Kapil Sibal, the HRD Minister in UPA 2.0, has been going around saying a lot of things about his plans for India's higher ed system. These plans include allowing foreign universities to operate in India and replacing UGC and AICTE with a unified higher ed regulator.
Here's a report by Pallavi Singh about the regulator. This sentence, however, betrays the level of thinking that has gone into the flurry of policy pronouncements:
The ministry, headed by Kapil Sibal, will instead create an independent National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), which will take over the academic, accreditation and financial functions of the regulators.
My first reaction was to go "WTF?" How would the system become different if "academic, accreditation and financial functions" of the present regulators are bundled together into the exact same functions of the new mega-regulator?
Unless one is clear about which of the existing policies are dysfunctional, fancy talk about replacing one set of agencies with another is not going to help, because the new mega-regulator will likely have the same set of people running it.
Talking about one of the dysfunctional policies, and the kind of people who implement them, here's an example of what I'm talking about:
The committee has also suggested that for standardisation of fee, the state government set up a fee fixation panel which will consider all aspects of cost and the quality of education and suggest an ideal fee structure.
There is also another suggestion that the government may set up a national fee fixation committee which will suggest admission and tuition fee for the institutions.
However, the fee structure of each of the 125 deemed universities will vary from each other depending on their facilities.
"There cannot be a uniform fee structure. Depending on the quality and facilities, the fee will vary," Thorat said.
If the 'deemed' universities are private institutions that took no government help (like land, start-up grants, teacher salaries), and are expected to be self-financing, what good does a fee cap do?