Planning Panel [Niti Aayog] recommends structure for setting up Foreign University in India

It all started with a proposed full-fledged legislation, then a via-media route was found and Academic Collaboration Regulations was introduced in 2013, which also did not work out to be effective, now it is planned to be part of National Education Policy.

Ministry of Human Resource Development had sought opinion from NITI AAYOG on the issue of permitting Foreign Universities to set up campus in India. A similar question was raised in Parliament.

As opined by NITI Aayog and as submitted by HRM in response to a question in Lok Sabha, NITI Aayog has opined that the road map for the same would involve a four-fold effort viz., (i) raising educational standards and international benchmarking (ii) attracting investment in the higher education sector (iii) leveraging India’s soft power and (iv) strengthening regulation.

MHRD

 

 

It was also informed by HRM that University Grants Commission had proposed fresh regulations for promotion and maintenance of standards of academic collaboration between Indian and Foreign Educational Institutions with a view to streamlining its regulations in the matter.

In so far as the legal structure is concerned, this can possibly be done by:

a] Passing of a new legislation to regulate such Universities, the scope of UGC Act, 1956 presently can regulate Universities set up Central / State Legislature

 b] Possibly amending the UGC [Institutions Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2010 and allowing such Universities to start operation as Deemed Universities. This would also require amendment in UGC Act, 1956.

 c] Amending modifying the existing UGC (Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaborations between Indian and Foreign Educational Institutes) Regulations, 2012, relaxing the criteria for twinning arrangements between Indian and foreign institutions to permit joint academic programs.

It was also informed that States were also requested to give their views on this issue under the theme of “Internationalisation of Education” and all suggestions received from States and during other consultation processes have been sent to the Committee for Evolution of New Education Policy.

EduLegaL View

Foreign Direct Investment [FDI] is not a new term for any economy. In fact under the policy framework, the Indian government has allowed 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the education sector through automatic route. However, due to lapsing legislations, stringent regulations, the Policy has remained only a Policy and has not been exploited.

Higher education has suffered in India due to variable reasons, including quality, regulations, infrastructure etc. Resultantly, a large number of Indian students go abroad for their higher education. The entry of foreign universities will encourage competition, quality and will also provide locally the same international platform for Indian students, which are available outside.

“Brain Gain” and not “Brain Drain” is underlying manifestation of the proposed new Policy.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranking Framework for Universities released under NIRF

Ranking Framework for Universities released under NIRF

After releasing the Framework for Engineering Institutions on the day of launch of National Institutional Framework by MHRD, followed by Ranking Framework for Pharmacy and Architecture Institutions, MHRD has now released the framework for Universities and colleges.

India has a complex University / College Structure. Though UGC Act, 1956 defines University, as one established and incorporated under Central / State law, however it also empowers MHRD to recognize certain Institutions as Deemed University. This legislative provisions has ensured that we have Central and State Universities, which are funded / aided by Government. India also has Private and Deemed-to-be-Universities. The Central, Private and Deemed Universities are generally Unitary in character with schools in many disciplines, each of which individually offers all levels of degree programs: from Bachelor’s to the Doctoral. The State Universities are “affiliating” in character where there are several colleges, both undergraduate and post graduate colleges leading to a Bachelor’s / Master’s degrees (and some times Diplomas) in a variety of disciplines like Sciences, Arts, Engineering and others.

UGC, which is the regulator for Universities with a larger objective to improve ranking of Indian universities in World University Rankings appointed Expert Committee for developing a ranking system for colleges and universities based on National Institutional Ranking Framework developed by the Core Committee appointed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

UGC in recent communication to the Educational Institutions had urged the Vice Chancellors for personal indulgence and asked them to register their universities on NIRF portal and provide data as per the instructions. Universities were also requested to direct the colleges affiliated to the University to register, so that the national ranking could be made available to the students from the next academic session.

UGC highlighting the importance of participation in the Ranking Framework process said, “You may agree that providing the best learning experience in the ideal environment is the ultimate objective of every higher learning institution. The objective becomes all the more highlighted when institutions are constantly adjudged on the basis of excellence in teaching and learning, excellence in research, innovations and excellence in management. With regards to this, Ministry of Human Resource Development has come up with National Institute Ranking Framework for universities and colleges, which will evaluate them on quantifiable parameters leading to ranking of institutions”.

