This debate is probably one of the most important debates as it concerns about the very dream we all have as freshers after 12th, undergraduate, parents (to give our children a better higher education, get a good job in India or overseas) and to a great extent the government machinery that overlooks Indian higher education.
At the outset, I would agree with the proposal of change of UGC(University Grants Commission) and AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) to be replaced by a single apex body.
This move is not a surprise, for the change was on the anvil for some time, slow deterioration of the quality of education, poor implementation of guidelines with regards to private universities and distance education providers, too many overlapping areas of jurisdiction
Last year, there was a press release that UGC and AICTE would be replaced with HEERA (Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency). Now the new body's name is likely to be Higher Education Regulatory Council (HERC) or Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).
There are many reasons as to why I support this change and I will highlight briefly about each.
1. First, the time scale, UGC was born in 1956 with around 500 colleges (0.2 million students) and a meager 20 universities. The recent figures reveal that we have around 38,000 colleges (28 million students and around 726 universities in India. We need a fresh perspective in the Education sector, what are the demands of the employment sector, what are the standards set and what are the actual standards delivered. Over the last 60 years, the face of higher education has transformed completely, newer avenues have opened up that we would have never dreamt off ( for instance supply chain logistics, artificial intelligence, mechatronics), the prospective job market has also expanded (national players, MNCs, BPOs, ability to compete for jobs on the global platform). When you look at such key factors, it makes sense to think about a change in governance to keep up with all the above.