With the aim to bring about quality improvement in the tertiary education, the Himachal Pradesh Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Commissions has set up an eight member advisory committee comprising prominent academicians which will be headed by Sarojini Ganju Thakur, the commission’s chairperson.
The other members include Dr Furquan Qamar, former vice chancellor of the Central University at Kangra, who is also secretary general of the Association of Indian Universities; Prof Chetan Singh, director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Simla; RL Sharma, vice chancellor of the HP Technical University at Hamirpur; Rajnish Srivastva, director of the National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur; and PK Ahluwalia, dean of planning at Himachal Pradesh University at Shimla. The panel will also include a nominee of the secretary of the Human Resources Development ministry and additional chief secretary of the Himachal Government’s higher education department. The committee, constituted under rule 11 of the HP Private Education Institutional (Regulatory Commission) Rules, 2011, has been tasked with suggesting measures to improve the quality of the tertiary education and creating a good benchmark for private higher education in the state. There are 252 private education institutions across the state including 17 private universities. Besides, there are 20 polytechnic colleges, 83 education colleges and 25 pharmacy, nursing and dental colleges.
In 2010, the BJP-led state government had set up a commission to regulate private education institutions. Its mandate was to work as an interface between private, state and central regulatory bodies to ensure appropriate standards of admission, teaching examination, research and protection of interest of students in private educational institutions.
Private education institutions have been routinely receiving complaints about the private universities not keeping up the education standards. Initially there were lots of the complaints related to introduction of the various courses that were started without approval of the government. The state government had given approval to the private education institutions to make the state as education hub of north India. The private education institutions ran into controversies during the BJP regime.