An Ambitious Push for Values, Ethics in Higher Education


11:53 AM

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Why in News?

  • The University Grants Commission (UGC), in an effort of enhancing the ethical landscape of higher education institutions, has introduced Mulya Pravah 2.0.
  • This guideline, an evolved version of its predecessor from 2019, aims to instil human values and professional ethics, combatting unethical practices that have infiltrated various institutions.
  • The focus is on building value-based institutions that resonate with fundamental duties and constitutional values, urging a commitment to integrity and ethical conduct.

Key Features of Mulya Pravah 2.0

  • An Effort to Address Unethical Practices
    • Mulya Pravah 2.0 addresses the pervasive unethical practices within higher education institutions, as revealed by a survey of human resource managers.
    • The vices include favouritism, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, inconsistent discipline, lack of confidentiality, and arrangements with vendors for personal gain.
    • While acknowledging that these issues may not be exclusive to higher education, the guideline serves as a commendable step towards fostering ethical conduct.
  • Emphasis on Transparency
    • A cornerstone of Mulya Pravah 2.0 is the call for utmost transparency in administration.
    • Decision-making in higher education institutions must be guided solely by institutional and public interest, without any biases.
    • The guideline underscores the need to abolish discriminatory privileges and emphasises the importance of punishing the corrupt.
    • It urges the creation of a conducive culture and work environment, aligning actions with the best interests of the institution.
  • Guidelines Emphasise on Upholding Values
    • Mulya Pravah 2.0 mandates higher education institutions to uphold values such as integrity, trusteeship, harmony, accountability, inclusiveness, commitment, respectfulness, belongingness, sustainability, constitutional values, and global citizenship.
    • This intervention is timely, given the receding prevalence of these values and officers in universities are entrusted with ensuring strict adherence to these values in both letter and spirit.
  • Guidelines Remind Institutions to Act in the Best Interest of the Institution
    • Mulya Pravah 2.0 reminds stakeholders to act in the best interest of their institution, create a conducive culture and work environment for teaching, learning, and research and develop the potential of their institution.
    • It further asserts that officers and staff must refrain from misappropriating financial and other resources.
    • It asks them to refuse to accept gift, favour, service, or other items from any person, group, private business, or public agency which may affect the impartial performance of duties.

Challenges in Effective Implementation of Mulya Pravah 2.0

  • Sincerity and Commitment of Higher Education Regulators
    • Mere notification of guidelines may not be sufficient if higher education regulators lack sincere commitment to enforcing the provisions of Mulya Pravah 2.0.
    • The UGC must exhibit unwavering determination and set a precedent by showcasing zero tolerance for any form of corruption or ethical violations within the academic sphere.
  • Institutional Resistance to Change
    • Established norms and practices within higher education institutions may resist the infusion of Mulya Pravah 2.0's principles, as institutional cultures can be deeply ingrained.
    • Overcoming institutional inertia requires proactive efforts by university administrators, faculty, and other stakeholders to embrace and implement the ethical guidelines.
  • Lack of Monitoring Mechanisms
    • Effective implementation necessitates robust monitoring mechanisms to track and evaluate adherence to the guidelines at various levels.
    • The absence of a comprehensive monitoring framework may lead to laxity, allowing unethical practices to persist unchecked.
    • Resistance from Internal Stakeholders
    • Faculty, staff, and student unions might resist the guidelines, perceiving them as an imposition on their autonomy or a threat to established practices.
    • Overcoming resistance requires effective communication, collaboration, and building consensus among all internal stakeholders.
    • Balancing Transparency and Confidentiality
    • The guideline's emphasis on maintaining confidentiality might clash with the broader societal demand for transparency in higher education institutions.
    • Striking a delicate balance between the two is crucial to avoid potential conflicts and ensure the right to information is not compromised.
  • Undefined Parameters and Ambiguities
    • Some aspects of Mulya Pravah 2.0, such as what constitutes a dignified manner for raising issues, lack clear definitions.
    • Ambiguities in the guideline could lead to misinterpretations, allowing room for manipulation and misuse.
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance
    • Ensuring that institutions adhere to the legal and regulatory framework while implementing Mulya Pravah 2.0 is essential.
    • Non-compliance or overlooking legal aspects may render the guideline ineffective or subject to legal challenges.
    • Cultural and Regional Variations
    • Higher education institutions exhibit diverse cultural and regional variations, influencing the reception and interpretation of ethical guidelines.
    • Tailoring the implementation strategy to accommodate these variations is vital for the guidelines to resonate across different contexts.
  • Inadequate Training and Awareness Programs
    • The success of Mulya Pravah 2.0depends on the understanding and active participation of all stakeholders.
    • Insufficient training and awareness programs may result in a lack of clarity regarding the guidelines, reducing their impact.

Way Forward

  • Address the Issue of Confidentiality
    • The guideline would do well to urge institutions to promptly upload agendas, proceedings, and minutes of the meetings of their decision-making bodies, sub-committees and standing committees.
    • Institutions must put up their annual reports and audited accounts in the public domain.
    • This will deter malpractices and go a long way in restoring public confidence in the workings of the institutions.
  • Need to Address the Topic of Teachers’ Associations
    • Stating that teaching is an honourable job and teachers greatly influence students' character, personality, and careers, Mulya Pravah 2.0 suggests that teachers should behave as role models.
    • This involves demonstrating good conduct, maintaining a high standard of dress, speech, and behaviour that students can follow.
    • The expectation is for teachers to follow the rules and policies of their universities, but it does not address the topic of teachers' associations.
  • Need a Clear Definition of ‘Dignified Manner’ for Unions and Support
    • Mulya Pravah 2.0 expects staff and student unions to support the administration in development activities and raise issues in a dignified manner.
    • Although this sounds like suggesting that they act and be the team B of the administration and desist from raising issues concerning their members.
    • Mulya Pravah 2.0 insists that staff and students’ unions must raise issues in a dignified manner.
    • As the guideline does not define or delineate what ‘dignified manner’ entails, the provision could be misused to threaten, shun, silence, or at least undermine the collective voices of the stakeholders.


  • Mulya Pravah 2.0 stands as a commendable effort by the UGC to address ethical concerns within higher education institutions.
  • However, its success depends on effective implementation, sincerity in enforcing its provisions, and balancing transparency with the right to information.
  • A collaborative approach involving all stakeholders is essential to foster a culture of ethics, accountability, and transparency in higher education.

Q1) What is the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India and what is its role in the education system?

The University Grants Commission (UGC) of India is a statutory body established by the Indian government to regulate and coordinate higher education in the country. It was formed in 1956 with the primary objective of promoting and maintaining standards of teaching, examination, and research in universities. The UGC plays a crucial role in allocating funds to universities and colleges, developing curricula, and ensuring the overall improvement of the higher education system in India.

Q2) What are some key functions and responsibilities of the University Grants Commission (UGC) in India?

The UGC allocates funds to universities and colleges to support their academic and infrastructure development. It sets and maintains standards for higher education institutions to ensure quality in teaching, research, and infrastructure. The UGC is involved in the development and revision of curricula to keep them relevant and up-to-date with changing educational and industry needs. It promotes and coordinates research activities in universities, encouraging the development of a research-oriented culture among faculty and students.

Source: The Hindu