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HECI Act Draft Feedback – ACT NOW!

 
students_protest.jpeg
 
(For Hindi, click here.)

Dear friends, as you may have heard by now, the Government of India has set up a draft proposal to repeal the UGC Act, scrapping the UGC as a regulatory body and establishing a new regulatory body called the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).

Needless to say, such an act has far-reaching repercussions for higher education in India.

The Union HRD Minister, Sri Prakash Javadekar, has urged all members of the concerned public to respond to the proposed draft of the HECI within the 7th of July, 5 pm.

 

This is a very short time span, but we have prepared a set of responses laying out the problems of the draft, strongly opposing the same. We believe that by withdrawing financial powers from the regulator and handing them over to the central government, and by giving the HECI unilateral and absolute powers to authorise, monitor, shut down, and recommend disinvestment from Higher Educational Institutions, the Draft Bill will expose higher education in the country to ideological manipulation, loss of much needed diversity as well as academic standards, fee hikes, and profiteering (you can read the full draft of this response here).

WHO does this concern? Any member of the general public with an interest in higher education in India, especially students looking to study in colleges and universities in India and their parents; teachers working in both universities and colleges, including research scholars looking to enter teaching in the near future.

WHY is this important? Because this might be the end of affordable public higher education in India, affecting MILLIONS of students and their futures.

HOW can you help? Simple. Join us in sending Sri Javadekar feedback!

THIS CAN BE DONE IN FIVE EASY STEPS, taking 2-3 mins of your time!

  1. Open your email, and COMPOSE a new email. In the subject field, paste: FEEDBACK FOR DRAFT HECI ACT 2018.
  2. In the to field, paste: reformofugc@gmail.com
  3. Click here. Press the copy button on top right, or simply copy (CTRL + C on Windows; COMMAND + C on MAC).
  4. PASTE the copied text in the body of your email (CTRL + V on Windows; COMMAND + V on MAC).
  5. Hit send, and you’re done!

 

HELP us engage in a democratic process! This affects MILLIONS of students and future generations in India!

(Image used in the page courtesy Indian Express. No commercial use or copyright infringement intended.)

 

220 thoughts on “HECI Act Draft Feedback – ACT NOW!”

  1. The mode of revamping UGC and the intent of the policy draft on HECI do not match. Greater control by govt on education is not what will resolve issues but rather greater autonomy to colleges with greater financial support.

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  2. Need of hour ,is to improve the quality of existing pattern , not to , start from the new.
    This is the destiny of our nation , that we try to start from the bottom, instead of improving the lapse.

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  3. It is a most regressive measure and needs to be resisted with all force. It is strange that this government, instead of making the education sector more autonomous by way of providing proper budgetary allocation, is actually conspiring with the vested interests, to destabilize and dilute the very spirit of education by snatching away all democratic rights and conventions to render the process of education, aimless and disoriented. The souls of all great persons who fought for independence of our country and for autonomy of education must be turning in their graves. Government, hands off!!

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  4. What is being proposed by replacing UGC by HECI is fully in conformity with the style of functioning the incumbent government. Its striking feature has been only to cause disruption and dismantle.
    So far it has been busy only in this activity.Higher education and UGC is the latest one to be disrupted.
    This move has to be opposed with fortitude.

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  5. I hope Govt. must have some plan to improve higher education in replacing UGC. To avoid corruption there should not be descriptionary powers to anyone. Everything should be specified while disbursing funds.

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  6. If direct government involvement is encouraged, it automatically falls prey to ruling party politics which ultimately danger to the autonomous which is fundamental requirement to grow education democratically, scientifically and socially unbiased.

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  7. Dear Sir,

    There is an old saying- it may take decades to build an edifice but only a sleigh of hand to bring it down. If you cannot find this saying on the net it would mean I have made it up. Who said so is however, quite beside the point for the only issue is: is it true or not.

    This is how I look at the MHRD decision on clipping of the wings of the UGC and set up, in its place, a more draconian outfit to concentrate the real power in its own hands. It is true that most of our universities and the UGC have failed to catapult higher education to level of excellence. Our universities, by and large, do not figure on the international scene. The question is what to do about it.

