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Moving Towards Common Higher Education Body, Committee Set-up to Merge AICTE & UGC

To take a step towards establishing a common higher education institution, the government has set up a committee to merge the UGC and AICTE offices. A joint body to oversee higher education institutions – Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) – was first proposed in 2018 and was one of the biggest transformations proposed under the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

Now, in a step in the same direction, a committee has been formed to prepare a roadmap for UGC and AICTE to work together as one regulatory entity. The first key areas to be merged include research and innovation, e-governance, translation of books into regional languages, and exam reforms. These operations were performed for technical colleges by AICTE and universities and colleges of non-technical backgrounds by UGC.

The decision was taken during a meeting of all bureau heads of the technical education and higher education supervisors. UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar, who is also the interim chairman of AICTE at the meeting, said: “After detailed deliberations, it was found that both UGC and AICTE should have a symbiotic relationship and work mutually on issues such as faculty development programs, students and teachers … induction program, skills development, internships, internationalization, taking two degrees simultaneously in physical, online, hybrid mode and the Indian system of knowledge and universal human values, among others,” said Kumar.

The government is expected to submit a bill to create HECI during the winter session of parliament. The HECI will become one overarching umbrella body for higher education, according to the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. All regulatory bodies, including the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), University Grants Commission (UGC) and National Council for Teacher Education ( NCTE) is merged into the HECI.

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A committee has been set up to oversee the merger. The committee headed by the President of the UGC includes, among others, the Vice-President of UGC and AICTE, the Secretary of the UGC and the Secretary of the AICTE members. Several subcommittees have also been established to oversee the transition in key areas.

Meanwhile, Anil Sahasrabudhe, who was previously the AICTE chief, has recently retired and has been appointed head of the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) – a single stop for technical interventions in schools and higher education institutions.

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