NEW DELHI : 82-year-old Prof Yashpal and his committee members
have, in their report to the Ministry of Human Resource Development,
suggested the scrapping of all higher education
regulatory/monitoring bodies and creation of a super regulator : a
seven-member Commission for Higher Education and Research (CHER).
The committee in its
final report, submitted to the
Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on June
24, recommended that the deemed university status be
abandoned and that all deserving deemed varsities be
either converted full-fledged universities or scrapped
-- and a GRE like test be evolved for university
The committee said a plethora of regulatory bodies like
UGC, AICTE, NCTE et al be replaced by a
seven-member Commission for Higher Education and
Research (CHER) under an Act of Parliament. It has also
recommended, obviously to buffer the new regulator
against political pressures, that the position of
chairperson of the proposed commission be analogous to
that of election commissioners.
It also said that the jurisdiction of other regulators
-- Medical Council of India, Bar Council of India and
others -- be confined to administrative matters, with
universities taking up their academic responsibilities.
Finalised on June 22 given to HRD Minister Kapil Sibal
on June 24, the report said that IITs and IIMs should be
encouraged to diversify and expand their scope to work
as full-fledged universities.
The panel also proposed a national testing scheme for
university admissions on the lines of GRE open to all
aspirants and to be held more than once a year.
The proposed CHER, the report said, should first
identify India's 1,500 top colleges to upgrade them as
universities and then create clusters of potentially
good colleges to evolve as universities. Also, all
levels of teacher education should be brought under the
purview of higher education.
Expressing concern on the mushrooming of engineering and
management colleges, that had "largely become business
entities dispensing very poor quality education",
Yashpal committee lamented the growth of deemed
universities and called for a complete ban on further
grant of such status. Existing ones, the committee said,
should be given three years to develop as a university
and fulfil the prescribed accreditation norms.
Raising doubts about the source of funding of private
education providers, the committee said mostly it was
either "unaccounted wealth from business and political
enterprises or from capitation fees". It said the system
of conferring academic designations as chancellors and
vice-chancellors to members of the promoter's family
should be done away with. They should
submit to a national accreditation system. However, the
committee underlined the need for private investment in
The committee has also criticised the UPA government’s
policy of setting up IIMs and IITs indiscriminately,
saying that mere numerical expansion, without any
understanding of symptoms of poor education, would not
Terming the government’s indiscriminate establishment of
educational institutes as a “nervous and hurried
response”, the panel said in its report: “Creation of a
few institutions of excellence and some Central
universities, without addressing the issue of
deprivation that the state-funded universities are
suffering from, would only sharpen the existing
The committee found that many private educational
institutes in the country deny full salaries to their
teachers and indulged in “unethical practices” of
impounding certificates and passports of its faculty.
With respect to the fee structure, the committee said
many private institutions charged exorbitant fees,
beyond the prescribed norms and were unable to provide
even minimum competent faculty strength.
An institution working with the motive of profit did not
have the right to be called a university, the committee
Recommending curricular reform, the committee said
teachers should have the freedom to design courses and
students should be able to study subjects outside their
Of the seven members of the proposed CHER, one should be
an eminent professional from the world of industry.
Chairperson and members should be selected by a
committee headed by the PM, Leader of Opposition and the
Chief Justice of India. Commission will have five
divisions dealing with future directions, accreditation
management, funding and development and new
institutions. An eminent individual should head each
division for five years, the committee suggested.
met on June 22 to adopt the 43-page final report.
The committee has, in its interim report, suggested
"creation of an all-encompassing Commission for Higher Education, a
central statutory body to replace the existing regulatory bodies" like the
University Grants Commission, the Medical Council of India, All India
Council for Technical Education, NCTE et al.
The proposed autonomous statutory body will comprise six members and a
chairman appointed by the President. State Higher Education Councils,
along the lines of
those existing in West Bengal, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, will form
the second tier of the system.
Taking a firm stand against the liberal granting of deemed university
status by the UGC in recent years, the Committee recommended that
approval for deemed
universities be stopped forthwith. Further, all existing ones must
submit to new accreditation norms within three years failing which
they ought to lose their deemed university status.
There has been considerable misuse of Section 3 of the UGC Act that
frames the guidelines for according deemed university status, the report states.
“In the last five years, 36
institutions, excluding RECs, have been notified as deemed
universities, raising concerns that a majority of these institutes are
not established with any educational
purpose,” the interim report report states. From 1956-90 only 29 institutions were
permitted, whereas 63 institutes have been granted deemed university status in
the last 15 years.
The committee has stressed the need for more attention to
under-graduate programmes and a multi-disciplinary approach to
The IITs and IIMs, “which are bright spots in the otherwise dismal
higher education scenario” should, while keeping intact their unique
features, expand their
academic reach to include the humanities and arts, and function as
The committee recommends that all research bodies connect with
universities in their vicinity, and that all universities combine teaching
Pointing to the practice of private managements running educational
institutions as profit making enterprises, the committee stressed the
need for “different layers of institutions” in the sector, including
state-run, private and those established under public-private
On the contentious issue of the entry of foreign universities, the
committee strikes a cautious note. “Giving an open license to all and
sundry, carrying a foreign
ownership tag to function like universities in India, most of them not
even known in their own countries, would only help them earn profit
for their parent institutions
located outside or accrue profit to the shareholders. Such
institutions must give an Indian degree and be subject to all rules
and regulations that would apply to any
Indian university,” the committee states.
AICTE chiefs defend their forts
: On April 6 the University Grants Commission (UGC) and
the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) expressed
reservations on the
the Yashpal committee which
suggested dismantling of regulatory bodies in higher education.
The UGC has said that reforms, rather than closure, is the need of the
Responding to the recommendation of the Yashpal Committee, appointed
by the commission to suggest reforms in higher education, UGC chairman
Sukhadeo Thorat has reportedly said that efforts should be to identify
and plug existing loopholes in the AICTE and the Medical Council of
India rather than dismantling them.
The committee headed by former UGC chairman Yashpal had suggested
that all the regulatory bodies should be scrapped and a higher education commission
be set up to monitor different aspects of higher
education. But this idea did not get support from the UGC and the
AICTE at a consultation meeting held here on April 6 to discuss the
major recommendations of the committee on “Renovation and
Rejuvenation of Universities.”
AICTE chairman R A Yadav maintained that the Yash Pal Committee should
go into the details of the functioning of the regulatory body before suggesting its replacement.
The recommendation to set up a higher education commission was first
made in 1964 Kothari Commission and was subsequently discussed at several
meetings of the Central Advisory Board chaired by Human Resource
Development Minister Arjun Singh.
Single autonomous body
It was also suggested by Knowledge Commission headed
by Sam Pitroda who was
in favour of a single autonomous body to regulate all education.
In his recommendations to the Prime Minister, Pitroda said the current
system “is over-regulated but under-governed” and there was a “clear
need for an independent regulatory authority for higher education (IRAHE).”
The IRAHE, Pitroda added, must be at an arm’s length from the
government and independent of all stake-holders, including the
government. The Knowledge Commission suggested that the IRAHE could be
set up by an Act of Parliament and would be the only agency authorised
to accord degree-granting power to higher education institutions. It
would be responsible for setting the criteria and deciding the entry
and would apply the same norms to public and private institutions.
The Yashpal committee in its interim report had suggested that the
higher education commission would create appropriate norms, processes
and structures for accreditation of institutions providing higher
education -- both general and professional.
It also called for doing away with the deemed
university system, divesting professional course regulators like the AICTE and the Medical Council of India of all academic functions and
expanding IITs and IIMs to fullfledged varsities.