June 24, 2010

States want medical education brought under NCHER

Cutting across the political spectrum, education ministers of various states on Saturday said that medical education should be brought within the ambit of the proposed National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER).

Though many states pointed out problems with certain provisions of the Higher Education and Research Bill that creates NCHER, the general tone in the one-day meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education was supportive of the idea of an apex regulatory body for higher education. With the health ministry resisting taking away of medical education from the purview of the now-defunct Medical Council of India, and HRD ministry also treading cautiously, it is likely that the final call on medical education will be taken by the PM.

Despite overwhelming support of the states to the idea of NCHER, HRD minister Kapil Sibal maintained that his ministry is yet to form its own opinion on the matter. ‘‘Right now the bill belongs to the task force,’’ Sibal said. A clearer picture will emerge after a month since states have been asked to give their detailed views on NCHER in the next four weeks.

The HRD ministry might seek PM’s intervention at the time of finalizing the Cabinet note on NCHER. The Higher Education and Research Bill, proposing the setting up of NCHER, has been prepared by the task force constituted by the HRD ministry and brings medical education within the ambit of NCHER.

Members of the task force — M K Bhan, secretary, department of biotechnology, legal expert N R Madhava Menon and social scientist Mrinal Miri — defended the provision of the bill and clarified that the autonomy of states in higher education is not being taken away. They explained that NCHER will promote the autonomy of universities by devolving powers.

Link: Original Article

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