The Bills will address emerging challenges in the education sector. An Educational Tribunal would also be constituted, Mr. Sibal said.
Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal has said that four Bills connected with higher education, including one on setting up a national education tribunal, will be tabled in Parliament on Monday to address emerging challenges in the education sector.
Mr. Sibal, who dedicated the headquarters of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) campus here on Saturday, said that the education tribunal would be constituted to resolve disputes in the field of education.
The main task of the tribunal would be to resolve issues related to regulation, accreditation, quality of education and admission process. Many disputes would crop up with increased participation of the private sector in higher education and there was a need to set up tribunal at the national, regional and State levels, he said.
For quality education
In order to ensure quality education and transparency in the system, a Bill on National Accreditation Authority would be introduced. The Bill envisages constitution of the authority to process the accreditation of higher educational institutions. “We need to inform the world that we are ready to change and compete with the rest of the world. The accreditation is compulsory for existing and new educational institutions and universities,” Mr. Sibal added.
To increase the percentage of graduates from 12 per cent to 30 per cent by 2020, there was a need to set up 800 new universities and 35,000 to 40,000 colleges across the country, he said. The authority would monitor and assess the quality of education in all these institutions. Many new universities had been set up at the State-level and the State governments had to set up a mechanism to assess the quality of education, he said.
A Bill would be introduced to “open our doors to foreign education providers.”
The entry of foreign education providers would enable establishment of centres of excellence, joint ventures with foreign universities, and faculty exchange programmes, he said.
“We have to change the environment,” Mr. Sibal said and added that accreditation helped build centres of excellence.
NAAC Director H.A. Ranganath, University Grants Commission Chairman Sukhadeo Thorat, Higher Education Secretary Vibha Puri Das, and many educationists attended the programme.
Government’s initiatives on higher education reforms will be put on fast track as four bills, including one on allowing entry of foreign universities to the country, are expected to be introduced tomorrow in Lok Sabha.
The other bills relate to checking of malpractices by educational institutions, setting up of a national accreditation agency and having specialised educational tribunals to adjudicate disputes in campuses.
According to the list of business slated for Monday, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal is expected to move the four bills.
The Cabinet has cleared the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill on March 15. The bill seeks to allow entry and operation of foreign universities in the country.
The major provisions of the bill are conditions like Rs. 50 crore as corpus fund to be deposited by the aspiring institute to be allowed to operate.
Each institute will have to be registered with the University Grants Commission (UGC) or any regulatory body in place at the time of registration.
The bill has a provision under which the government can reject an application of a university if it feels that the venture will have an adverse impact on national security.
Provisions of Section 25 of the Companies Act will be applicable for the foreign institutes. Under this provision, they cannot take the profit back, but will have to spend the amount for further expansion of the institutions here.
The bill was hanging fire for over four years owing to opposition from various quarters, including the Left parties, over certain provisions. Last year, it was referred to a Committee of Secretaries which brought modifications to some provisions which existed earlier.
Mr. Sibal will also introduce Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and University Bill, which was approved by the Cabinet in March.
Duping students by charging capitation fee or failing to keep promise of quality education could attract a fine of up to Rs. 50 lakh for errant institutes or imprisonment up to three years for its administrators, it says.
The bill seeks to consider such practices as criminal or civil offences depending on the nature of the crime.
Mr. Sibal will move the Educational Tribunal Bill which provides for setting up of tribunals to settle all types of disputes, including any type of malpractice or harassment of students.
The fourth one is the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill. The proposed agency will assess and accredit institutions of higher education to ensure high standards.