State govt. to oppose draft HECI Act

The Tamil Nadu government has decided to oppose the draft Higher Education Commission of India Act, 2018 proposed by the Centre. It would strongly argue for continuing with the existing system in which the University Grants Commission (UGC) is the apex body for controlling higher education in the country.

The decision was made at a meeting of senior Ministers, including Higher Education Minister K P Anbalagan and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar, and officials chaired by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami at the Secretariat here on Friday.

The State government’s stand would be communicated to the Centre latest by Monday, informed sources said.

During the discussion, it was felt that the functions of the UGC founded in 1956 were satisfactory and a change would bring in new challenges in higher education, a source said.

“As per the new proposal, some functions would remain with the UGC and aspects relating to funds would be vested with the Union Human Resource Development Ministry, which our government realises is unnecessary,” a cabinet member said.

Educationists’ take

Inputs received from eminent educationists from across the State showed that they were also against the Higher Education Commission of India Act and the Chief Minister was apprised of the same.

At the meeting, Higher Education Secretary Sunil Paliwal made a presentation on various aspects that would be split between different panels if the new proposal by the Centre came through. Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and senior Ministers, Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan, were among those present in the meeting.

The Union HRD Ministry prepared the draft Bill in June seeking to repeal UGC Act and provide for setting up of Higher Education Commission of India for improving academic standards and the quality of higher education. The draft has been placed in public domain for comments and suggestions.

The Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Prakash Javadekar has appealed to all educationists, stakeholders and general public to furnish comments and suggestions by July 20 on the draft Bill.

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