Headed by former UGC chairperson Hari Gautam, the panel has said any “reshaping or restructuring “of UGC “will be a futile“ exercise and even amending the UGC Act won't help much. Instead, it has recommended the setting up of a national higher education authority through an Act of Parliament. It has also prepared a draft of the bill, but said till the time such a body is set up, the ministry can bring about changes through executive order.
For instance, it has suggested a national research aptitude test for admission to Ph.D and doing away with 10 years as professor criteria to become vice-chancellors. It has also stressed teaching of yoga and transcendental meditation. Sources said, “The recommendations are far-reaching and will be looked into seriously. “ A two-volume report on UGC submitted by a panel set up by HRD minister Smriti Irani says the commission is “plagued in the main by reductionism in its functioning“. It further states, “It (UGC has side-stepped its function of being a sentinel of excellence in education, and embraced the relatively easier function o funding education.“
The report has specifically pointed out that the UGC staff is unhappy as only “few find favour and are delegated with powers to perform in important areas while many of them are left out with hardly much to contribute“.
“It is said that they are pushed around through an element of fear and threat. The overall impression is that there is a man-made crisis which seems to be the cause of un healthy ambience and poor performance of UGC,“ the report said, adding there should be pay parity with central government employees. Advising reform from the top, the committee has said UGC chairperson “should be advised to strictly keep a vigilant track of the various performance areas of the commission and assess contributions at all levels“.
It has further recommended that the chairperson spend more time in his “seat“rather than go around the “country and the world on occasions that have not much relevance for the system he governs“.
The panel has pushed for the chairperson to be held accountable and “his performance be assessed once after three years and then at the end of his tenure of five years by a committee constituted by HRD“.
Slamming the appointment of “all kinds of people“ as UGC members, the report said, “Eminent educationists or men of eminence in any field should have been the natural choice, but at times it is observed that businessmen, hotel owners and even readers in colleges have been made members.“
Source | Times of India | 1 April 2015