HEERA to Possibly be Dropped as Education Regulatory Reform

As the Modi government heads into campaigning for a repeat four-year term in power, it appears more than likely that they will drop setting up of the ambitious Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority (HEERA) as a single point of education regulation in the country. At the moment, there are various bodies like the University Grants Commission (UGC), the National Council of Technical Education (NCTE), and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) which have been granted the mandate of safeguarding the quality of education that is being delivered in institutions around the country. However, as more and more cases of spurious institutions and questionable practices by them have surfaced in the last few years, the government initially decided to centralize regulatory authority under a single organization that would be set up for this purpose.

While the HEERA Bill had been drafted and was to be presented to parliament in September, cold feet seems to have affected the initial impetus with which the the entire process was being pushed. Concerns were raised regarding budget and overall powers of this new body, and it appears that in the interests of causing a limited amount of upheaval to the existing status quo, the government has gone somewhat silent on this front. In fact, such a move to bring all regulation powers under a single entity was in the works under the previous UPA II government as well, but this too experienced similar roadblocks before finally being abandoned for the current set of practices. Once the upcoming elections have come and gone, and the dust finally settles, it will be interesting to see what further activity will be visible in this area, and what it will eventually amount to.

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