Regulator in education

It is argued that education sector in India needs its own regulator at the centre just like other sectors such as telecommunications have. Examine why and also discuss issues arising out of this move. (200 Words)

Independent Regulators, such as TRAI for telecom or CERC for electricity have become necessities for any country with increasing private sector participation. Having an Education regulator will also help, in the following ways:
  1. Poor quality of education: Substandard teachers and infrastructure in schools and colleges especially those provided by the govt, has become rampant.
  2. Growth of private sector: 45% of the children and 63% of higher education students study in the private schools and colleges. They need to be regulated as malpractices are coming to light.
  3. Incapacity of States: States are not able to properly utilize funds either due to unwillingness or corruption.
Role to be played by the regulator:
  1. Administrative role: It would lay down standards for private and govt schools and institutions.
  2. Quasi-judicial role: Complaints against service providers w.r.t extortion of fees, fraud etc. can be made here.
  3. Facilitator: The regulator can ask the institutions whether govt or private to follow certain practises to ensure good quality of education and incentivise them when necessary.
  4. Assessor of quality: Affiliation to AICTE, UGC and other school boards is merely a formality. The regulator can assess the quality and take suomoto action.
Challenges
  1. In the past several similar education regulators like MCI, UGC have been accused of indulging in corruption
  2. Lack of complete independence makes them vulnerable to political control leading to mediocracy, and thrusting of ruling party’s viewpoints.
  3. A single one-size-fits all policy throughout the country may not work
  4. Legal issues- As NEET, the common medical test was quashed by the SC. The regulator for all, could also face similar issues.
No system is perfect. Yet, as the Improved services in regulator bound electricity and mobile telephony has shown us, that, if adequate precautions are taken, a regulator could indeed turn the tide for the better