Sibal's triple reform pill - Govt tells colleges to declare faculty & funding on web

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Delhi
  • Published 17.07.09
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New Delhi, July 17: Higher education institutions will have to place online details of their faculty and funding, deemed university fees will be regulated and teachers rated under sweeping measures to inject transparency approved today.

Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal this morning ordered a set of steps aimed at dramatically reducing obfuscation by institutions. The move came a day after the CBI raided offices of the country’s top technical education regulator, the AICTE, arresting a senior official and filing corruption cases against its chief.

Under the changes unveiled today, all higher education institutions will have to place online details, including qualifications and areas of specialisation, of their faculty members. They will have to disclose sources of funding — again on their websites — within three months.

The minister also approved long-pending plans to regulate fees charged by deemed universities. An independent body of experts will be set up to approve the fees.

Sibal ordered the formation of another panel of experts to determine the criteria for “benchmarking” teachers — effectively rating faculty members in higher education institutions by their performance for the first time ever.

“The decisions are dramatic. The idea is to empower students when they choose an institution. We must minimise the surprises that substandard institutions can spring on unsuspecting students,” a senior HRD ministry official said this afternoon.

The decisions are likely to be publicised by the ministry and a press statement may be put out late tonight.

Educational institutions can only be run by societies registered under the societies act. But most privately managed societies run multiple institutions.

In many cases, they rotate the same set of faculty members between the institutions, according to repeated complaints received by the ministry and the UGC from students and parents. “So instead of hiring the numbers needed, they rotate the same teachers. A new student feels he has dedicated teachers for every subject only to realise that he is being fooled,” an official explained.

Now, in three months, the true faculty strength and their qualifications are to be made available online so prospective students and parents can choose institutions. The ministry hopes the information will help them strengthen a law to penalise “educational malpractices” currently being drafted.

Deemed universities — now under the scanner for alleged violation of standards and malpractices — have consistently opposed any regulation of their fee structure.