Strengthening Higher Education Sector
The Government had constituted a Review Committee headed by Dr. Hari Gautam, former Chairman UGC to review the working of the University Grants Commission (UGC). The Committee had submitted its report. The process of reforms has already been initiated in the UGC. Significant funding reforms and regulatory reforms have been undertaken with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of regulatory mechanisms of the UGC.
The Central Government has launched several initiatives viz. National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), Impacting Research, Innovation & Technology (IMPRINT), Uchchtar Avishkar Yojna (UAY), Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) in the field of education for the qualitative development of education in the country. Under the NIRF, Educational Institutions will be ranked by an independent ranking Agency for which objective criteria has been developed. They shall be ranked separately in fields such as Engineering, Management, Pharma, Architecture etc.
Under the IMPRINT initiative, the Government has taken the initiative to address major engineering challenges through the collaborative efforts of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian
Institute of Science (IISc). Under this, a roadmap is finalised to pursue engineering challenges in ten technology domains that have large social impact. The objectives of UAY scheme are to promote innovation in IITs addressing issues of manufacturing industries; to spur innovative mindset; to co-ordinate action between academia & industry and to strengthen labs & research facilities. GIAN scheme is for facilitating partnership between Higher Educational Institutions of the country and other countries. The scheme is aimed at tapping international talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) undertakes maintenance of standards in teaching and research and quality assurance in Universities, Deemed to be Universities and Colleges through the following mechanisms, namely: framing regulations and schemes and disbursing grants to the eligible institutions. The UGC has notified several regulations with the objective of sustenance and improvement in the quality of higher education and for undertaking academic reforms. The regulations are available at http://www.ugc.ac.in/page/UGC-Regulations.aspx. In order to encourage research and development in the country, UGC has laid out schemes, awards, fellowships, chairs and programmes under which financial assistance is provided to institutions of higher education as well as faculty members working therein to undertake quality research covering areas of knowledge across disciplines including revival & promotion of indigenous languages. These schemes are at http://www.ugc.ac.in/page/XII-Plan-Guidelines.aspx . Further, UGC has notified Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) for enhancing student mobility and providing a wider choice in subjects and for facilitation of quality education through innovation and improvements in curriculum, teaching-learning process, examination and evaluation systems; notifying a credit framework for skill development for aligning skill education with formal education and launching several skill development schemes; enhancing the coverage of scholarships/fellowships; incentivizing quality; undertaking equity promotion on a wider scale; strengthening university-industry linkage; process reforms; student centric initiatives etc.
This information was given by the Minister of State (HRD), Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey today in a written reply to a Lok Sabha question.