NEW DELHI: The government is anticipated to submit the Bill to establish up an overarching regulatory agency for higher education — Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) — in the monsoon season of Parliament in July. The proposed panel will have authority to enforce academic quality standards and compel the closure of sub-standard schools. Non-compliance might result in fines or prison terms.
HECI is a crucial regulatory reform foreseen in the National Education Policy 2020 in which it was said that “the regulatory structure is in need of a full revamp in order to re-energise the higher education industry and allow it to thrive”.
The notion of an umbrella organization of regulators already predated the NEP 2020, when in June 2018 the government released a draft legislation dubbed, ‘Higher Education Commission of India Act, 2018 (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act)’.
As to the new education strategy, regulation of higher education “has been riddled with very fundamental flaws, such as significant concentrations of power within a few entities, conflicts of interest among these bodies, and a concomitant lack of accountability.”
According to the NEP 2020 and a draft being prepared by the Ministry of Education (MoE), HECI will have four verticals: the National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) as a single point regulator for the higher education sector; the National Accrediting Council (NAC) as a meta-accrediting authority; the Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC), which will handle higher education funding and finance; and the General Education Council (GEC), which would outline desired learner outcomes.