Over the last few years, many a person has wished for the demise of the University Grants Commission (UGC). The latest is economist Arvind Panagariya, who this week called for a more “slender organization” in its place. Yet, the mammoth education regulator has managed to stay alive, not least due to the lack of a better animal.
Panagariya believes each university should be free to set its own curriculum. But freedom granted to the so-called “deemed” universities has only led to declining standards of education. And if the public sector has proved inept at educating people, the private sector’s performance hasn’t been sterling either: most of the deemed universities are, in fact, privately held.
This isn’t a defence of UGC. The commission has fumbled in every major area of the higher education set-up. But the problem isn’t with a regulator that performs the necessary checks and balances; it’s with the one we have now.