11th Five Year Plan India’s Education Plan!

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has termed the 11th five year plan as “India’s educational plan”. The 11th Plan, approved at the meeting of the National Development Council in December 2007, places the highest priority on education as a centred instrument for achieving rapid and inclusive growth. At INR 2.70 lakh crore, it constitutes 20% of the Plan, representing a credible progress towards the target of 6% of GDP. The 11th Five Year Plan presents a comprehensive strategy for strengthening the education sector covering all segments of the education pyramid. It is through universal literacy, access to education and knowledge-based industrial development that India will believably march ahead to join the front ranks of the great nations of the world overcoming the challenges of ensuring that everyone has an access to education and skill building in their activity.

The Economy Funda:

The wish list: The 11th Plan Approach Paper
The approach paper mentions that the 11th Plan should ensure, we move towards raising public spending in education to 6% of GDP. It must fulfill the Constitutional obligation of providing free and compulsory elementary education of good quality to all children up to the age of 14. It must ensure both access and good quality and standards in respect of curriculum, pedagogy, and infrastructure irrespective of the parents’ ability to pay.

Elementary Education

Under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA),  dropout rates for both boys and girls of all social groups must be reduced sharply, if not eliminated altogether. This was around 31% in 2003-04 and was much higher in  many states.

With the Employment Guarantee Scheme adding to family income, the pressures are expected to somewhat reduce. Opening of crèches for children at the work site will reduce the incidence of girls dropping out to take care of younger siblings.  SHGs formed by mothers should be given the task of preparing mid-day meals. A set of national testing standards will be created and a chain of institutions that test and evaluate children according to set  norms will be established. Making available ICT solutions, shared management personnel, and management skills with the school committees will be crucial.

Secondary Education
A major initiative for expanding secondary education up to class X, must be initiated in the 11th Plan and should include access to organised sports and games. The required expansion of secondary education calls for both public and private effort. At present, private aided and unaided schools account for 58% of the total number of secondary schools and 25% of the student population. The 11th Plan will have to find sufficient resources to evolve strategies to significantly expand the number of places in secondary schools, including expansion of intake by private schools wherever this can complement the public effort.

The present trend of combining upper primary with secondary school education may need to be strengthened.

Technical/Vocational Education
The NSS data shows that only 3% of the rural youth (15-29 years) and 6 % of the urban youth have gone through any kind of vocational training. There is need to expand vocational training from the present capacity of a mere 2-3 million to at least 15 million new entrants to the labour force. While we have 5,000 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) (under the Ministry of Labour) and 7,000 Vocational Schools (under the Ministry of HRD), China has about 5,00,000 Secondary Vocational Schools. The 11th Plan must pay special attention to devising innovative ways of modernising the ITIs and increasing their number substantially. ITIs in India typically cater to around 40 skills compared with 4,000 in China.

Vocational training for both men and women should be accorded top priority in the 11th  Plan. An initiative at block level for vocational training (VET) should be taken. VET will be given priority at par with secondary education in allocating public sector financial and physical resources – land and other supportive services.

Higher and Technical Education
Only about 10% of the relevant age group in India go to universities whereas in many developing countries, the figure is between 20 and 25%. The 11th Plan must undertake a major effort to expand and improve the quality of our higher education system.

The NASSCOM-McKinsey Report 2005 projections indicate that these will fall short by about 5,00,000 suitable professionals (representing an opportunity cost of USD 10 billion) by the end of the decade and in the absence of corrective action, this gap will continue to grow. However, if current trends are maintained, the IT-ITES sector will need an additional 1 million plus qualified people in the next 5 years and will generate exports of USD 86 billion in FY 2012.

The 11th Plan must address these, new colleges and universities must be set up, to provide easier access to students in educationally backward districts. A specific plan for upgrading a few existing select universities with a ‘potential for excellence’ must be formulated, laying down specific parameters which are in tune with global standards. One university in each state should be made a model university through all round upgradation during  the 11th Plan. Select state universities should be upgraded to the level of central universities.

