Teachers oppose HECI

The All India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (AIFUCTO) has planned to hold a nation-wide protest against the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Bill on July 19.

Various teachers’ organisations held a meeting in the city on Sunday under the aegis of AIFUCTO, which has called for a protest on July 19 and later a protest at Parliament Street in Delhi on August 3. “The future course of action will be taken at the national executive meeting to be held on August 4,” said AIFUCTO general secretary Arun Kumar. “We strongly believe that repealing of the University Grants Commission Act to constitute the HEC will not serve its purpose. The proposed Bill deviates from the UGC only on two counts: it empowers the Commission to take penal action against erring institutions and it takes away the fund disbursing powers from the Commission,” an AIFUCTO statement read.

The Bill claims to focus on ‘less government and more governance’ but taking away the power to disburse grants and vesting it with MHRD will lead to ‘more government and less governance’ leading to direct interference in academic matters, Mr. Kumar said.

He welcomed the State government opposing the Bill but said AIFUCTO was upset that the State had paved the way for private universities. Similarly, the Bill claims to promote autonomy of higher education institutions but the powers of the commission to even micromanage learning outcomes of courses will seize autonomy instead, he said. AIFUCTO is against uniform standard and curriculum across the country as it will not represent our diverse culture, he added.

AIFUCTO’s national secretary S. Subburaju said, “The UGC had proved that it is a vehicle for higher education improvement. From a mere handful of universities and a few dozen colleges after Independence, we have grown to 850 universities and over 60,000 colleges despite the perennial lack of funds for UGC.”

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