In New Delhi, the Indian government withdrew controversial legislation aimed at creating a higher education regulatory body like the University Grants Commission (UGC), the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), and the National Council for Teacher Education. Law Minister Ravi Shanker Prasad said that the Parliamentary Panel had objections to various provisions of the bill. ENewspaper of India says the basis of the bill was to determine, coordinate, maintain, and promote standards of higher education, to research improvements in agricultural education, and to create minimum standards for medical education.
Since it was introduced in 2011 by then Ministry of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal, it has been sidelined in deference to other crucial higher education reform bills.
“The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today gave its approval for withdrawal of the Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011 from Parliament (Rajya Sabha),” a government statement said.
A report by the India Education Bureau in New Delhi explained that the provisions that were objectionable should be restructured and strengthened, and long-awaited corrective measures should be taken.
The Economic Times quotes Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan as saying that India needs “a vibrant financial system which will finance businesses, which will create jobs for those who need them, and fund those who want to pursue a higher education”. He continued by emphasizing that providing skills to the working age generation would only come through improving education. Rajan is also concerned with providing food for poor households. He adds that India has the dividend of having a large workforce, but that the only way this dividend will reap benefits is by creating jobs.
Net Indian this week announced that the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narender Modi, approved the signing of a Joint Declaration between Ministry of Human Resource Development of India and the National Science Foundation of the United States to initiate a new program called the Global Initiative of Academic Networks in Higher Education.
This initiative aims at creating ways for scientists and entrepreneurs to engage with institutes of higher education in India to add to the country’s existing academic resources, to encourage educational reforms, and to further strengthen India’s scientific and technological capabilities.
The idea is for India to adopt newer methods of pedagogy; to infuse creativity and innovation-driven learning and professional rigor at an affordable price; to boost research in the newest technologies; and to build stronger academic networks between the US and India. US professors would travel to India to teach at Indian universities, would suggest research ideas on topics of mutual interest, and would develop international entrepreneurship programs though industry-oriented curriculum, which would inevitably create more employable workers.
This proposal also includes the development of a platform for US academics trained in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to teach in academic and research institutions across the country of India. Up to 1,000 professors and teachers from some of the best US colleges and universities will be assigned to specified Indian institutions.