Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is responsible for development of human resources. It implements policies for regulation and promotion of quality education in the country.
- Department of School Education and Literacy
- Department of Higher Education
Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) is the highest policy making advisory body with wide representation, to advise the central and state governments in the field of education. It is chaired by the HRD Minister.
University Grants Commission (UGC), a statutory body under the UGC Act 1956, works under the MHRD and is responsible for coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of higher education. It has the authority to grant recognition to universities and colleges.
National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is an autonomous organisation charged with the coordination of assessment and accreditation of higher education institutions (HEIs). It was established in 1994 by the UGC. MHRD has started giving autonomy to institutions on the basis of their NAAC score.
NAAC is only a coordinating agency, and accreditation for higher education institutions is overseen by 15 autonomous statutory bodies, each one of which oversees accreditation in its respective field. These bodies include – AICTE (for technical education), DEC (Distance Education Council), ICAR, Bar Council of India (for law), Medical Council of India (for medical education), etc.
All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) is a statutory body for managing technical education in India. Its role is only advisory. According to a 2013 judgement by Supreme Court, the AICTE Act and UGC Act provisions give AICTE no such authority which can empower it to issue or enforce any sanctions on colleges affiliated with the universities. Its role is only to provide guidance and recommendations.
National Board of Accreditation (NBA) works under the AICTE, and accredits technical programmes (not institutes) such as in engineering and management. NBA is a full member of the Washington Accord – an international accreditation agreement for professional engineering academic degrees, that allows qualification from a country to be valid and acknowledged in another member country.
National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) is a methodology adopted by the MHRD to rank institutions of higher education in India. The exercise of rank publication is done annually, and it uses parameters such as resources, research, and investor perception for ranking institutions.
Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) is a joint venture of Canara Bank and MHRD for creation of high quality infrastructure in premier educational institutions.
National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER)
NCHER is a proposed body that would subsume the existing complex structure of regulatory bodies, to create an all-encompassing regulator for higher education. Its creation was recommended by the Yashpal Committee 2009 (on renovation and rejuvenation of higher education).
In June 2017: Govt announced that AICTE and UGC would be scrapped and a new body HEERA (Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency) would be formed to ease excessive regulations.
In June 2018: A new draft law proposed the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) to replace the UGC. HECI would oversee the regulation of academic standards, while the grants function will be overseen by the MHRD.
Schemes and Initiatives of MHRD
Schemes related to School Education and Literacy
Samagra Shiksha is a flagship programme aimed at all round development of school children of all classes, including senior secondary levels and pre-school levels. The scheme is a result of merger and extension of the former schemes Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (for classes 1 to 8) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) (for classes 9,10).
Mid Day Meal scheme provides a cooked mid day meal to children upto class 8 in all government aided schools, and other supported educational institutions including Madarsas/Maqtabs. The intention of the scheme is to enhance enrolment, retention and attendance in school, while simultaneously improving nutritional level among children. The programme first started in 1995 as the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE), and its provisions and coverage were gradually extended over the years.
For minority educational institutions, there are schemes for infrastructure development and support, and for strengthening their capacities in teaching of formal curriculum subjects like Science, Mathematics, Language, and Social Studies – so as to enable their students to attain standards of the national education system.
MHRD also supports Adult Education schemes for promoting literacy and employability enhancement skills among the adults non-school going populace. These schemes are implemented in association with voluntary organisations (NGOs), and include: Sakshar Bharat, Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSSs), State Resource Centre.
Schemes related to Higher Education
Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a centrally sponsored scheme (CSS) launched in 2013, aims to improve the overall quality of state higher education institutions by providing them strategic funding – on the basis of critical appraisal of State Higher Education Plans that describe each state’s strategy to address issues of equity, access and excellence in higher education. RUSA would create new universities and model colleges, and provide infrastructural support to the existing universities and colleges.
Central Sector Interest Subsidy Scheme, 2009 on Model Education Loan Scheme of IBA – Under this scheme, interest subsidy is provided, for the period of Course duration + 1 year, on education loans taken by students belonging to economically weaker sections. The education loan should have been taken under the Model Education Loan Scheme of Indian Banks Association, which provides collateral free and third-party guarantee free loans upto 7.5 lacs for professional and technical courses.
Technical Education Schemes:
- Sub-Mission on Polytechnics under the Coordinated Action for Skill Development
- Scheme of Apprenticeship Training
- Support for Distance and Web Based Learning (NPTEL)
- National Digital Library
- Technology Development Mission
Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMM-NMTT)
The PMMM-NMTT, launched in 2014 as a central sector scheme, aims to comprehensively address all issues related to teachers’ training and education across the educational spectrum ranging from school education to higher education including technical education. It aims to create and strengthen the institutional mechanisms of teachers’ training across the country, and take appropriate interventions and periodic assessment to improve teachers’ quality.
Full scheme document pdf 28 pages here.
Categorisation of Universities for Grant of Graded Autonomy Regulations 2018
In March 2018, UGC granted graded autonomy to 60 institutions, by dividing them into categories, on the basis of their NAAC score, and/or NIRF rank. The autonomy is with regard to starting new courses, new departments, off-campus centres, and academic collaboration with foreign institutes without seeking nod of the UGC. This is a landmark step that was taken on the recommendation of the Arvind Panagariya Committee on Reforms in Higher Education.
Critics argued that autonomy may lead to capture of universities by market forces, and social sciences courses that do not serve the industry might get marginalised as government withdraws funding.
More initiatives at a glance:
- Swayam platform – for higher education open online courses – MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses).
- Swayam Prabha initiative – to provide educational channels through DTH.
- Saksham scheme for higher education scholarship for economically weaker differently abled students.
- National Digital Library (NDL).
- DIKSHA portal – for Teachers’ training.
- ShaGun portal – monitoring of school education development initiatives.
- AISHE – All India Survey on Higher Education
- IMPRINT India is an effort to direct research in the premier institutes into areas of social urgence.
- Uchchtar Aavishkar Abhiyan – to promote industry-specific need-based research so keep up the competitiveness of Indian industry in the global market.
- Rashtriya Aavishkar Abhiyan (RAA) – to promote science in schools, by developing science labs and organising related activities.
- GIAN – Global Initiative for Academics Network – brings together faculties across the world.
- TEQIP 2016 – Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme.
The report of the committee on renovation and rejuvenation of higher education (Yashpal Committee 2009) has recommended protecting the intellectual autonomy of educational institutions and the creation of an all-encompassing National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) to replace or subsume the existing regulatory bodies.
National Testing Agency (NTA) is an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation that conducts entrance examinations for higher educational institutions. From 2019 onwards, NTA is the conducting authority for NEET exam (for entrance into medical undergraduate courses).
Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA) has the responsibility to manage and regulate admission to tertiary institutes administered by the government of India, including IITs, NITs, IITs, and other government funded technical institutes.