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November 6, 2009

Apeejay emphasises on the facilitator role of the Regulatory bodies for Higher Education in India

Apeejay Education Society (AES) emphasises on the facilitator role of the Regulatory bodies for Higher Education in India

New Delhi, 6th November 2009: FICCI, the largest and oldest apex business organization in India, in association with Apeejay Education Society (AES) and India’s other leading institutes, organizes a two day summit on Higher Education to discuss various counters of the quality higher education in the country. The highlight of the summit is to discuss and redefine the roles and responsibilities of Indian education regulatory bodies to become transparent and accountable in their approach for the growth of the quality and job oriented Education in India.

Addressing the session on the ‘Big Debate’ on Effective Regulatory Framework and Quality Assurance in Higher Education, Mrs. Sushma Berlia, President, Apeejay Stya Group says, “The roles of the Regulatory bodies need to be reviewed in order to act as a true facilitator, and an enabler. There has been only one-way communication by government to the education providers for any kind of regulations, governance, finances, etc. The functioning of the regulatory bodies should be participatory with all the stake holders.”

“If we look at the economic history of our country since independence, we will find that the real growth, expansion and command of the industry in India have really commenced post liberalization. Why can’t we replicate the same with respect to Education, with proper checks and balances i.e accountability? We have seen that the current regulation in education is not working nor giving the desired results”

“Why we are still mired in the thought process today, that as if any body who sets up an educational institution, any academics is necessarily moribund without vision and need to be regulated to ensure that nothing wrong takes place”

“The role of regulatory bodies should be to ensure fair-play, transparency and accountability. It should be non-intrusive and Institution-friendly. New regulatory environment needs to provide adequate space for innovation and experimentation and facilitate growth of private sector,” she adds further.

At present, there are multiple agencies and a complex web of rules and regulations govern the higher and professional education system in the country. The councils have rules and regulations of their own and there is a large overlap of their functions.

“The important thigh however is to identify – who needs to be regulated? and, what needs to be regulated?”

Mrs. Sushma Berlia’s Recommends:

1. Regulation should be there to ensure Good Governance which should be based on transparency and disclosure norms

2. There should be independent, autonomous Accreditation Agency with participation of all stake holders to ensure Quality. Minimum accreditation base to be compulsory.

a. There can be multiple accreditation agencies to ensure competition between them and do justice to large numbers of institutions.

b. Professional courses to get accredited by the accreditation agencies. Accreditation by the professional councils should be voluntary. In either case, full disclosure as part of governance on web and other publicity materials

3. Financing agencies should fund public sector institutions and provide grants for research/scholarship/aids etc.

4. Need is to encourage Independent Testing Agencies with the kind of format that does not require coaching and hence reduce the burden on students post class X and create a better level playing field.

5. All public, private and other institutions providing degree and post graduate diploma courses can be subject to regulation except institutions engaged in training & development and providing non degree courses. For them effective disclosure norms like SEBI should be mandatory.

6. What need to be regulated within autonomous Institutions/universities are the minimum standards, adequate infrastructure, and adequate faculty. There should be broad norms at each campus, and governance defining transparency and disclosure norms .

7. There should not be any regulation on entry (except capital adequacy), admission, numbers, courses/programmes and the geographical area and jurisdiction of the institutions.

8. As far as affiliated colleges are concerned they should be left to the concerned university to ensure minimum standards and quality.

Hence there should be transparency in the regulations for making it simple and conducive for new institutions to be set up through private enterprise. There should be accountability and strict monitoring of the standards and quality of the institutions by the accreditation agencies.

Regulation needs to be well structured, representation from all the stakeholders and thoroughly researched to take full account of relevance, requirements, practical constraints and market realities. The objective of encouraging growth of educational institutions rather than restricting them should not be lost sight of.

Mrs. Berlia adds , “In my view SEBI is a good example of how a regulator has been able to be successful in maintaining quality without hindering growth and the affiliating universities should function more on the pattern of CBSE, if we really want private sector to come up in Higher Education and in Skill Development.”

She maintained, “ If in Doubt Regulate Less and Not More.”

About AES:

Apeejay Education Society (AES) today stands out as one of the premier groups for the high-standard education institutes in India. Apeejay has 28 institutions across the country with over 32,000 students and 2,200teachers. It has 60,000 strong alumni network. It provides more than 85 courses to choose, from pre –nursery to doctorate level.


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