The report of the Prof Yash Pal-led committee on Rejuvenation of Higher Education may be the core of HRD Ministrys reform agenda,but the eminent academic is terribly disappointed with the way the most important of legislations for creation of an overarching National Commission for Higher Education & research (NCHER) is shaping up.
Speaking to The Indian Express,Prof Yash Pal said he was disappointed with the turf wars over the issue and felt that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must put his weight behind this crucial reform to see it through.
The committee had recommended creation of NCHER to replace multiple regulatory bodies in higher education University Grants Commission,All India Council for Technical education,Pharmacy Council,Dental Council,Bar Council and even Medical Council of India an idea earlier proposed by the PM-backed National Knowledge Commission. While both the committees proposed that medicine and agriculture be under the purview of NCHER,the Health and Law ministries are against it. Health Ministry wants a separate National Council for Medicine.
The basis of NCHER from the start was to have one single body for all disciplines so that the same is restored in universities also. IITs must be full fledged varsities and Indian universities should be able to offer course in agriculture,medicine or whichever discipline a student wishes to study. Separation of disciplines will defeat the purpose behind the reform. The PM must step in to correct this because its something that will not happen in another 50 years, Prof Yash Pal said.
The proposal that NCHER oversee all disciplines was backed by the task force that drafted the NCHER legislation and also by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) that is represented by education ministers of all states and educationists.
There is a turf battle on and not enough effort is being made… This is not really a HRD Ministry commission,it is going to be independent of it. It must be remembered that you cannot have medical education divorced from the study of Physics and Chemistry. This part of our report has not been appreciated and I feel I have failed, Prof Yash Pal said.
The task force is likely to submit a final version of the NCHER legislation next month. It is likely to be placed before Parliament in the winter session.