ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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UGC and Higher Education

The UGC is the apex body for higher education in the country, responsible for shaping the academic activities of universities and colleges. Its role vis-a-vis a university is not that of a patron and a supplicant. For the smooth implementation of its programmes it is necessary that the UGC works more openly and with greater accountability and is seen to be more transparent in its dealings with educational institutions.

It is no secret that many things are seriously wrong with the planning and administration of higher education in the country. An accompanying article (M G Nadkarni, ‘How UGC Handles Higher Education’, p 1000) throws some light on one major aspect of this, that of the malfunctioning of the University Grants Commission (UGC). The UGC came into existence in the mid-1950s to oversee the functioning of the universities in the country from a national and long-term perspective. Early in its days, the UGC embarked with great enthusiasm on the establishment of Centres of Advanced Study in selected universities in country. These were supposed to attract and also nurture top quality research workers in various subjects, by creating the proper environment and supplying the necessary inputs. There was a justified fear then that the university departments were being reduced to mere teaching shops, with neither the requisite facilities nor any special incentive for basic research and this was considered not in the best interests of the country.

Looking at their potential and the faculty and the facilities they already possessed, three departments of the University of Mumbai were upgraded to the status of Centre of Advanced Study (CAS). These centres worked under the close supervision of the UGC and with its support ran many innovative programmes, designed to upgrade higher education in the country. Despite receiving uniformly good reports from the UGC committees in the past 40 years, the UGC summarily closed down one of these centres over a year back. Several requests were made by the affected centre and the university, but the UGC have refused to explain its decision.

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