The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has approached the University Grants Commission (UGC), seeking the status of a deemed-to-be university under the de novo category.
The matter is slated to be discussed at NCERT’s executive committee (EC) meeting today, as reported by media reports. The EC is the highest decision-making body of NCERT and is chaired by the Union Education Minister. The agenda listed for the EC meeting states that the status of a deemed-to-be university will allow NCERT to offer its own graduate, post-graduate, and doctoral degrees with the autonomy of introducing the programme, course structure and conducting examination and management.
Presently, the graduate and post-graduate programmes offered by the Regional Institute of Education of NCERT are affiliated with local universities including Barkatullah University, Bhopal, M D S University, Ajmer, University of Mysuru, Utkal University, Bhubaneshwar and North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong. The RIEs are focused on research on making school teaching more effective in the country.
The proposal seeking deemed to be university status pitches for greater autonomy, claiming that despite offering various innovative courses NCERT is dependent on these varsities for approval to introduce new programmes.
The proposal, however, has also been receiving opposition from some members of NCERT faculty, who feel that the status of a deemed-to-be university will be a compromise on the council’s autonomy.
“Just as the UGC is the academic authority for higher education, NCERT is the academic authority for school education. Deemed to be University status will severely erode this authority,” said Assistant Professor Abhay Kumar, an elected member of NCERT’s establishment committee.
Set tup in 1961, NCERT has been involved in the development of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) in 1975, 1988, 2000 and 2005, and the National Policy of Education (NPE) in 1968 and 2022. Additionally, textbooks published by NCERT are used in schools following the curriculum of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and various other education boards.