NKC Recommendations Translated to 11th Plan Action

Major components of the 11th Plan relate to some of the recommendations made by National Knowledge Commission.

School Education

  • Reorient Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan bringing in a strong rights focus to make Right to Education a reality: ensure basic learning conditions, special focus on Maths, Science & English, common syllabi, curriculum and pedagogy.
  • Gradually reduce Central Government’s funding over the Plan period rather than move immediately to 50:50.
  • Ensure minimum standards and norms for public and private schools and address systemic issues of accountability and decentralisation of decision making, teacher recruitment, teacher training, learning outcome measurement, teacher motivation.
  • Recognise and encourage the role of private providers.
  • Special focus on disadvantaged groups and educationally backward areas.
  • Scheme for universal access and quality at the secondary stage; set up 6,000 model schools one in each Block, upgrade 15,000 primary schools to secondary level, additional infrastructure and additional teachers, hundred percent trained teachers.
  • Use ICT-based pedagogy and learning aids, provide broadband connectivity to all the Government and Government-aided secondary schools.
  • Strengthen teacher training and professional development.

Vocational Training & Skill Development
Launch a National Skill Development Mission with an outlay of INR 31,200 crore to increase capacity from 2.5 million to 10 million per annum. The National Skill Development Mission would:

  • Modernise existing public sector infrastructure to get into PPP mode with functional and governance autonomy, establish a credible accreditation system and a guidance framework for all accrediting agencies, encourage agencies to rate institutions on standardized outcomes, and establish a National Skill Inventory and a National Database for Skill Deficiency Mapping on a national web portal.
  • Set up a National Qualifications Frame-work, which establishes equivalence and provides horizontal mobility between various vocational, technical and academic streams at more than one career points and a Trainee Placement and Tracking System for effective evaluation and future policy planning.
  • Enlarge the coverage of skill spectrum to 1,000 trades with relevance to our emerging needs, while making a distinction between structural, interventional and last mile unemployability, and correspondingly set up programmes for 24 months, 12 months and 6 months duration. Finishing Schools will be encouraged to take care of last mile unemployability.
  • Create a National Skill Development Fund imposing a universal skill development obligation on industry to invest in skill development of SCs/ STs/OBCs/Minorities/others candidates from BPL families – as their contribution to affirmative action combined with matching Government contribution.
  • Enlarge the 50,000 Skill Development Centres programme eventually into a Virtual Skill Development Resource Network for web based learning.

Innovation

  • Put in place a National Innovation Policy which encourages competition among enterprises, greater diffusion of knowledge and increased support to early stage technology development initiatives and grassroots level innovators.
  • Foster increased collaboration among the R&D institutes, Universities and private sector enterprises and leverage upon their cumulative strengths in designing and implementing various innovation programmes.

Higher and Technical Education

  • Improve quality: work on a detailed reforms agenda including: a) admission, curriculum and assessment; b) accreditation & ratings; c) teachers competence and motivation; and d) restructure affiliated colleges and research for policy formulation.
  • An apex independent regulatory mechanism
  • accompanied by greater autonomy and internal accountability; establish a high level committee to suggest specific reforms.
  • Reduce disparities based on gender, caste, region, etc. through differential support.
  • Establish 30 new Central Universities, 16 in States where they do not exist and 14 as World Class Universities (all India admissions, course credits, regular syllabi revision, incentives for faculty, strong linkage with industry and research institutions, no affiliated colleges, outsource non teaching functions).
  • Establish a National Science and Engineering Research Board for rejuvenation of research in Universities.
  • Launch a national Mission in education through ICT coverage in all the Universities and colleges; broadband connectivity through National Knowledge Network and requisite nodes within institutions; to be implemented through an empowered committee.
  • Revitalise and reform polytechnics through industry linkage and teacher development, establish 210 community colleges and 700 polytechnics.
  • Strengthen open universities and reform statutory bodies, scale up Sakshat as the education portal for 50 crore people.
    The 11th Plan must simultaneously address the problems of varying standards, outdated syllabi and also inadequate facilities.

