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NCHER to replace UGC, AICTE and NCTE

Rajendran Puthiyedath

Kochi, Feb 08, 2010 : The countdown has started for the central legislation for the formation National Commission for Higher Education and Research ( NCHER ) which will replace the University Grants Commission ( UGC ), All India Council for Technical Education ( AICTE ) and the National Council of Teacher Education ( NCTE ). The Union ministry for Human Resource Development has published the draft bill in its website intended for public reference and open discussion.

It is apparent that the NCHER bill is drafted in keeping in mind the recommendations of the Yashpal Committee to advise on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education and the National Knowledge Commission chaired by Sam Pitroda. A Task Force was constituted by the central government by an order dated 7th September, 2009, consisting of the following members.

1. Prof. M. Anandakrishnan, Chairman, IIT Kanpur & Former Vice Chancellor, Anna University, Chennai.

2. Prof. M. K. Bhan, Secretary, Deptt. of Bio-Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India.

3. Begum Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, Chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANNU) and Member, Planning Commission.

4. Dr. Narendra Jadhav, Member, Planning Commission & Former Vice Chancellor, University of Pune.

5. Prof. Goverdhan Mehta, National Research Professor and Chairman,  National Assessment and Accreditation Council, Bangalore.

6. Prof. N. R. Madhava Menon, Member, Commission on Centre-State Relations Government of India.

7. Prof. Mrinal Miri, Former Vice Chancellor, North Eastern Hill University.

8. Joint Secretary (Higher Education) - Convener .

The NCHER will have a Chairperson and six members. All matters concerned with higher education including granting of approval of institutions, deemed universities, research etc will be taken up by the NCHER. The main feature of the draft bill is that the NCHER will keep a National Registry of eminent academicians eligible to be considered for the post of Vice Chancellors of universities. After the enactment of the law , if a university requires a vice chancellor, it has to write to NCHER which in turn will refer it to the Collegium to be formed under it. The collegium will suggest a list of five persons to the university from which the varsity may select one. The Collegium will consist of Fellows, Core Fellows and Co-opted Fellows. The National Registry is kept by the Commission from the names recommended by central,state governments, universities and other institutions of higher education.

The Commission will consist of a Chairperson and six other Members. The office of the Chairperson and three other Members shall be whole-time and salaried. The Chairperson and the other whole-time Members will be scholars being persons of eminence and standing in the field of academics and research possessing leadership abilities, proven capacity for institution building and governance of institutions of higher learning and research. The Members other than the whole-time Members shall be persons of eminence with high academic credentials with proven contribution to economic and social development and experience of engagement with institutions of higher learning and research.

The Chairperson and other Members shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a Selection Committee consisting of —

(i) the Prime Minister, who shall be the Chairperson of the Committee;
(ii) the Speaker of Lok Sabha; and
(iii) the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha;
(iv) the Union Minister in charge of Higher Education and
(v) the Union Minister in charge of Medical Education

A person appointed as Chairperson and other Members will hold the office for a term of five years from the date on which they enter upon office, provided that whole-time Members shall cease to hold office on attaining the age of seventy years.

The salaries and allowances and the status and other terms and conditions of service of the Chairperson of the Commission will be the same as that of the Chief Election Commissioner. The salaries and allowances and the status and other terms and conditions of service of the whole-time Members other than the Chairperson will be the same as that of an Election Commissioner.

A  “Collegium” will be formed consisting of core Fellows and co-opted Fellows, being persons of eminence and integrity in academia in higher education and research. No person shall be eligible for appointment as a Fellow of the Collegium unless he -
(a) is a citizen or an Overseas citizen of India; and (b) has made substantial contribution to the advancement of knowledge demonstrated through publications which are internationally acknowledged and peer-reviewed.

A core Fellow of the Collegium shall be a person (a) who is, or has been, a National Research Professor; or (b) who is a recipient of the Nobel Prize or Field Medal; or (c) who is a recipient of the Jnanpith award; or (d) who is a Member of an Academy of international standing.

The co-opted Fellows will be chosen by the core Fellows, to represent each State and each Union Territory from a panel of five persons of comparable eminence and integrity in academia in higher education and research recommended by the Government of each such State or Union Territory.

Every co-opted Fellow shall be appointed in the manner provided considering the following.

1. The qualifications of and the contribution made to the advancement of knowledge demonstrated through publications or other scholarly activities, of every person in the panel of names recommended by each State Government or Union Territory, as the case may be, shall be made available on the website of the Collegium, for scrutiny of the core Fellows until the day of co-option.

2. The core Fellows will to coopt to the Collegium, one person, from among the panel of five persons recommended by each State and Union Territory, to represent each such State or Union Territory, in the same manner as provided for election of a person to the Council of States. It is also specified that no Fellow shall receive any remuneration except sitting fees or allowances for attending the meetings of the Collegium.

Read the full text of the Draft Bill

UGC employees' concerns conveyed to Task Force

Bar Council  boycotts NCHER meeting

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