Millennium Post

Strengthening of UGC rules on the cards?

Strengthening of UGC rules and provisions governing higher educational institutes could well be on the cards even as a new programme approved by the government yesterday threatens to strip the commission of its funding powers.

The need for an overhaul of the University Grants Commission (UGC) comes in the backdrop of an increased criticism that the body is beginning to lose its sheen given the current state of higher education in the country.

The statutory organisation is in charge of coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of university education.

‘The aim would be to give more teeth to the body with the strengthening of its rules and provisions,’ said an official in the HRD Ministry.

Back in 2004-05, there was a proposal to amend the UGC Act, but it failed to materialise.

According to officials, the revamped body could be called as a ‘higher education commission’ which, unlike the existing body, would have full time members.

While it will continue to set standards and norms, its funding powers could be curtailed in keeping with the suggestions of a Yashpal Committee report which had suggested that the money giving function and the standard setting function of UGC should be separated.

UGC at present has an annual corpus of about Rs 6000 crore of which Rs 2000 crore are disbursed among the central universities.

With the implementation of the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) programme, the body could well stand to lose its funding powers to the states which comes to about Rs 3500 crore.

Funding under RUSA would be directly provided by the Centre to the states.

RUSA seeks to improve the overall quality of existing state higher educational institutions by ensuring conformity to prescribed norms and standards and adoption of accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework.
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