The National Merit Scholarship Scheme needs to be expanded to cover at least the top 2% of the student population in fields of education and skill training.

Initiatives for inclusive development

The open schooling programme should be strengthened and expanded. In case of subjects that do not require laboratory work, it will be helpful for students to access prerecorded selection of lectures, tutorials, and standardised tests available at Internet kiosks.

Testing and examination centres where students can take standardised examinations in parts can reduce the pressure. The 11th plan should pay attention to creation of electronically available content and testing mechanisms so hat the pressure on infrastructure can be eased.

Adult Literacy Programmes

Aim is to increase adult literacy to 85% by the end of the 11th Plan period. Of the 30 crore adult illiterates in our country, a significant proportion is not covered under any adult education programme. A programme using the new computer based self-learning system will be framed for the 35+ age group. Currently, literacy programmes cover 598 out of 600 districts in the country.
A computer based functional literacy tool developed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has the capacity to make an adult illiterate read a newspaper in 8-10 weeks. This seems as a potential tool, if deployed nationally as a mission, India can become 100% literate
within 5 years.

The Check List-11th Plan

Elementary education and basic literacy

The 11th Plan needs to be seen both in the national and international context. As an economic powerhouse in the context of a globalising economy, universalisation of elementary education with quality is a must which only can lead to universalisation of secondary education.

The National Policy of Education (NPE), as revised in 1992, had indicated three thrust areas in elementary education:

  • Universal access enrolment
  • Universal retention of children up to 14 years of age
  • A substantial improvement in the quality of education to enable all children to achieve essential levels of learning

In respect of Elementary Education, the objective of the NPE has been addressed in 11th Five Year Plan mainly through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, the two flagship programmes of the Government, and through Teacher Education schemes.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan: Strategies and Fact File

  • There has been a reduction in the number of out of school children, decline in gender and social gaps and a decline in drop out rates.
  • The number of teachers and number of schools have increased substantially.
  • Surveys show that 90% of rural population was served by primary schools in 2002-03 whereas some gaps have been noticed at upper-primary level. Infrastructure facilities have improved but backlog still exists.
  • The existing challenges are bringing the 6-7% children under the ‘hard to reach’ category into the fold of education, issues pertaining to quality improvement, bridging social gaps and reducing inter-State, inter-district and inter-block disparities.
  • The goal of universalisation of elementary education includes education for children with special needs (CWSN).
  • Quality of education in terms of better educational attainment levels are a thrust area for the next phase of SSA.
  • Special emphasis needs to be made on education of girls to launch a frontal attack on gender gap with a focus on ‘inclusion’ and ‘quality’ and keeping in view the forward as well as backward linkages. Girls education schemes could also offer opportunities for public-private partnership to augment the resources required for creating/up-gradation of girls schools at the upper-primary and secondary levels to improve infrastructure and facilities (library, lab and sports).
  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan seeks to provide elementary education to all children in the 6-14 years age group by 2010 and 2% education cess has been levied on all taxes and earmarked to fund this programme. There is a need of more upper primary schools. At all India level, there was one upper primary school for 2.8 primary schools in 2004-05. In 2005-06 this ratio of number of primary to upper primary schools was 2.5:1. To bring the ratio of primary upper primary school to 2:1 (SSA norm), the additional need for upper primary schools works out to 1,40,000.
  • 98% of the rural population has been served by primary schools in 2002-03. In terms of habitations, 87% were served and only 13% were yet to be provided with primary schooling facilities within one km from these habitations. During the 11th Plan period 1,32,623 primary schools have been sanctioned and it is estimated that more than 96% of habitations now have a primary school within 1 km.
  • Access facilities in the upper primary schooling is, however, still an issue as, only 78% of the habitations had such facilities within a radius of 3 km. in 2002-03.
  • There has been significant growth in school infrastructure under the SSA. However, the huge infrastructure gaps and slower capacity to implement large civil works programmes in some States, has led to low completion rates. This means that allocations for civil works will need to be maintained for select districts in the 11th Plan period as well.
  • One of the outcome indicators for reporting of SSA progress in the outcome budget is reduction of dropout rates by 5 percentage points each year. It is expected that the dropout rates of children for the elementary cycle would be reduced from 50.39% in 2004-05 to less than 20% by 2011-12, during the 11th Plan period, even in a conservative scenario.
  • Financial Progress of SSA: GOI Releases and Expenditures

