HRD boost to set up more colleges

Scheme to be devised to incentivise states where student enrollment levels are poor

HRD boost to set up more colleges

Aiming to achieve a 30 per cent increase in the country’s gross enrollment rate (GER) in higher education in the Twelfth Five Year Plan, the Centre is considering formulating a new scheme to provide increased funding for setting up new colleges and strengthening existing tertiary education institutions across states where enrollment of students is “very low”.

“We are planning to formulate a scheme to incentivise those states where GER is very low. We will give more money to them for strengthening their higher education infrastructure and setting up new colleges where ever required,” a Human Resource Development Ministry official told Deccan Herald.

The basic objective of the scheme will be to provide assistance to states for developing infrastructure and teaching learning resources, thereby giving the eligible population access to better opportunities in higher education. A move will be initiated to identify those states where GER in higher education is very low, the official added.

The government had fixed the target GER in higher education at 15 per cent by the Eleventh Plan period, which was accordingly expected to grow by 8.9 per cent annually.

However, according to a mid-term appraisal of the Eleventh Five Year Plan conducted by the Planning Commission, enrollment rate in higher education is still about half the world’s average GER, which is 24 per cent, and about two thirds that of developing countries (18 per cent), and much lower that of developed nations (58 per cent).

During the last two decade, the country’s higher education sector has seen a phenomenal increase in the number of new institutions being established, largely as a consequence of increased private investment.

However, such initiatives have mainly remained confined to large urban centres and more developed states. “In this way, the social and regional disparities in enrollment rates and availability of institutions of higher education have only widened over the years,” ministry sources said.

If the targeted increase in GER in the Twelfth Plan is modestly fixed at 30 per cent, it will require an increase in student enrollment from the present level of 14 million to 22 million in colleges and universities, a UGC official said.

Incentives

Under a scheme, the UGC is already incentivising state governments for setting up of model degree colleges in the 374 identified educationally backward districts.

The higher education regulator, however, has so far approved only about 78 proposals for setting up of model degree colleges in backward districts, out of a total 142 proposals received from the states.

Under the scheme, the capital cost is shared between Centre and states on a 1:2 ratio while for special category states like in the North East, including Sikkim and Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre-state capital cost sharing is on a 1:1 ratio.

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