The Parliament is preparing to introduce a bill for the establishment of a sole higher education regulator in India, as outlined in the Higher Education Commission of India Bill (HECI), proposed in the new National Education Policy (NEP). The NEP emphasizes the necessity for a comprehensive overhaul of the regulatory system to revitalize the higher education sector.
However, the bill will not encompass medical and law colleges within its purview.
According to Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, the bill will have three major roles: regulation, accreditation, and setting professional standards. However, the fourth vertical, pertaining to funding, will not be covered by the HECI bill, and the autonomy for funding will remain under the purview of the administrative ministry.
Upon enactment, the bill is anticipated to supplant the University Grants Commission (UGC), the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), and the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE). The UGC currently governs non-technical higher education, the AICTE is responsible for technical education, and the NCTE functions as the regulatory authority for teacher education.
Furthermore, according to Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, the HECI bill will soon be introduced in Parliament. However, even after its introduction, the bill will undergo scrutiny by a standing committee, a crucial step to ensure a thorough examination and refinement of the proposed legislation before it becomes law.
In 2018, a draft bill titled the “Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill” was made available to the public for input and discussion. This bill aimed to replace the UGC Act and establish the Higher Education Commission of India. Upon becoming the Education Minister in 2021, Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan redoubled efforts to advance the implementation of the HECI bill.