The National Institutional Ranking Framework [NIRF] outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country. The methodology draws from the overall recommendations broad understanding arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD, to identify the broad parameters for ranking various universities and institutions. The parameters broadly cover “Teaching, Learning and Resources,” “Research and Professional Practices,” “Graduation Outcomes,” “Outreach and Inclusivity,” and “Perception”.

NIRF is projected to enable parents, students, teachers, educational institutions and other stakeholders to rank institutions on basis of set objectives, in a transparent process.

EduLegaL View:

The Framework has come with clarification by way of statement, “ Thousands of institutions would volunteer themselves to the ranking exercise with an aim to assess themselves on the qualitative parameters…”

This is good, as till now it was appearing, as it was another mandatory participating process, burdening the Institutions. Now the Institutions can take a long breath. But the question is, will any Institutions even dare to ignore this “voluntary” request.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

 

Ranking Framework released for Pharmacy and Architecture Institutions

AICTE, under the aegis of MHRD has released the Parameters and Metrics for Ranking for Pharmacy and Architecture Institutions as part of the National Institutional Ranking Framework.

Earlier, MHRD vide Notification dated 09.10.2014, MHRD had constituted a Committee to suggest a National Framework for performance measurement and ranking of Institutions and Programmes conducted by the Institutions. The Committee was also asked to suggest organizational structure, institutional mechanism and processes for implementation along with time-lines of the National Ranking Framework.

The Committee was of the view that a single ranking framework for complex and diverse education scenario of institutions, as exist in India would be counter productive and meaningless. Hence it decided to follow apple-to-apple approach and proceeded to design a framework in which institutions belonging to different sectoral fields, such as Engineering, Management, etc. should be compared separately in their own respective peer groups. Comprehensive universities, which encompass a large number of academic programs including Arts, Humanities, Sciences etc., should similarly form a separate peer group for comparison. Resultantly, it decided to release Ranking Framework, Parameters and Metrics separately for each category of Institutions.

MHRD then formally, on 29.09.2015 launched the National Institutional Ranking Framework and also released the Parameters and Metrics for Engineering and Management Institutions.

Recently, AICTE, the regulator for Architecture and Pharmacy Education in India has released Parameters and Metrics for Ranking for Pharmacy and Architecture Institutions. The Framework provides that for the purpose of Ranking the Institutions will be divided two categories, first being engaged in Research and Teaching and second being engaged primarily in Teaching.

The Institutions will be assessed and ranked under five broad headings: (1) Teaching, Learning and Resources; (2) Research, Consulting and Collaborative Performance; (3) Graduation Outcomes; (4) Outreach and Inclusivity and (5) Perception.

MHRD has also rolled out participation in Ranking Framework for the Institutions, which are accredited/affiliated to the AICTE/UGC and has also made available a web-based platform the same. The process of submission and participation in the framework has begun from 2nd November 2015.

EduLegaL View:

I have always said that there exists body for assessment and accreditation in this country, like NAAC and NBA and hence MHRD should have attempted to integrate these processes instead of creating separate framework.

A closer look at the term of reference of the Committee, which designed this Framework, also includes, “Suggest linkages with NAAC and NBA, if any.”, as one of the terms of reference. I wonder what has happened to this term of reference.

The Administrators must understand that burdening educational institutions with continued and different assessment is not going to add to their quality, but will reduce their quality.

So where are we going? What are we trying to achieve?

 

‘Imprint India’- an IIT & IISC Contemporary Research Initiative to be launched tomorrow

IMPacting Research INnovation and Technology (IMPRINT), is a first-of-its-kind Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative to develop a roadmap for research to solve major engineering and technology challenges in ten technology domains relevant to India will be launched by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee  tomorrow (November 5, 2015) at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

It is a Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) project to address the major engineering challenges that India must address and champion to enable, empower and embolden the nation for inclusive growth and self-reliance.

