Pramath Raj Sinha in Mint: UPA's Man On A Mission To Transform Education:
The most far-reaching reforms are being attempted in higher education. Sibal envisions that India’s abysmal 12% gross enrolment ratio may be taken to a respectable 30% by 2020. Some 1,500 universities will be required for the task, and for its own part, the Centre is planning to start 16 Central universities, eight new Indian Institutes of Technology and seven new Indian Institutes of Management while 14 innovation universities have been proposed. And to catalyse this rapid growth and encourage well-meaning private players, he is also attempting a bold regulatory regime.
The proposed National Council for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) will do away with the current University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education. Reports suggest that both legal and medical higher education will be brought under NCHER, removing them from the aegis of the Bar Council of India and the Medical Council of India. Complementing NCHER, there will be a National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for higher educational institutions—the associated Bill was just tabled in Parliament.
Once enacted, it will mandate institutions of higher education to obtain accreditation from an approved agency, potentially ensuring a pan-India global standard. Presently, accreditation is voluntary. As a result, fewer than one-fifth of colleges and fewer than one-third of universities apply. In addition, the ministry of human resource development is also looking at creating an Education Finance Corporation, with a corpus of Rs20,000 crore, to provide aid to projects and loans to students.