    The most important prerequisite to setting about the task of addressing the issue is to diagnose the malady which afflicts it before venturing on to a treatment. The question is who can carry out this diagnosis, not a high power committee in my view. The only people who can do so are the stakeholders, the faculty and the students. All others are peripheral component only. This cannot be done unless we outgrow our penchant for high power committees and ask each university, the faculty and the students, not the vice chancellor or the registrar, to identify the malady. What would they like their universities to delver in terms of education, personality development, sports and co-curricular activities. Next, set about identifying the stumbling blocks that inhibit the attainment of the goal. Finally, spell out the steps to overcome those stumbling blocks.

    Sounds easy but it is not. It presages a need for an open and intensive dialogue within the faculty and student community and then across between the two. It is after this that the administration should be brought into the picture to discuss the pro and cons of the administrative measures suggested by the stakeholders, the faculty and the students.I have spent all my working life in a university as a teacher and I do not notice any evidence in the faculty or the students that this question even rankles their minds. If not anything else it is a sign of our getting conditioned to stagnating in the mud that our education has become. Most of us have now consigned our faculties to imagine and fly in a sort of permanent hibernation. This has not happened in a day or a year…Thanks to the ever increasing assertion by politicians vide the government, the stakeholders preferring submission to confrontation to diktats as a much easier way to buy peace and ensure their career. The UGC also did not lag behind in usurping the autonomy of the universities leading to complete role reversal- the UGC suggesting way to excellence and the universities making a beeline for cornering the funds…No cause for surprise if my discussion looks patchy. It is a long story that should come out of discussion and consultation among the stakeholders and I have no intention of even try coming out here with the entire narrative on the issue.

    Let me instead tell you why I think of the decision as no more than an attempt to bury. once for all, the need for freedoms in campuses and assume an authoritarian role for the MHRD on the issue.. The attempt may best be described as an epitaph to be engraved on the grave of excellence in higher education. If it is really concerned about it then the first thing it should do is to relinquish the position of telling the universities that this what we want you to do and instead empower them to think out the issue and tell the MHRD what to do. And please do not talk of any uniformity. Let every university bloom in its own way. The very idea of uniformity is an anathema to flourishing of ideas and imagination.

    Thanking you very much for lending your ear to me,

    K B Garg
    Former Professor of Physics
    University of Rajasthan
    Jaipur

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      1. I very Strongly appose the move to detach government from higher education and i appeal to reconsider its decision.

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  8. UGC is in existence for quite a long time should not be defuncked and bring about another organisation ,but UGC has to be
    Revamed with much more committed & effecient staff to help the higher education institution instead of being lethergic in there attitude

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  9. First of all, it’s very short time to give any opinion and why are you in hurry after all its matter of higher education not buy vegetable from shopkeeper.
    Off course it’s affect to all students those are doing and upcoming too. But my opinion is that please give a good time to every one for their opinion, suggestions and feedback.
    Secondly, what’s wrong in UGC it was working well before your government let me informed you that my college Gagan College of Management of Technology, Aligarh has been sanction four Minor Research Project in 2015-2016 but still we are not getting any grant.
    So, for the sake of only name no need to change its better to change its director those are not doing anything.
    I hope my opinion will considered.
    Every single person who is associated with UGC wish to give their opinion so please give a good time.

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  10. The intention of creating new regulatory body , scrapping UGC is not to improve education but to gain greater control on higher education to meet political ends . In the efforts to politicize the fixation, the government seems to have lost focus on development of Human Resources . I strongly object to the proposed change.

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  11. The intention of creating new regulatory body , scrapping UGC is not to improve education but to gain greater control on higher education to meet political ends . In the efforts to politicize the higher education and devide society , the government seems to have lost focus on development of Human Resources . I strongly object to the proposed change.

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  12. Ugc is the best for teachers, students allthe rules and regulation are good and they fulfill all goal of education thankyou

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  13. Why politics in Education? If we want India on top of the world in any field than please remove the political force in education. We need UGC.

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  14. acording to my RTI information pri summition of phd in urdu is allready in other university but rtm nagpur university is not knowe the urdu subject officiet HOD of urdu is not no urdu pri-summition on 27 feb 2017

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  15. Many states have appreciated Indian education systems,our scientists and Technocrat’s are working in NASA, silicon valley,IITians are brand of export to US, poor and middle class has affordable higher education accessible, under UGC . Pl. don’t destroy approved system for Modijis corporate masters. Posterity will never forgive the systematic destruction of our institutions . What is the necessity for a change.?. For whom it is?

