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AICTE-UGC merger to form new body to look after higher education standards in India

The new merged entity Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) and Professional Standard Setting Bodies (PSSBs) of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and University Grants Commission (UGC) will look at the standards of higher education institutions in the country.

According to Moneycontrol report, there will be one single regulator National Higher Education Regulatory Authority (NHERA) for the higher education sector and there will be bodies under it to look into quality maintenance of institutions.

Once UGC and AICTE are merged newly merged bodies will called as the Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) and Professional Standard Setting Bodies (PSSBs) will be set up.

Role of PSSB :

  • PSSB will be responsible for looking into upholding and maintaining standards of higher education in the country.
  • This includes conducting regular checks at institutes to ensure that all facilities (academic curriculum, faculty, research activity) as well as infrastructure is up to the mark.

At present UGC maintains the standards in university education across the country and AICTE serves as an accreditation body for engineering, management, hospitality and other technical institutes across the country.

No inspections are conducted by regulators, due to which there are quality concerns at several higher education institutions.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry is keen to address these concerns because they want to attract more international students to the country.

After the UGC and AICTE merged the new quality maintaining body is likely to identify regions, courses and institutes that need to be looked at on a regular basis. There would be incentives for maintaining the standards while there could be disincentives for poor quality institutes.

Earlier also the AICTE-UGC merger but had been sent to the cold storage due to a lack of unanimity among the two entities on what will the new entity’s role be. However, the National Education Policy (NEP) has mandated this merger which could be implemented in FY21.

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