Panel to discuss higher education regulator bill Friday

New Delhi, June 17 (Calcutta Tube) An education advisory panel will meet here Friday to take a final decision on a draft bill aimed at creating an apex regulator for higher education in the country, human resource development (HRD) ministry sources said Thursday.

The Central Advisory Board on Education will discuss the draft bill on National Commission for Higher Education and Research – an overarching body which will oversee higher education, sources said.

‘The CABE will now take up the bill (NCHER). Once it is approved, we will move further,’ an official from the ministry said.

CABE is the highest advisory body to the central and state governments in the field of education. The two-day meeting which will conclude Saturday is also likely to take up critical issues like the proposed education finance corporation.

The NCHER bill aims at creating an overarching body which will oversee higher education in the country. Sources said the bill will be presented during the monsoon session of parliament.

The draft bill which has faced opposition from many states will be placed before the council for recommendations. Once approved by the CABE, the draft bill will be submitted to the government for final decision.

The council will also take up a proposal on the National Education Finance Corporation which proposes the creation of a corpus to give education loans at low interest rates.

The central government is expected to ask states for contributing to the corporation which will have an initial corpus of Rs.5,500 crore.

The NCHER bill is being presented to the council with some changes following recommendations from the states. Many states had opposed the bill saying it is against the federal character of government.

‘There are some changes which increase the power of state governments, it will now be discussed in the meeting,’ an official said.

Among the changes, the central government has proposed setting up a council of state representatives which can veto the decisions of the commission with a two-thirds majority.

The bill has faced opposition as the HRD ministry is pitching for bringing higher education in the fields of medicine, law and agriculture under the commission.

Presently, these branches are not under the HRD ministry. The move has faced stiff resistance from health and law ministries. With agriculture being a state subject, a constitutional amendment will be needed for bringing it under NCHER.

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