In what will be a major step in the education policy of the Narendra Modi government, the Ministry of Human Resource Development is working on a proposal to restructure the University Grants Commission (UGC) by repealing the Act of 1956. Essentially, the proposal would seek to downsize the role of the UGC, particularly its role in financing institutions. In its restructured form, the UGC will be primarily responsible for maintaining and improving standards of education in universities.
Though the UGC in its present form as a statutory body came into existence in 1956 with the passing of the University Grants Commission Act, the roots of the organisation can be traced back to the early 1940s, when British were discussing measures to be taken for promoting Indian education. It resulted in the establishment of the Central Advisory Board on Education on post-war educational development in 1944. The coming to being of the advisory board in itself was a product of various committees and reports that came into existence over decades since the mid-nineteenth century to decide upon the nature of education that needs to be imparted to the Indian people.
Since the formation of the UGC in 1956, it has been given the responsibility of determining and maintaining the standards of higher education to be imparted in the country, recognising universities as also allocating funds to them. As the HRD ministry finalises the proposal to restructure this age-old governing body of higher education in India, here is a quick look at the history of everything that led to the formation of the UGC.