Kapil Sibal wants to bring influential changes in higher education with series of legislations in the pipeline. In an unprecedented incident HRD's department of higher education referred to UGC for its definition when the definition of `higher education' was sought under the Right to Information Act. A month later, UGC said in its reply to RTI applicant Jitendra Sharma, “The term higher education has not been defined in the UGC Act, 1956.” However, the Commission reproduced some sections of the UGC Act that talked about its functions but were nowhere close to a definition of “higher education”. The UGC said, “It shall be the general duty of the Commission to take, in consultation with the universities or other bodies concerned, all such steps as it may think fit for the promotion and coordination of university education and for the determination and maintenance of standards of teaching, examination and research in universities.” The RTI applicant also wanted to know if all the colleges affiliated to the state universities come under the definition of the term `higher education'. This question was also referred to the UGC. On its part, UGC instead of giving any firm answer gave the definition of the term `affiliation' and `college' as explained in the UGC Act which any layman will find it difficult to understand. It said, “`Affiliation' together with its grammatical variations, includes, in relation to a college, recognition of such college by, association of such college with, and admission of such college to the privileges of, a university.”
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