New Delhi: Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal said on Monday that the government wants all planned legislative reforms for education to be in place by the budget session of Parliament.
Reform Bills planned for introduction in Parliament include one to allow foreign educational institutions to set up campuses in the country. The Foreign Education Providers Bill would be sent to the cabinet soon.
Other legislation includes a Bill for establishing an overarching authority for higher education, called the National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER), and one to set up an independent accreditation agency for educational institutions. The HRD ministry also plans to bring legislation to check malpractice in education and set up tribunals that would settle disputes between staff and management.
“I want to introduce a whole lot of Bills in this session. But the Bill for setting up of the overarching body may happen in the budget session,” Sibal said at the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit. The budget session opens in February.
The proposed accreditation agency will set benchmarks for educational institutes and derecognize those that fail to meet them. The establishment of NCHER will complete the revamp of higher education, said Sibal. It would subsume the present regulatory bodies such as the University Grants Commission and the All India Council for Technical Education.
The minister said he is in discussions with Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, to have unique identification cards issued to primary school children to track their progress into secondary school.
Some speakers at the session addressed by Sibal said there was a need to encourage for-profit educational institutions. “We can trust the private sector to play a role in education,” said Shantanu Prakash, managing director of online education company Educomp Solutions Ltd.
But Sibal argued, “We cannot have companies that are listed on the stock exchange and have educational institutions and pay dividends to shareholders from the fees that parents pay in their institutions. We cannot allow education to be subject to risk factors.”
PTI contributed to this story.