IMPRINT India will focus on ten themes which have immediate social relevance, with each to be coordinated by one IIT/IISc, namely:-

(a) Health Care – IIT Kharagpur,

(b) Computer Science and ICT – IIT Kharagpur,

(c) Advance Materials – IIT Kanpur,

(d) Water Resources and River systems – IIT Kanpur,

(e) Sustainable Urban Design – IIT Roorkee,

(f) Defence – IIT Madras,

(g) Manufacturing – IIT Madras,

(h) Nano-technology Hardware- IIT Bombay,

(i) Environmental Science and Climate Change – IISc, Bangalore and

(j) Energy Security – IIT Bombay.

Before embarking on a real technology development mission, it is prudent to define the goal, create a strategy and draw a pragmatic roadmap. Hence this novel initiative, the first phase, comprises a twofold mandate of. Firstly it is about developing new engineering education policy. Secondly it is to create a roadmap including infrastructure readiness to pursue these selected challenges.

The idea of ‘IMPRINT India’ is based on suggestion that research done by institutions of national importance must be linked with immediate requirements of the society at large. The objectives of this initiative is to  (1) identify areas of immediate relevance to society requiring innovation, (2) direct scientific research into identified areas, (3) ensure higher funding support for research into these areas and (4) measure outcomes of the research effort with reference to impact on the standard of living in the rural/urban areas.

EduLegaL View:

It is a great step in pursuit of Research India, a really welcome one ! But I would like to see some more initiatives, which involve industry, private players in this domain. More of a Public-Private Initiative.

For the meantine, it is well begun !

Now, a law proposed to provide “Right to Skill Development” to Indian Youth

The Governing Council of NITI Aayog in its first meeting held on 8th February, 2015 decided to constitute a Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Skill Development to address issues pertaining to human resources, especially youth and to work on scientific methods on moving towards creating a pool of skilled manpower with speed, scale, standard and sustainability.

The focus of the terms of reference of the Sub-group was on strengthening State Skill Development Missions for integrated delivery; improving private sector participation in various aspects of skill development; expanding outreach of skilling programmes, mobilizing participation in skilling; career guidance and post training placement tracking and to suggest State level innovative measures for up-scaling of pilots, best practices, dissemination and replication by the other States/UTs and financing.

The Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Skill Development deliberated on various issues relating to improving quality, relevance, quantity, aspirations, mobility and financing of skill development and one of their major recommendation is to explore the possibility of introducing legislation on Right of Youth to Skill Development to make it mandatory on the part of the State to impart skill training to every eligible youth may be explored.

In India, we have socially enabling and empowering legislations right to information, right to education, right to food security etc. and the now time has come to give the right to skill to every youth in the country.

It was felt that the Right to Education Act, 2009 has led to an increase in the total enrolment at the primary level and reduction in the dropout rate at elementary level through showing an improvement in the retention rate. similarly, Right to Skill Development will boost the skill-based education and skill based capacity building in the country.

The idea of making law to empower India Youth with Right to Skill Development all over the country comes from a model existing in State of the Chhattisgarh, which has legislation that guarantees Right of Youth to Skill Development. Under the Chhatisgarh Act, every youth between 14 to 45 years of age has a right to receive skill development training in notified skills, subject to fulfilment of eligibility, within 90 days of demanding to District Collector. The Act is implemented by State Skill Development Authority with a Governing Council under the Chief Minister and an Executive Committee under the Chief Secretary.

It was felt that such a right-based legislation backed by robust implementation would generate greater demand, remove the low esteem attached to vocational education and encourage more young persons to seek skill training. Adequate infrastructure and resources should back this especially for less resource rich States.

EduLegaL View:

We already have Right to Education in this country. There is no doubt that legislation brings impetus to the sector and the subject, but we need more effective implementation system in our country. “Action” is problem in our country and not “enactment”.

We are a country of diversity, Skill Development has just launched in India, we should allow it to spread and make a base and then legalise it. It is more of a “voluntary association” than a “compulsive subject”.

Providing Education is part of Directives of any State Policy, which is provided in our Constitution.

What if, because of needs of Managers, we will make “Right to Management Education”, for need of doctors, which we actually need, we make “Right to Medical Education”. Is Legislation the solution ?

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

National Ranking Framework Process to start from 2nd November

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) has been launched by Ministry of Human Resource Development [MHRD] to rank higher educational institutions in the country based on objective, verifiable criteria. The ranking system is expected to promote excellence in education in a competitive environment.