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  16. In person, I always appreciate good reforms. But regarding , reforms in education, I hope the policy makers should first work on resolving the various existing problems/issues in education and of the education providers, at root level. Then should focus on reforms step by step. Scrapping everything and reforming the new act at a stretch may creat a chaos and confusions.

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  17. Against Constitution of India.Govt.centralised every department to PMO . This is dictatorship.I am history researcher & i read Hitler .

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  18. IndiaMany states have appreciated Indian education systems,our scientists and Technocrat’s are working in NASA, silicon valley,IITians are brand of export to US, poor and middle class has affordable higher education accessible, under UGC . Pl. don’t destroy approved system for Modijis corporate masters. Posterity will never forgive the systematic destruction of our institutions . What is the necessity for a change.?. For whom it is?

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  19. HECI, if implemented,will cause an educational downturn , an unstoppable decline at all levels and the next generation will remember it as Higher Education Corruption of India

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  20. UGC in its present form is doing a good job. With transparency and efficiency, it can do a great job. Replacing it gives suspicion about government intentions when the government has pressing matters in all other fields.

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  21. The name UGC has world wide reputation. The UGC served independent India over decades and brought the Higher education to the comman public. The name become famous for its excellent functions. Now, it is meaningless to change name UGC. We request all political parties , please dont play with people emotions.
    We humbly requisting not change the name UGC.

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  22. To
    Sri Prakash Javadekar
    The Honourable Union HRD Minister
    Government of India

    Sir

    This is my humble response to your grand plan of replacing University Grants Commission, a body regulated by experienced Educationists, by a Higher Education Council, dominated by officials who have less knowledge about academics. Better governance and compliance are assured by decentralization, not by centralization.

    It is very commendable that our country aims for inclusive education, which has led to the opening of many new Universities and deemed universities run by the government or private bodies. The infrastructure of all these universities is neither uniform nor their locations equally conducive to promote excellence. But inclusion means offering opportunities to more number of aspirants and definitely as per their caliber and aspirations.

    Education is not only about making the students employable. The larger aim of education is preparing the mind by firing the imagination of the students and encouraging them to think freely and independently. If the academic institutions do not have academic freedom, then it is hard to believe how they will promote freedom of thought amongst the young generation.

    The Government provides funds to the Central and State aided Universities and Institutions. The Government definitely has the right to monitor whether the fund is being utilized for the purpose it is granted. The Governments may have schemes to promote areas of study and research. But how that aims are to be met, is definitely the prerogative of the academic community. In fact, there should be more participation of the academic community, not only from the premier Institutes but also from the second tier institutes, in decision making. How that can be done, whether by including them as members in committees more or through blog, is up to the Government.

    The recent efforts at rolling out compulsory uniform curriculum for both general disciplines (Science, Arts and Commerce) as well as technology, with little or no academic freedom to Universities, will only lead to deterioration of academic standing of this country, which was known to produce great academics in the past. Moreover, Institutes have very little choice in choosing their faculty members, the number and qualifications being stringently fixed by the Government that funds them. This makes the selection of another C.V. Raman, in any University today, impossible. Such minds will also look for more academic freedom.

    It must be remembered that academicians of premier institutes have a different responsibility from the non-premier ones. They promote excellence among a set of students who are selected through a stringent selection process. Their curriculum will definitely be different from those of the Universities who have to cater to a bigger and more diverse student population. No single curriculum can benefit all. If the focus of this curriculum is only on promoting excellence then employability and development of skill sets of the masses will suffer. If the aim of this uniform syllabus is to make our education system geared only towards employability, then we will thwart the pursuit for excellence. Even in USA, whose model we are trying to emulate, there are Universities of different grades and purposes, with different curriculum. Equality does not mean equality in curriculum. Equality in academics means catering to the taste and ability of the student, equality in opportunity to make the most in life.

    Unfortunately, in the race to earn a degree and gain a passport to the world of employment, our education system has become only examination oriented. This is evident from the mushrooming of coaching and tutorial centers all over the country. This trend has become almost institutionalized. The student is only learning skills to crack an examination based on Multiple Choice Questions. There is little test of hands-on skills. There is no test of the proficiency of the mind, its ability to solve the problems of real life based on the knowledge gained. The major lesson of life remains unlearned. The proposal to introduce a uniform examination to test the competence of a fresh graduate may be useful provided it does not make the Examination system of the Universities redundant and dilute their importance. This effort at standardization through multiple examination processes will only lead to more dependence on Examination based rote learning.

