Study of the Regulatory and Operational Structure of the Higher Education Sector in India

Wednesday, 18 November 2015
Parth J. Shah
International Growth Centre

Recent research has drawn attention to the massive demand for higher education that will be seen in the next decade in India. This underscores the need for capacity building, the need for private participation, the need for improving quality and forging a closer link between academia and industry, and the need for investing in research etc. However, the regulatory constraints to entering and operating in this sector have not been studied in detail so far.

Higher educational institutions in India include universities, colleges and other institutions. The universities award their own degrees and colleges award degrees through the universities with which they are affiliated. Universities may affiliate other colleges or operate unitarily. In case of unitary universities, a school or a department will offer a certain course whereas for affiliating universities, it is the college that offers the courses. The courses run at the college or university level are regulated by professional councils such as All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Medical Council of India (MCI) et al. The instruction delivered at the classroom level is impacted by rules and regulations at the university, college, and course level.

These – the university, college and course – therefore form the key links in the higher education sector overall. There are significant entry, operation and exit barriers at each level and studying the regulatory environment at each level will provide the complete picture.

This project will study and document these barriers in a carefully chosen sample. Privately-managed higher education institutions have been chosen for the study. This will include a study of the three available routes of opening a private higher education institute in India and its associated regulations- deemed universities, private universities, and colleges affiliated with universities.

The proposed scope and methodology to be used are as follows :

  1. At the university level study regulations in three states (Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan) for Private Universities and study regulations defined by UGC and undertake a detailed study of three deemed universities located in three states (Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra) for Deemed universities.
  2. At the college level, study regulations defined by Government universities for affiliating private colleges. Study three such universities with affiliating power in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
  3. At the course level, we are studying AICTE recognition norms for Computer Science engineering and the Accreditation norms from bodies such as NBA, NAAC etc.
  4. For all three areas, the research will include a secondary survey of regulations and stakeholder interviews. For the secondary research, Acts, Rules, Ordinances, and other pieces of legislations and delegated legislations are being studied to highlight the entry, operation, and exit barriers that exist in the higher education sector. The key take-aways from this research will be corroborated by stakeholder consultation from the officials at the universities, colleges, and government. Alongside, commentary or recommendations will follow to ease or tighten the regulations.
  5. Finally, International examples will be looked at in three countries (Brazil, Australia and USA) to document successful case studies.