The New Education Policy 2020, paving the way for new education in India. The NEP will now engineer, which makes the changes and implementation of a ‘single overarching umbrella body for the entire higher education’ to replace existing bodies like the UGC and the AICTE. The setup of the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) has been in the pipeline for a number of years, with numerous educationists calling out for such a measure.
Although the HECI will act as a single regulator, several functions including accreditation, funding and academic standard setting will be carried out by equally. For instance, the National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC), one of the verticals under the HECI, will act as a single point regulator for the higher education sector with the exception of medical and legal education. Other verticals include the National Accreditation Council (NAC), the Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) and the General Education Council (GEC).
Perception on HECI
The new avatar of the HECI will, from the aspect of many experts, enable lighter and more transparent regulation, owing to the fact that the body’s objectives will not be conflated with its funding responsibilities.
Increased flexibility offered to autonomous education institutions is also likely to be at the heart of the HECI’s agenda. With a ‘light but firm’ approach to policy making, the HECI can develop an overarching framework within which universities can create their own governance structures. Micromanagement of universities must be avoided.
Many have pointed out that while a single regulator might be a step in the right direction in streamlining education policy, few changes will take place. Unless the HECI creates an environment where responsibility and accountability are prioritized. Institutes must be measured based on relevant parameters like research, industry linkages, placements and academic excellence. If the HECI is able to manage this, the benefits to its biggest stakeholder, the youth of India, can be more.
Many have remarked that the authority of the UGC had lubricated over-regulation leading to a decline in the quality of India’s higher education sector. Contrarily, the HECI will be able to narrow its focus to academics, while being capable of acting against institutions that disregard the norms its sets out.
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