Dravidar Kazhagam convened a seminar on ‘New Education Policy’ promoted by the NDA Government led by BJP on 12th July 2018 at Periyar Thidal, Chennai.
Many educationists of eminence, academicians with long innings in the field of educational administrations addressed the seminar. The excerpts of the contents of their delivery:
Dr.K.Veeramani, Chancellor, Periyar Maniammai Institute of Science and Technology (PMIST), Vallam, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu: Since 2014, calculated move of falsifying history and fabrication of scientific facts have been systematically carried out, right from Prime Minister down to field level cadres. In the name of upkeeping the tradition, Gurukul system of education is encouraged. Lateral entry of gurukal educated students into the main stream higher secondary education is allowed recently. In the name of heritage, without any basis, undue importance is thrust on Sanskrit language which has never been a spoken language.
The damage likely to be caused by these retarding measures will not only affect the current generation of students but the posterity too.
Prof. Dr.A.Ramasamy: Former Vice Chancellor, Alagappa University, Karaikudi and former Vice Chairman of Higher Education Council, Government of Tamil Nadu.
The recently announced bill viz. Higher Education Commission of India Bill, 2018 is likely to cause heavy damage to all the universities. HECI Bill in case gets through will replace University Grants Commission. HECI seems to be not having any autonomous status. The grant releasing power is vested with the Ministry of Human Resource and Development which will create politicisation in the allocation of grants to universities.
Prof. Dr. P.Jagadeesan: Former Vice Chancellor, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli.
Education must be devoid of religious favour. The texts of any religion must be distanced while framing syllabus for schools and colleges. True to the letter and spirit of Indian Constitution, educational syllabus has to be secular in the content. HECI, mooted by the present BJP government will damage further the present system of higher education.
Dr. P.B.Prince Gajendra Babu: General Secretary, State Platform for Public Schools:
Education has been made a marketable commodity in the neoliberal economic environment. The subject of ‘education’ has been covered under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) controlled by World Trade Organisations (WTO). India being the member country of WTO proactively gave its acceptance on ‘education’ under GATS prior to the formal signing of the Agreement by the member countries. The move will enable opening the flood gate for the entry of foreign universities in India.
Prof. Dr. M.Shanmugam: former Professor, Institute of Correspondence Course and Continuing Education, Madras University presented a detailed note on the observations of the draft on Higher Education Commission of India Bill, 2018, the brief of which has been published in the next page. The seminar was attended by many students, teachers and persons of public concern from all walks of life.
SALIENT OBSERVATION ON THE DRAFT HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION OF INDIA BILL, 2018
- Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) draft and UGC ACT 1956 are identical except for two things:
– HECI has no power for funding, but can have interaction with Minister of Human Resources Development (MHRD) for Funding. It has to get prior approval for major decisions.
– HECI can impose fine or prosecute under Criminal Procedure Code Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) for violation of its directive.
– UGC is autonomous within the UGC Act, 1956.
- What is the grant-giving entity? Will it be created separately by MHRD? Or will it be part of MHRD?
It has not been clarified either in the draft HECI bill or in the clarification notice. What is the official link between the regulator and grant-giving entity? All the regulations framed by HECI are to be approved by the parliament as proposed in the draft bill. Similarly, should all the recommendations of the grant – giving entity be approved by the parliament? So it is seen that neither of the bodies is autonomous. The irony is that a non-autonomous body is proposed to replace an autonomous body (UGC).
- i) The HECI Bill 2018 (if passed in the parliament) may attract a lot of litigations in several courts of law since it has a lot of contradictions and inconsistencies not only within the act but also with the earlier rulings in the courts.
- ii) ‘Higher Educational institution’ means colleges which have been granted power to award degrees / diplomas by the commission. Colleges are not awarding degrees / diplomas.
iii) Establishment of the Commission: It has Chairperson, Vice Chairperson +12 members (3 Government Secretaries + 2 Chairpersons, AICTE and NCTE +2 Chairpersons of accredition bodies-NAAC/NBA +2 Vice Chancellors +2 Serving Professors +1 doyen of industry). All these members are appointed by Central Government. There is no adequate representation to about 800 universities and 4000 colleges spread over India. There is no elected members as in the case of Medical Council of India and Bar Council of India. It is not an autonomous body. The regulations and rules framed by HECI should get prior approval of the government. It looks like a section of MHRD.
- iv) Functions of the Commission: It takes measures to promote autonomy and graded autonomy. There cannot be a University without autonomy. Actually it looks like curtailing autonomy.
- a) Provision for mentoring of institutions found to be failing in maintaining the required academic standards and ordering closure of institutions: It is the greatest threat to HEIs and creates a sense of constant fear. State Government institutions may also face closure. It affects the State Government role in higher education. So federal system of governing becomes dead.
- Application for grant of authorization: All the existing HEIs including the 3 oldest universities (Madras, Kolkota and Mumbai) established in 1857 have to apply to HECI using an online e-governance module for grant for authorization with documents / photos about availability of land, required infrastructure, teaching-learning facilities; the faculty details and other details prescribed from time to time. The data will be verified by the Commission in the manner laid down so as to establish its authenticity. If found to be false or incorrect, the application may be rejected and debar further application for a period up to 2 years. The perpetuity of the universities and their seals (as guaranteed by the act of the universities) is under question. It looks the govt has arrogated to itself the power to close any HEI at any time.
- Penalties for non-compliance: If any institution violates the rules and regulations or fails to comply with the directives of the Commission, the Commission may impose a penalty on such institution which may include fine (the maximum amount is not fixed), or withdrawal of power to grant degrees / diplomas or direction to cease operations. If the Chief Executive and other members of management of such institution do not comply with the penalty, they shall be liable for prosecution under Criminal Procedure Code. This is the most objectionable clause in the draft bill.