The new merged entity 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.
Sources told Moneycontrol that while there will be one single regulator National Higher Education Regulatory Authority (NHERA) for the higher education sector, there will be bodies under it to look into quality maintenance of institutions.
Once UGC and AICTE are merged, new bodies called the Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) and Professional Standard Setting Bodies (PSSBs) will be set up.
"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," said an official.
At present, UGC helps to maintain standards in university education across the country. On the other hand, 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 ministry is keen to address these concerns, because they want to attract more international students to the country.
Once UGC and AICTE are 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, the AICTE-UGC merger had been sent to the cold storage due to a lack of consensus among the two entities on what will the new entity’s role be. However, the National Education Policy has mandated this merger which could be implemented in FY21.
After this, PSSB will be set up and there could be regional chapter looking at different streams of education and setting minimum deliverables for each institute operating in that domain.
What happens to the blacklisted institutes?
Both AICTE and UGC hold a list of blacklisted institutions that fall under their purview. Once both the bodies are merged, the 1,000 plus institutions that have been declared as 'unapproved' with be revisited again. A fresh list is likely to be created. Later, institutes who operate despite being blacklisted will be imposed with heavy penalties.