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Experts express reservations over proposed Higher Education Commission

Hyderabad: Members of the faculties of Arts and Social Sciences of Osmania University expressed their reservations on the proposed move to set up the Higher Education Commission of India by scrapping the University Grants Commission.

Participating in the workshop recently they held that reforms should be preceded by an objective and critical evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the existing system and should not become hostage to political and ideological considerations.

Members felt that instead of dismantling the UGC, a committee should be constituted to go into the shortcomings of the UGC and recommend remedial measures and possibly revamp it. They suggested decentralization for better results.

HECI should recognize and respect diversity and difference. Any attempt to “lay down uniform standards” and impose “uniform learning outcomes” is dangerous and disastrous in a multi-cultural country like India.

“Any attempt to enforce a ‘national curriculum’ overriding and ignoring local specificities will only alienate the learners from the learning process. Reform should take a holistic approach and address the needs and concerns of all the stakeholders, particularly those who are likely to be marginalized or left out as a consequence of the change.

Reforms should be undertaken from the perspective of a government and not from the viewpoint of a political party,” participants felt.

They further felt that if HECI is the remedy to the various ills of the UGC, then the cure is worse than the disease. A revamped, reinvigorated, decentralized UGC has better chances of succeeding than the overly centralized, politicized, and bureaucratized HECI.

The essential spirit of the idea of a university is that the State has an obligation to fund Higher Education and not use the grants as a tool to curb or control the autonomy of the institutions, the workshop opined. (INN)

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