New Delhi: The formation of the proposed National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER), as part of the higher education reform agenda, is turning out to be an uphill task.

The dispute, which erupted over the inclusion of health education under NCHER was resolved after the intervention of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), however the matter took a serious turn as the Health Ministry sent an old draft of NCHER to the Cabinet for its nod.

The tussle between the Ministries of Human Resource Development and the Health and Family Welfare on the jurisdiction of medical education erupted two years ago.

Later the issue reached PMO where it was agreed to bring medical research under the purview of NCHER while medical education would remain under the jurisdiction of new body proposed by the health ministry. But sticking point is that the Health Ministry has sent the old format of the proposed body for the Cabinet approval.

According to sources, the Cabinet has not taken any decision yet. Ministry of Union Human Resource Development has started talk with the Health Ministry again, but the issue has not been resolved so far.

In view of the delay in the constitution of NCHER, Ministry of Union Human Resource Development has initiated the process of appointing a new chairperson for the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Notably, the creation of NCHER would subsume all the existing regulatory bodies including UGC, Council of Distance Education, National Council of Teachers’ Education and All India Council for Technical Education.

Meanwhile, the tenure of the then UGC Chairperson has ended in the first week of February. The charge is being held by the vice-chairman. According to the sources, the HRD Ministry has formed a search committee to select a chairperson for the UGC.

JPN/Bureau