In the backdrop of representations from various stake-holders and political parties, Governor of Gujarat O P Kohli today sought clarification from the state government on some of the key provisions of the Higher Education Council Bill passed by the Assembly in April.
Kohli held a detailed meeting with Ministers and top officials of Education Department at Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar and sought clarification on some of the provisions of the Bill sent to him for approval, said a Raj Bhavan statement.
“Various organisations, stake-holders as well as political parties have made oral and written representations about some of the provisions of the Bill after it was passed by the Assembly.
Looking at the seriousness of the issue, the Governor held a meeting with Ministers and officials of Education Department,” it said.
“The Governor held a detailed discussion with the Ministers and officials. He also sought clarification from the government about some of the provisions of the Bill,” the statement said.
Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Minister of State for Education (Higher and Technical) Vasuben Trivedi, Higher Education Commissioner Ashok Shah and Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat University M N Patel, among others, attended the meet.
The BJP government has been facing the ire of Congress as well as various other groups, who are opposing some of the provisions of the Bill, alleging they give sweeping powers to the government and diminish the autonomy of universities.
The legislation, pending for the Governor’s approval, ensilages establishment of a Higher Education Council, which
would work as a ‘supreme body’ for all the key matters concerning higher education in the state.
As per the Bill, the Gujarat Chief Minister would be the ex-officio President of the Council, while Cabinet Minister
for Education would be its Vice-President.
Minister of State for Education will serve as Co-vice President.
A key function of the Council would be “to carry out effective monitoring of academic/administrative/financial
performance of the universities and affiliated colleges and to recommend remedial measures for their better performance.”
The Council will have some sweeping powers to regulate higher education.
As per Section 15 of the Bill, the Government, on recommendation of the Council, can ask the universities to implement reforms suggested by the Council.
Further, “it shall be obligatory on the part of the universities to implement the directions given by the State
Government and report the action taken to state government and the Council accordingly,” stated the Bill.
The Council will also make recommendations with regard to funding to universities, scholarship criteria, development of curriculum and courses, among other things.