New Thrust Areas

  • Need to work towards and enhancing quality of an integrated system of teacher education
  • Linking teacher education with institutions of research and higher education
  • Continued professional development of teachers and teacher educators
  • Establishing linkages between CRCs-BRCs-DIETs-SCERTs-Universities/Apex Agencies

ICT in Education

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be used in schools for a variety of purposes to improve the effectiveness of the classroom transaction. The technologies that can be used include computers for computer-aided instruction and computer-aided learning, satellite based programmes on television, radio programmes, etc. Several attempts have been made in the past 5 years to evolve an ICT strategy for government schools, both by the Ministry of HRD and the Department of Information Technology (DIT). However, a concrete strategy for a phased coverage of schools has not yet been finalised. The latest effort is report of the Committee on Technology in Education (with representation from MHRD and DIT) finalised in 2005. This Committee made the following recommendation – out of total no. of 10,00,000 schools in the country, the programme ‘Technology in Education’ will cover 6,42,600 schools, which include 4,22,400 primary schools, 1,61,700 upper primary schools and 58,500 secondary schools. Every school will have server, five PCs, printer, Internet connectivity of 256 kbps plus other consumables, etc. The total cost for implementation of ‘Technology in Education’ in 6,42,600 schools is estimated to be 2,7631.8 crores. The entire programme is to be implemented in 3 years starting from 2006. Under SSA the focus has been on implementation of computer-aided learning (CAL) at the upper primary stage. About 10,000 schools in the country have implemented this strategy by providing 4-6 computers in an upper primary school. Various models of procurement of hardware and maintenance as well as development of multimedia content have been used by different States and UTs. Corporate foundations and several private sector organisations have been actively involved in this work. In a few States, like Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttaranchal, programmes for interactive radio instruction (IRI) are being implemented with the support from some resource organisations.
However there is still not adequate clarity about the objective for introduction of ICTs in schools and appropriate strategies for this
purpose. Existing provisions for CAL are restrictive. Most States are not in a position to expand the coverage of schools, since this activity is presently funded only under the innovation component that provides INR 15 lakhs each year, per district. The following
are the recommendations for this component: (a)  Several technologies or applications of technologies should be encouraged. These include:

  • Computer Aided Learning (CAL): The children (group of 4) interact with the multimedia content and teachers act as facilitator.
  • Computer Aided Instruction (CAI): The teacher centric instructional content is displayed by using large screen TV. Instead of regular CRT monitor, the CPU can be connected with TV with the help of Video Tuner card.
  • Satellite based education: The satellite receiving terminal, digital receiver and set top box could be placed at Audio visual classrooms. The TV used for CAI can be used for this program as well by plugging the satellite signal.
  • Radio Programs: Radio programmes are being used in some States for literacy, orienting teachers and even for students, during or after school. IRI is being implemented in a few States.

Such a diversified use of technologies is more appropriate than using only computers.
(b) There is an urgent need for national and State level policies on the use of technologies in education. Such policies should address aspects like – educational objectives for introducing ICTs; nature of technologies, equipment; procedures for procurement and maintenance; phasing of implementation in schools; setting of standards for content; evaluation/cost – benefit analysis etc. Such policies should form the basis for an expansion of the use of ICTs in schools.
(c) ICTs are most effective at the secondary and upper primary stages. Therefore only upper primary schools need to be included in the initial stage.
(d) ICTs could be used effectively for training and capacity building of teachers, resource persons at cluster and block and DIET personnel. Once ICTs are available at school level, they can be easily used for the purpose of transfer of information for MIS.
(e) Internet connectivity needs to be considered vis-à-vis the costs and the likely educational benefits.
(f) The programme for introduction of ICTs should not neglect the aspect of maintenance of equipment and the payment of recurring costs of electricity, consumables and internet connectivity.
(g) In all cases, cost-sharing and revenue earning models should be factored in while planning for use of ICTs in schools.

