One Regulator for Higher Education : NEP Analysis – UPSC GS2

National Education Policy’s (NEP 2020) idea of a single common regulator for the entire higher education system is too monolithic in a diverse country like India.
Recommendation against multiple regulatory bodies in higher education:
  • National Knowledge Commission (NKC), 2007: finds higher education “over-regulated and under-governed” due to a plethora of agencies attempting to control.
  • Yash Pal Committee report, 2009:  identified that multiple regulatory bodies had become an impediment to the pursuit of excellence
  • TSR Subramanian committee: proposed to subsume all existing regulatory bodies in higher education.
  • Kasturirangan Committee, 2019: proposed a common regulatory regime for the entire higher education sector to eliminate “isolation and disjunction” in the form of National Higher Education Regulatory Authority.
Advantages of a common regulator as envisaged under the NEP:
  • Light but tight system: It envisages an overarching Higher Education Commission of Indian (HECI) with four independent verticals –
    • National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC),
    • National Accreditation Council (NAC),
    • Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) and
    • General Education Council (GEC).
  • Interprets healthcare education as an integrative system: offering allopathic medicine students “a basic understanding of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (AYUSH) and vice versa.
Problems of draft NEP 2020:
  • Complex regulatory structure:  While the NEP 2020 proposed a Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog (RSA) to coordinate, direct and address inter-institutional overlaps and conflicts, its structure is itself complex.
    • E.g. It creates an authority, three councils and a national commission with existing regulatory bodies and professional councils to continue to exist.
  • Does not subsume medical and law education: Medical education will remain fragmented –
    • For E.g. With the enactment of the National Commission for Homoeopathy (NCH) and the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM) and continuation of the Dental Council of India (DCI), Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) and the Indian Nursing Council (INC).
  • Issues with having a single regulator: May not be able to cater to the diverse disciplines of general, professional and technical higher education.
    • For E.g. It creates a uniform structure called Board of Governors to serve all different kinds of institutions across the country.

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