    The knowledge we impart has become superficial too. The semester system has a large role to play in this. It only eats into the time to learn by squeezing in another month long semester examination. What is suitable for a campus based learning where all the facilities are available over twenty-four hours, is not conducive to institutes whose hours of instruction are limited to seven to eight hours a day. These institutes are the ones that mould majority of the student community of India. Moreover, we are forgetting that many of the students have to commute long distance to come to their institutes. This leaves little time for them to study at home. Unless they get a longer period to learn a subject, it becomes very difficult for them to assimilate what has been taught. It becomes increasingly difficult as there is a tendency to frame the semester based syllabus by cramming in what should be taught in a whole year.

    A case in point is the recently published syllabus of under-graduate studies in general subjects as per the Choice Based Credit Systems (CBCS). Not only the contents are unmanageable in a single semester, they are impracticable. To top it, the infrastructure needed is also too ambitious. No ordinary college with limited financial means will be able to provide for laboratories with such State-of-the Art equipment. What is possible for a premier institute with abundance of financial support is not possible for colleges in remote areas with limited physical and human resource. Naturally, such common syllabi will only daunt these institutes. Funds, if available, may provide the physical infrastructure. But it will need a consorted effort over a very long time to train the faculty members of these remote colleges and institutes to learn to handle such modern equipment and pass on their training effectively to their students. Till such time, it will be impossible to make justice to the new curriculum.

    Again, if the premier Universities have to adhere to the prescribed syllabus they will not be able to fully realize their mission and vision. Since we focus a lot on the Mission and Vision of any institute during any accreditation process, it is much better to grant more academic freedom to all academic institutes. Some institutes may need some hand holding by their affiliating Universities/bodies. But those who have earned reputation should be given the freedom to exercise their own discretion in finalizing the syllabus. In fact, it was the submission of the Planning Commission, which now stands dismantled, that in order to promote excellence in education more autonomy has to be granted to the academic institutions. Too much centralization does not promote natural flowering of academic bodies. There may be some centralized guideline in order to bring in some uniformity. Therefore, the role of the Government is to provide guidance, not regulate indiscriminately.

    There has been serious curtailment of research scholarships for non-premier institutes. It is a known fact that a faculty can carry out research with the help of assistance from research scholars. Research will inevitably suffer. The maturing of a faculty member into an effective teacher depends largely on his/her research experience coupled with teaching, not teaching alone. This has been admitted by putting much emphasis on research output of academic institutions. If India has to emerge as a nation with many innovative ideas that can be patented or claimed as Intellectual property, the research funding in the form of research scholarships and research infrastructure must go up in the budget. If we compare our budget with that of China, the difference between their research output and innovative practices and ours, becomes apparent.

    The University Grants Commission may have its short comings. The HRD ministry should streamline the working of the already established institutions like UGC, not completely dismantle it and start a process which is not time tested. Education, like health, is a very important pillar of nation building. If the pillar is not strong enough, the entire structure will crumble.

    As an academician, who has served the education sector passionately for almost thirty years, participating variously in teaching, research, framing of curriculum and academic administration, my humble request to you is not to bring about a drastic change that will fell the large banyan of education at one blow.

    Thanking you
    With regards

    Sudakshina Kundu
    Ex- Professor, Maulana Abul Kalam University of Technology, West Bengal,
    (Formerly West Bengal University of Technology)
    Residential address: 20/1/2 Ballygunge Place
    Kolkata – 700019
    Email:skundu_fin@yahoo.co.in

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  23. in sab ko sirf facility chahiye but kam nahi chahiye. ye Jitne v hai sab 20,000/- ke layek h . ye sab koi kam ke nahi hai. aaj ager students kuch kar rahe h to apne abilities se kar rahe h. en ko sirf payesa chahiye.

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  24. UGC ust improve the regulation the University giving permissions to so many self financing courses such as Microbiology, Biotechnology, BBA,BCA, at under graduate level with fees with minimum 15,000 to 30,000 fees the management is money centric and giving very less salary to faculty so think over such type of courses the University and state govt does nt give such type of permission to initiat the couses and if give then 50% fees spend expenditure on faculty salary

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