It is recommended that ICTs in education should not be included under the district level innovation component, but should become a part of the State level plan. Allocations should be approved for this component only if a State/UT has developed a clear ‘technologies in education’ policy that has articulated the aspects mentioned in (b) above.

The implementation of this component should cover the dimensions of appropriate identification of schools, infrastructure and equipment, teacher training, appropriate software and multimedia content that is informed by an approach to the teaching learning process, utilisation of the infrastructure for adult literacy and training of youth, research and evaluation component.

It is important to develop standards, and if necessary, a clearing-house mechanism to review the content developed for use of ICTs. At present there is a wide variability as well as duplication of efforts across the country for content development.

An allocation of INR 5,000 cr. may be provided for the 11th Plan period at the initial stage for supporting programmes for use of technologies in education. Decisions on state-wise allocations could be taken by an empowered resource group or task force at the national level based on appraisal of policies and implementation plans prepared by States and UTs. States
and UTs would also need to constitute task forces or resource groups to
finalise their strategies for this component. While this allocation may not be adequate to achieve coverage of all schools, it is more than 50 times the current annual allocations under SSA.

Secondary Education

There were 1,01,777 high schools and 50,272 higher secondary schools/institutions in the country as on 30 September 2004. Out of this 41.05 % belong to government and local bodies, 29.35 % are private schools receiver government aid and 29.60 % are private unaided. There are 41 examination boards out of which only two are of All India character i.e. Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) with 8,300 (approx.) and 1,500 (approx) number of schools affiliated to
them respectively.

The Vision

  • To move towards Universalisation of Secondary Education: the target during the 11th Five Year Plan is to provide a secondary school within 5 kilometers of any habitation and to provide a higher secondary school within a distance of 7-8 kilometers of any habitation. This will be part of the vision to ensure universal secondary education by 2017, i.e. the end of the 12th Five Year Plan, whereas the target for GER by the end of the 11th Plan could be fixed at 75% for secondary stage.
  • To ensure 100% enrolment and retention up to Higher Secondary stage by 2020: Secondary education should be universal but not compulsory. The State has to take up the responsibility for providing access to secondary education. Not only universal enrolment, but universal retention and satisfactory quality of learning should also be a priority.

Strategies

There is a need for paradigms sift in the conceptual design of secondary education, the guiding principles in this regard are universal access, equality and social justice, relevance and development, and curricular and structural aspects.

ICT @ Schools: The main objective of the scheme is to establish an enabling environment to promote the usage of ICT, especially, in Secondary and Higher Secondary Government and Government–aided schools in the rural areas. The present scheme has essentially four components. The first one is the partnership with the State governments and union territories for providing computer education and computer-aided education to Secondary & Higher Secondary Government and Government aided Schools. The second is the establishment of SMART schools, which shall be the technology demonstrators. Universalisation of Computer Literacy through the networking of Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas with neighboring schools is the third component. The fourth component  relates to the activities of State Institutes of Educational Training (SIETs) which are mandated to produce educational content in the form of films, videos, audios, etc. It is suggested that during the 11th Plan, the scope of the present scheme should be enlarged to target all the Government and Government-aided schools for providing ICT infrastructure. Further, special emphasis has to be given to incorporate teaching-learning methodologies for computer literacy.

