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Modi government all set to scrap UGC, AICTE and replace them with one higher education regulator

Big-bang education reform is on its way – the Modi government is all set to scrap the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and replace them with one higher education regulator, tentatively christened Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency (HEERA).

The decision to go ahead with this radical change, long advocated by experts but never implemented, was taken after a meeting on education chaired by the prime minister in early March. If required, and since setting up a new regulator may take some time, amendments to existing rules will be considered as an interim reform measure.

Senior officials who spoke off record told ET that work is on at a rapid pace to frame the HEERA legislation. The human resource development (HRD) ministry and the Niti Aayog are working on the new law. A committee that has, among others, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and higher education secretary KK Sharma as members, is working on the detailed blueprint.

While the idea of replacing multiple regulatory authorities with a single and streamlined one is not new – several committees including the Yashpal Committee and the National Knowledge Commission of the UPA era and the Hari Gautam Committee set up by this government have recommended the same – the reform never happened.

 Since bringing in new legislation and repealing AICTE and UGC Acts may be a time-consuming process, interim measures are likely and amendments to these Acts and modification of UGC regulations are among options being considered.

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