Having taken charge from where the reform minded Kapil Sibal left, with most reforms still not complete, HRD minister Pallam Raju on Wednesday said his immediate challenge was ‘consolidation’. He hopes to get three pending bills pertaining to higher education cleared in the winter session of the parliament. These are the prohibition of unfair practices bill, national accreditation regulatory authority for higher educational institutions bill and the educational tribunals bill. The other pending bills like the contested foreign educational institutions bill and the bill for setting up a national council of higher education and research are not in the list.
The unfair practices bill would make questionable practices during admission like donations, capitation fees either civil or criminal offence, while the accreditation bill aims at quality control by making accreditation compulsory for higher education institutions. The tribunals bill seeks to establish tribunals at the national and state levels for the adjudication of education related disputes and has been contentious.
Talking to reporters in the run up to the parliament’s winter session, Raju said they would stick to the decision taken under Sibal to hold a single entrance test for engineering colleges including the IIT. He also reiterated his commitment to meeting the RTE deadline in 2013, despite the gaps in infrastructure and shortage of teachers, but did not specify the government’s exact plan to achieve this. He added that states are committed and the central government would work with them, taking necessary steps.