Universalisation of access and improvement of quality

In the context of Universalisation of Secondary Education (USE), large scale inputs in terms of additional schools and teachers are to be provided to meet the challenge of numbers, credibility and quality. For assessment/provision of educational needs, physical infrastructure, human resource, academic inputs and effective monitoring of implementation of the programmes, following steps are required to be taken:

  • Mapping of secondary schooling provisions (course mapping and curriculum)
  • Assessment of enrolment and physical infrastructure
  • Requirement of schooling facilities and learning resources
  • Training of in-service teachers

 Learning Resources (ICT, Library, EDUSAT)

Investment in this regard is required
for improving school libraries, laboratories and workshops to promote experimental culture while reducing the importance of external examinations. There is also need to have Computer–interfaced experiments and projects utilising database from public domain. In view of the above, a science laboratory and an art and crafts laboratory need to be set up in each secondary school.
In conformity with the advocacy in the National Curriculum Framework
(NCF- 2005) about curriculum enrichment for overall development of children rather than remaining textbook centric and ensuring that learning is
shifted from rote memorisation, the secondary schools should be
equipped with a Learning Resource Centre (LRC) with following inputs:

Library and Separate Room:

  • It is suggested that ICT Resource Room and Library of the school may be housed in one big room (minimum size- 10mx7.5m), or these may be housed in two adjacent rooms.  Library shall be looked by a separate teacher.
  • Provision for ICT Support: the tentative budget estimates for providing ICT facilities in all 1,81,520 schools is INR 24,160 Crore. The items of expenditure include: ICT infrastructure and maintenance, Librarian cum ICT coordinator’s salary, Infrastructure for pre- service teacher’s training, Training of ICT coordinators, In service teacher’s training in the use of ICT in the schools, Digital content procurement/development and distribution, Establishment of resources in schools by state governments, Establishment of resources in schools by KVS/NVS, Monitoring, evaluation, research. Innovation, etc.

Such facilities can also be procured on BOOT basis through private sector which can provide maintenance and other support.

Link with EDUSAT: EDUSAT can be used for conventional radio and TV Broadcast, interactive radio and television, exchange of data, video/teleconferencing and web-based education.

Capacity Building

Orientation of Secondary School Teachers: An  Orientation Programmes for the Teachers teaching the Secondary Classes needs to planned and operationalised through NCERT.

Orientation of Educational Planners and Administrators: To cover all the Headmasters of 1,81,520 schools during the  eleventh plan, National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) needs to collaborate with and make a network of institutions like IASEs, CTEs, University Departments of Education, Management Schools, Regional Institutes of Education, (NCERT), Indian Institutes of Management, etc.

Public Private Partnership

57.04% of high schools and 62.83% higher secondary schools are run by private sector. Out of these 28.52% of high schools and 31.79% higher secondary schools are classified as private unaided schools.

  • Private sector can be encouraged to invest part of its profit towards philanthropic activities in the education sector by adopting Government schools for improvement of infrastructure and resources like, library, science lab., audio-visual and ICT infrastructure, art workshops, sports facilities, drinking water and toilet facilities, etc
  • Several functions of the government school can be outsourced through private sector involvementFor example, entire computer education can be outsourced from private sector who can provide computer and computer teachers for a fee. Similarly transport arrangements for students particularly for girls can be outsourced.
  • Private sector should also be involved in designing curriculum and in designing a testing and certification system so that the demand for appropriate skill by the industry can be met

Open schooling system

It is necessary to design, create and establish alternative Educational provisions for some prospective learners who will not be able to take advantage of formal schooling during stipulated school hours. The open schooling programmes up to pre-degree level are being offered by the National institute of open schooling (nios) and 10 State open schools (soss). The States that have set up soss are West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, and Jammu and Kashmir. The open schools network when fully developed should be able to cater to at least 15% students in secondary education. the open
schooling network needs to be expanded to ensure that every state provides
open schooling facility through its regional language.

Higher Education
An exciting time has come for higher education in the country. The 11th Five Year Plan document proposes an almost 10-fold increase in outlay for higher and technical education. The planners have set ambitious targets to attract 15% students passing out of class XII (from the current 10%) into higher education by 2012 and 22% by 2017.

