Higher education: Par panel questions viability of NCHER

Fearing "undesired results", a Parliamentary panel has expressed its objections and questioned the viability of a proposed over-arching body in higher education subsuming regulators like UGC and AICTE.

"Proposal cannot be considered a viable mechanism to deal with ever increasing categories of higher education as well as massive expansion of higher education in the country," the panel, examining the Higher Education and Research Bill 2011 for creation of National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER), said.

In its report tabled in Parliament today, the panel said it is "virtually not possible" for the over-arching body to undertake the function of regulating all the specialised fields in a vast country like India.

The panel suggested to form an over-arching commission which would work as a coordinator with the specialised bodies like UGC, AICTE and NCTE, as a workable formula under the overall supervision of the Commission.

The time and attention to be devoted to each aspect of higher education sector are too demanding and these cannot be effectively handled by a single body, the panel said.

"The creation of an over-arching body is also not considered a wise move as it is against the principles of management," the panel, headed by Congress MP Oscar Fernandes, said in its report.

Before bringing forth the legislation, it suggested that a study of the problems and areas of weaknesses in the existing regulatory bodies needs to be made.

On the issue of inclusion of medical research under the body which had created a stir, the panel suggested bringing the academic aspect only under it and leaving the medical research under the National Commission for Human Resources in the Health Bill.

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