This Framework (NIRF) would enable parents, students, teachers, educational institutions and other stakeholders to rank institutions on the basis of a set of objective parameters and a transparent process.

The ranking framework is designed such that institutions belonging to different sectoral fields such as Engineering, Management etc. will be compared separately in their own respective peer groups. The framework will evaluate institutions on five parameters—teaching, learning and resources (TLR); research, professional practice and collaborative performance (RPC); graduation outcome (GO); outreach and inclusivity (OI); and perception (PR) of end users. Each of these has been further subdivided to comprehensively assess an institute.

Teaching, Learning & Resources: These parameters are related to the core activities of any place of learning. These are organized into the following sub-parameters: Faculty Student Ratio. Faculty Qualifications and Experience. Library, Laboratory Facilities, Facilities for Sports and Extra-Curricular Activities.

 Research, Professional Practice & Collaborative Performance: These parameters, therefore, attempt to measure the quantity and quality of research output as seen through international data bases, IPR generation and interface with industry and fellow professionals. These are organized as follows: Peer-Reviewed Publications. Citations of Research. IPR and Patents. Collaborative Work. Research Funding and Consulting.

 Graduation Outcomes: This parameter forms the ultimate test of the effectiveness of the core teaching/learning activity. These are organized as follows: Public and University Examinations, Placement, Higher Studies and Entrepreneurship. Mean Compensation Package.

 Outreach: The Ranking framework lays special emphasis on representation of women and socially challenged persons in student and/or faculty populations, and also on outreach activities of the institution. These are detailed below: Outreach, Region Diversity, Representation of Women, Socially Challenged Students, Facilities for Physically Challenged Students.

Perception: The ranking methodology gives a significant importance to the perception of the institution by its stakeholders. This will be accomplished through Stakeholder Surveys.

After the launch of the Framework, the Government has now started the process of participation of the Institution in the Framework for the Institutions, which are accredited/affiliated to the AICTE/UGC and has also made available a web-based platform the same. The process of submission and participation in the framework would begin from 2nd November 2015.

 EduLegaL View:

Our Higher Education System currently has NAAC and NBA as Accreditation Agency, which evaluates institutions on scientific parameters. Here comes another Ranking Parameter and Process.

Another sort of burden on the Higher Education System. Instead of developing new framework, it would have been more prudent to strengthen and consolidate the existing system of Accreditation. The CGPA achieved on Accreditation can also be used to create Rankings within the Institutions rather than asking the Institutions to participate in a new process. Government could have added parameters as given in this Framework in the existing process of accreditation.

Well the Argument continues !

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in | + 91 9225518255

MHRD launches National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)

MHRD has launched National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), would enable parents, students, teachers, educational institutions and other stakeholders to rank institutions on the basis of a set of objective parameters and a transparent process.

This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country, which has been drawn from recommendations arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD, to identify the broad parameters for ranking various universities and institutions.

The ranking framework is designed such that institutions belonging to different sectoral fields such as Engineering, Management etc. will be compared separately in their own respective peer groups. The framework will evaluate institutions on five parameters—teaching, learning and resources (TLR); research, professional practice and collaborative performance (RPC); graduation outcome (GO); outreach and inclusivity (OI); and perception (PR) of end users. Each of these has been further subdivided to comprehensively assess an institute.

It is felt that this Framework caters to Indian Academic Atmosphere by considering diversity and inclusiveness apart from excellence in teaching learning and research as a parameter for ranking of the Institutions. This will also be a step forward in starting a new era of accountability in higher education in the country.

The Framework is presently available for engineering and management institutions. The methodologies, parameters and process for ranking universities along with architecture and planning institutions would be developed during the course of time.

EduLegaL View:

Our Higher Education System currently has NAAC and NBA as Accreditation Agency, which evaluates institutions on scientific parameters. Here comes another Ranking Parameter and Process. Another sort of burden on the Higher Education System.

Instead of developing new framework, it would have been more prudent to strengthen and consolidate the existing system of Accreditation. The CGPA achieved on Accreditation can also be used to create Rankings within the Institutions rather than asking the Institutions to participate in a new process.

Well the Argument continues !

Ravi Bhardwaj | 09225518255 | mail@edulegal.in