In the new Plan, there’s more of everything – 30 new central universities are to be set up, seven IITs and IIMs, 10 National Institute of Technology, five research institutes to be called Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research, 20 IIITs, two schools of architecture and 330 colleges in educationally backward districts.

Infrastructure in existing universities and institutions is also in for major upgradation. Among the big beneficiaries of these special grants will be 17 yet-to-identified central universities which will get INR 3,298 crore. Besides, 39 engineering institutes will receive a whopping INR 6,749 crore, again for ramping up infrastructure. A good dose of funds has also been set aside for upgrading agriculture, management and
medical institutions. The document envisions wide-ranging reforms in the way higher education is
imparted and much of the fund allocation has been tied up to the beneficiary institute carrying out structural changes.

Analysis of the past Five Year

Plans indicates that, there have been continuous efforts to strengthen the base by developing infrastructure, improving the quality through
several programs and schemes, introducing reforms in content and evaluation and encouraging generation of knowledge through research. The focus of fifth five-year plan was on infrastructure development, the sixth plan onwards the focus shifted to consolidation and quality improvement. The Seventh Plan laid emphasis on research and academic developments. It was from this plan onward that the development centers of excellence and area study programs got special attention. From the Eighth Plan onward, the need for differential funding was recognized. Under this plan, it was envisaged that the developing departments would be provided necessary funds to bring up their facilities and activities to an optimum level for their teaching and general research pregrammes. The Ninth Plan aimed at gearing the system of higher education to meet the challenges arising out of the major social, economic and technological changes. The focus of Tenth Plan was aimed at quality and relevance of higher education, research and development, management in financing and the use of the new information and communication technologies. The Tenth Plan provided the basis for higher education in the 21st century.Use of ict in Higher Education
During the 11th Plan period, it is proposed to spread the coverage of ICT to all the 360 Universities and 17,625 Colleges in a phased manner. The benefits yielded by the Programmes during 10th Five Year Plan would be continued and harvested for revitalising and empowering intellectual hubs (Universities and Colleges) of thesociety through network, e-Resources, online learning, access to globalresources, archiving of contents and e-Learning management techniques so that these reforms contribute immensely to enhance the access parameters ingeneral and in particular to various Social Groups, Minorities, Women, Backward and remote areas.

In the first phase, it is proposed to cover 200 Universities and 5,000 Colleges
across the country for achieving the desired objectives by using Broadband,
Wireless, DSL, Leased line/TDM/FTDMA VSAT/SCPC/DAMA/Radio Frequency link, for establishing connectivity depending upon the geographical location in phased manner: This will include the following provisions:

  • Access to global resources including multimedia based educational content through networking of colleges and universities.
  • Platform for collaboration among teachers and students using Communication Networks.
  • Better access to e-Contents (e-Journals and e-books).
  • Digitising of Indian intellectual Content (Ph.D. Theses/Dissertations)
  • Development and Maintenance of Union Catalogue (Books, Serials, secondary serial, current holdings etc. and others non book materials for Universities and Colleges).
  • Audio/Video conferencing system at Universities.
  • Manpower Training.
Total Estimated Expenditure : inr 1750 cr
At nios level : inr 300 crore
At soss level : inr 1450 crore (29 soss)

Open & Distance Learning

Enrollment target– The ODL System, in the scenario of a growth rate of 20% in the student enrollment, is likely to
account for about 30% of overall enrollment in higher education in the
country. This will result in significant increase in the enrollment at the end of
the 11th Plan, the ODL System should account for an enrollment of around 7
million students.

Development of New Programmes and Courses –  A national quality
framework for such competency and skills would have to be a priority during the 11th Plan. The 11th Plan proposals for the ODL system require a special thrust on development of vocational programmes. As a policy measure, at least 10 % of credits being developed in each school should be devoted to vocational, employment oriented programmes targeted at enabling self-employment or increase in employability of people.
Media Infrastructure-Gyan Darshan, Gyan Vani and Edusat
During the 11th Plan, the efforts would be to develop complete audio visual curriculum based content on a course-to-course basis as well as on creating integrated media learning packages course-wise, which would be available both as CDs and as software on IGNOU’s e-Gyankosh, the national repository on open learning material and integrated with One Stop Portal Sakshat of MHRD for use nationwide.

