Three education bills cleared

Part of higher education reform agenda

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | March 19, 2010



The cabinet on Friday approved three major education bills - the Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill, the National Education Tribunals Bill and the National Authority for Regulation in Accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions Bill, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said.

These bills are among the government’s higher education reform agenda. All the three bills were cleared by a group of ministers earlier.

The National Educational Tribunal Bill would deal with all disputes between students and institutions, teachers and institutions. These tribunal will provide a forum for fast track and speedy resolution for disputes that arise in the higher education sector. A state level State Educational Tribunals (SETs) will be set up by the respective state government, where complaints from that area will be heard. SET would consist of judicial, academic and administrative members. The National Educational Tribunal would deal with matters concerning the regulatory bodies in higher education and matters involving institutions located in two or more states.

The Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical, Medical Institutions and Universities Bill will help the centre to initiate criminal proceedings against private institutions for 'unfair practices' like charging capitation fee or providing low quality education services or cheating students by making false claims in prospectus or advertisements. These institutions will have to face stiff penalties and fines as proposed in the legislation. The civil penalties would be adjudicated by the State Educational Tribunals.

The National Authority for Regulation in Accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions Bill would make it mandatory for higher education institutes to be accredited. At present accreditation is voluntary. The institutions and universities, state or central, will have to disclose in their prospectus the information related to infrastructure, strength of the faculty and their qualification, courses offered and fee structure. However, any fee charged without being disclosed in the prospectus will be taken as a criminal offence and will be prosecuted.

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