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FM Proposes to Set up Higher Education Commission of India, To be Implemented by Bill in 2021

Nirmala Sitharaman announces Union Budget 2021 in the Lok Sabha.

Nirmala Sitharaman announces Union Budget 2021 in the Lok Sabha.

There will be four structures set up as four independent verticals within one umbrella institution, the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).

New Delhi: The Budget 2021-22 in education has been dedicated to the implementation of the new National Education Policy 2020. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Monday that in 2021 the Higher Education Commission of India will be introduced in the Lok Sabha.

The NEP 2020 had proposed that for transforming the regulatory system of higher education HECI is going to be established. This will ensure that the distinct functions of regulation, accreditation, funding, and academic standard setting will be performed by distinct, independent, and empowered bodies. “This is considered essential to create checks-and-balances in the system, minimise conflicts of interest, and eliminate concentrations of power,” said the NEP.

There will be four structures set up as four independent verticals within one umbrella institution, the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).

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The first one, “Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC)” is expected to function as the common, single point regulator for the higher education sector to relook and repeal existing Acts and restructure various existing regulatory bodies.

The second vertical of HECI is going to be a ‘meta-accrediting body’, called the National Accreditation Council (NAC). “Accreditation of institutions will be based primarily on basic norms, public self-disclosure, good governance, and outcomes, and it will be carried out by an independent ecosystem of accrediting institutions supervised and overseen by NAC,” said the NEP 2020.

The third vertical of HECI will be the Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) to be set up for the purpose of funding and financing of higher education based on transparent criteria, and will also be entrusted with the disbursement of scholarships and developmental funds for launching new focus areas and programs.

The fourth vertical of HECI will be the General Education Council (GEC) to frame the expected learning outcomes for higher education programs. For this purpose the NEP proposed “A National Higher Education Qualification Framework (NHEQF) will be formulated by the GEC and it shall be in sync with the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) to ease the integration of vocational education into higher education.

The new regulator will be mandated to ease and identify specific areas that need work and empowerment with the aim of preparing well-rounded learners equipped with the 21st century skills.