Higher education body: Yashpal for change in plan

While the report of the Prof Yashpal-led Committee on Rejuvenation of Higher Education may serve as a blueprint for the mega reform agenda that is planned by the Kapil Sibal-led Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry, the first voice of dissent against the Ministry'splans has come from Professor Yashpal himself.

Prof Yashpal has reportedly written to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) objecting to the current proposal for the overarching higher education authority that the HRD Ministry is working on. The proposed legislation for the creation of a National Council for Higher Education & Research (NCHER), though based on the Yashpal committee's recommendations, will leave out medical education and agriculture related education from its ambit.

While the University Grants Commission (UGC), the All India Council for Technical education (AICTE) and the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) will all be subsumed within the NCHER as recommended, both medical education and agriculture have been left out.

Prof Yashpal has said that such 'fragmentation' would defeat the purpose of creating a single overarching authority for higher education. When contacted, he confirmed that he had taken up the issue with the PMO and that the issue "is not settled yet". The cabinet note for the proposed legislation being piloted by the HRD Ministry, on the other hand, says, that since the Health Ministry was planning a separate mechanism to integrate all areas of health and medical education, "the present proposal has excluded medical education and research except in so far as such education comprises part of any university, from the purview of the proposed Commission which would regulate vocational, technical, professional and higher education and universities. Therefore, the ambit of the proposed commission would also exclude agricultural education and research as it falls under Entry 14 of the State List of the seventh schedule of the Constitution".

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