It recommends a National Commission for Higher Education and Research
NEW DELHI: Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday said it would be his endeavour to implement the report of the Yash Pal Committee within 100 days.
Expressing concern over the “character and value” of the mushrooming deemed universities, engineering and management colleges – “which are mere business entities dispensing very poor quality education” – the Committee to Advise on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education, headed by Professor Yash Pal, has recommended the establishment of a National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) as an advisory body responsible for comprehensive and continuous reforms in higher education.
To reduce possibilities of interference, this Commission should be established as a central statutory body through a constitutional amendment and, subsume the existing regulatory bodies such as the University Grants Commission (UGC), the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) and the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the report suggested.
All of higher education cannot be detached from general education. Professional education cannot be detached from general education. It would be, therefore, imperative that all higher education, including engineering, medicine, agriculture and law be brought within the purview of a single, all-encompassing higher education authority.
Rather than acting as bodies giving licences to professional institutions, professional bodies such as the AICTE, the NCTE, the Medical Council of India, the Bar Council of India, the Council of Architecture, and the Pharmacy Council of India should be looking at whether the people who wish to practice in their respective fields are fit to do so.
They should conduct regular qualifying tests for professionals in their respective fields. Universities should be made responsible regarding the academic content of professional courses, the committee said.
The report expressed hope that the proposed Commission would also act as a facilitator and catalyst for joint programmes between different universities and institutions.
Further, recommending that universities should become self-regulating partners in managing the overall education system, the committee said continuous monitoring and inspections caused delays and led to corruption.
Asserting that the NCHER would respect the autonomy of universities and not enforce uniformity, the committee stressed on management system within a university while pointing out that some of the best-run central universities, Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management could show the way to others.
Importantly, the committee favoured the idea of inviting from abroad a substantial number of potentially great academics and scientists to work with students and teachers here.
Receiving the final report of the Yash Pal Committee, Mr. Sibal hoped that there would be consensus on the recommendations.