New Delhi : The government’s plan to replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) with a single higher education regulator seems to have hit a roadblock with the HRD ministry putting the idea on hold. The plan to introduce Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency or HEERA with an aim to eliminate overlaps in jurisdiction and remove irrelevant regulatory provisions is in limbo.
While the HRD Ministry and the Niti Ayog were earlier working to bring technical and non-technical education institutions under one umbrella, there has been no headway yet on the same. Minister of State for HRD Upendra Kushwaha said: “No such proposal is under consideration at present, to merge the UGC and AICTE into a single higher education regulator.”
HRD officials remained tightlipped when asked about the reasons behind it. It has been felt that multiple regulatory bodies led to excessive and restrictive regulation and hence contributed to the lack of institutional autonomy, they argued.
The idea to have a single higher education regulator is not a new one. In 2006, the National Knowledge Commission had recommended an independent regulatory authority for higher education and recently in 2014, the UGC Review Committee in 2014 had also recommended the commission be replaced with an apex institution named National Higher Education Authority.