India has always been one of the formidable names in higher education across the world. History suggests the richness of education back in the time when universities like Vikramshila, Takshashila, and Nalanda existed. Even on this date, many universities in India hold excellent ranks on the top list of the world. All these universities are controlled, monitored, overseen by the University Grant Commission (UGC). In this article, we will discuss its establishment, role, and functions.
What is University Grants Commission?
It is a remarkable feat that India has shown in terms of growth in different segments and industries within a few decades of freedom from colonial rule. One such segment is education. From top-notch schools to world-class universities, India has everything to offer its brilliant minds. It is the universities that are responsible for producing top scholars and researchers. Hence, a commission has been established to govern the highest-level education conducted in India.
The University Grant Commission (UGC) is considered the supreme authority of higher education established by the Department of Higher Education, Government of India following the UGC Act, 1956. The prime motive of this commission is to coordinate, determine, and maintain the higher educational standards of India. It also provides recognition to the colleges and universities in India with infrastructure matching the criteria. In fact, it also provides financial aid in maintaining and uplifting the standards. Its headquarters is in Delhi along with six regional centers in Kolkata, Pune, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Guwahati.
Journey of UGC
Now that we know when was UGC established, let us find out its journey before and after the independence of India.
In 1944, the Central Advisory Board was established following the Sargent Report for establishing a proper educational system in India after the Second World War.
The University Grants Committee was formed in 1945 that took care of the central universities of Delhi, Aligarh, and Banaras.
In 1947, it got the responsibility to control and monitor all the universities in India.
In 1948, the University Education Commission was established under the guidance of Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. This commission suggested that the University Grants Committee should be converted into a commission.
On 28th December 1953, UGC was established by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the contemporary Minister of Education of India.
The UGC Act 1956 formally established it as a sovereign body for overseeing higher education.
6 regional centers were introduced in 1994-95.
Aim of UGC
The prime aim of UGC is to supervise the universities and colleges to achieve a better position. It also takes care of the colleges and universities looking for recognition. Its aim is to define the prime criteria that every institution offering higher education should meet to get the status of UGC recognition. In India, it is a valuable status to achieve and to provide proper educational infrastructure to the aspirants.
Among the objectives of UGC, this commission is also responsible for interpreting among the Central Government and state governments, community, and the universities and creating a medium of communication.
Functions of UGC
Now that we know what is UGC, let us look into its functions.
It is the supreme body that coordinates and fosters university education throughout the country.
It defines and fortifies the minimum standards and rules that every recognized institution has to follow.
It also takes care of the standards of national exams such as UGC NET, ICAR NET, and CSIR UGC NET.
It allocates and disburses funds to specific universities and colleges for the betterment of the educational infrastructure.
It also recommends and/or mandates specific changes in university education to the State and Central Government.
Designing scholarship programs for aspiring scholars and research candidates in different genres and levels is also one of the important functions of UGC.
As per the mandate and role of UGC, it is the commission that fosters higher education, takes care of the development of universities and colleges, allocates funds to escalate the level of educational infrastructure in different states and union territories, and creates an essential connection between the government, community, and institutions.
Members of UGC
The UGC members ( as on Feb 7, 2022 ) are:
Prof. Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, Chairman
Shri K. Sanjay Murthy, Secretary
Prof. (Ms.) Sushma Yadav, Member
Prof. E. Suresh Kumar, Member
Prof.(Dr) M K Sridhar, Member
Dr. Shivraj, Member
Thus, in this article we have completed basic requirements about UGC. The members are chosen by the officials from the list of educationists with repute matching the criteria set by the commission. This is the supreme commission that takes care of the universities and colleges and supervises their growth in infrastructure.