During the development of the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), a committee has been set up to prepare a roadmap for University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) to work together as a single regulatory entity.
UGC chairperson Prof M Jagadesh Kumar set up the committee and will work with the initial vision to identify areas where the two regulators can work with a common approach towards drawing up policies and regulations. Members of the committee include vice-chairpersons of UGC and AICTE, as well as the UGC secretary and AICTE member-secretary.
The development comes at a time when the government is planning to introduce the Bill to set up HECI in the winter session of Parliament.
“The development of a joint working strategy is in many ways the harbinger of the proposed Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). After all, regulations on higher education affect students pursuing general as well as technical degrees or courses,” Prof Kumar.
The HECI is the most significant regulatory reform proposed in the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020. The government had attempted to merge the two prime regulatory agencies even before NEP’s launch but the decision could not be finalised.
Prof Kumar said, “The committee has been entrusted with identifying areas where the two regulators can work together.” A separate set of sub-committees, comprising officials of the two regulators, will work on those areas. The idea is to prepare the system to adapt to a situation where HECI will be the overarching body of higher education. Incidentally, Kumar was given additional charge of AICTE after the retirement of Prof Anil Sahasrabudhe, who has been made the first chief of National Educational Technology Forum (NETF). The Centre is envisioning NETF as a one-stop platform to roll out technological interventions in school and higher education.