About Bihar State Higher Education Council

One of the pre-requisites of the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) Scheme requires that states form a State Higher Education Council (SHEC). This represents a fundamental change in Indian higher education policy, especially in recognition of the role of the states as the unit of planning, and the intent that multiple funding streams to states (Central and State) be aligned with the SHEC planning. However, beyond the RUSA requirements, the scale and complexity of the Indian higher education system require that the states play a more active role in planning and coordinating the system. To carry out this more active role, states must have effective State Higher Education Councils.

The RUSA Scheme is expected to deliver key academic, administrative and governance reforms in the state higher education system during the 12th and 13th Plans. There are 16 RUSA objectives listed. The 16th is 'Facilitate the creation of State Higher Education Councils (SHEC)'. The intent of RUSA is that SHECs are to play a central role in the delivery of the RUSA vision "to attain higher levels of access, equity and excellence in the state higher education system with greater efficiency, transparency, accountability and responsiveness." The other 15 are high-level aspirational policy objectives – each one of which would most likely be viewed as medium- to long term goals in other countries. It is foreseen that the SHECs will have the following planning, monitoring and evaluation, quality assurance, advisory and funding functions:

Strategy and Planning

  • Preparing the State Higher Education Plan (Perspective Plan, Annual Plan and Budget Plan).
  • Gathering state institutions' inputs that will contribute to the State Higher Education Plan.
  • Coordination between apex bodies, regulatory institutions and government. Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Monitoring the implementation of State Higher Education Plans.
  • Creating and maintaining the Management Information Systems (MIS).
  • Compiling and maintaining periodic statistics at state and institutional level.  Evaluating state institutions on the basis of norms and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) developed.

Quality Assurance and Academic Functions

  • Encouraging and supporting faculty quality enhancement.
  • Ensuring the integrity and quality of examinations.
  • Ensuring that quality of curricula are maintained.
  • Promoting innovation in research.
  • Protecting institutional autonomy of all state institutions.
  • Approving new institutions/colleges.
  • Promoting accreditation reforms.

Advisory Functions

  • Advising the state government on strategic investments in higher education.
  • Advising universities on statute and ordinance formulation.

Funding Functions

  • Disbursing public funds to universities and colleges on the basis of the State Higher Education Plan and transparent norm-based funding methodologies. While the RUSA document lays out some basic expectations of SHECs, it will be the responsibility of state governments to establish their own SHEC, meeting their own specific needs. To provide guidance to states implementing SHECs, this report draws on case studies of eight Indian states with existing SHECs, and case studies of three countries: China, England, and the United States, each of which has had experience of SHECs.

Quality Assurance and Academic Functions

  • SHEC has begun to address quality assurance and academic issues.