Government's decision to replace University Grants Commission (UGC) with the Higher Education Commission for India (HECI) has been condemned by experts and academicians. HRD Ministry had earlier released a draft bill proposing to scrap the UGC by repealing the UGC Act 1951. As per the draft bill, while HECI will solely focus on the academic matters, the monetary grants disbursal will be under the control of the MHRD. However, the government has backtracked on its decision and has now decided to form a body of experts for the grant giving authority, reported the Hindustan Times today.
'HECI is an act of taking away the autonomy of academic bodies through bureaucratisation of academic governing bodies,' opined the experts in a programme held today here. With the financial monetary grants under the purview of MHRD, there will be greater interference in higher education, they further added.
'HECI will have an advisory committee above it and the chairman of the advisory committee will be the HRD minister and whatever he will say will be implemented. Instead of the UGC telling the government what to do, we will have the government telling HECI what to do,' PTI quoted Professor Madhu Prasad Advisor, CERT.
"There should be debate on the HECI in the Monsoon session of the parliament. Only the richest institutes will be benefitted. How will institutes like Vinoba Bhave University and Darbhanga University develop? This is an attempt at privatisation of education," said Shariq Ansar, general secretary of a students' body.
On the other hand, Delhi University professor Ratan Lal alleged that this is a conspiracy to deprive Dalits and economically weaker strata of higher education.
MHRD has sought comments and suggestions on the draft bill till July 20, 2018. As per reports the ministry has received close to 6000 feedbacks, so far.