While one channel of Gyan Darshan (GD-I) was put on Direct-to-Home
(DTH) access through the Doordarshan DTH platform, in the 11th Plan
thrust will be to provide the interactive curriculum based channel (GD-II)
through the DTH platform so that a large number of learners are able to
interact through toll-free numbers directly from there own homes.
Funds would also be required to develop large educational software in all regional languages for the 50 plus Gyan Vani Radio Stations that could be in existence during the 11th Plan.

Over the next five years, anaugmentation of about 40 positions, including the teaching positions for theRegional Centres is proposed. 30 positions proposed for the headquartersinclude production, staff, transmission staff,staff for the Edusat relatedactivities and technical staff, at various levels.

Edusat

While an impressive setup of up to 131 Satellite Interactive Terminals (SITs)is in place, another fifty are being installed. It is proposed to enlarge thisnetwork to about 500 SITs to extend the access to the disadvantaged and those in marginalised areas. It has also been decided to mobilise 10 teaching ends in the Edusat Network  in addition to the teaching hub at IGNOU Hqs.

Current Quality Status of Universities in India (as in 2007)

  • Total Number of University Level Institutions (367)
  • Total Number of Universities under UGC Purview (317)
  • Number of Universities actually funded by the UGC (164)
  • Number of Universities accredited by the NAAC (128)
  • Number of Universities accredited by the NAAC and scoring above 60% (128)

Current Quality Status in Colleges of Higher Education in India(As on March 31, 2005)

  • Total Number of Colleges 17,625
  • Number of Colleges under UGC purview 14,000
  • Number of Colleges recognised under Section 2(f) of UGC Act 5,589 (40%)
  • Number of Colleges recognised under Section 12(B) of UGC Act 5,273 (38%)
  • Number of Colleges actually funded by the UGC 4,870 (35%)
  • Number of Colleges accredited by the NAAC 2,780 (20%)
  • Number of Colleges accredited by the NAAC and scoring above 60% 2,506 (17.9)

There’s no denying the fact that there always are and will be plans. It is hoped that this plan will factor in overlaps, intersections and converging agendas while minimising wastage without loosing out on quality education. There is also no denying the pace of change in a socio-cultural context, as well as in the technological context. Technology and the needs of society are
changing even as we plan, so to speak. While it is true that all plans are
hope, this plan will have to think-on-its-feet, sustain itself and even evolve as the very scenario it is to operate within changes. 

S Sam Carlson
World Bank India
scarlson@worldbank.org

The World Bank supports the GoI’s education strategy as expressed in the 11th Plan Document. It reflects a realisation that education and skills development are at the core of the country’s effort to generate inclusive growth, rather than just growth which benefits a few but eludes many. And it reflects GoI’s commitment to address human capital shortages as quickly as possible, with significant increases in funding to be made available to the states. If anything, the concern is the capacity of the States to absorb and make the best use of those funds.
Based on my own limited view and experience in India, it would appear that the poor quality and limited capacity of the India educational system may already be holding India back, but this government’s commitment to address these issues must be recognised and congratulated. The 11th Plan calls for a four-fold increase in educational investment over the 10th Plan, with large allocations for all education levels.

V S Ramamurthy
IIT B
vsramamurthy@nic.in

It is interesting to see that there is more focus on the higher education. The only thing I want to comment on the plan is there is no exquisite mention on rolling more faculties. Suddenly there is such a huge increase in the number of universities. And if you start forcing the faculties currently available for the purpose, that would not help much. And preparing the faculties would be a mammoth task. Training teachers would take at least 10 years. Rolling more faculties should be considered.

Parth J Shah
Centre for Civil Society
parth@ccsindia.org

As before the focus has been on outlays, not on outcomes, the 11th five year plan brings a larger picture in comparison to the previous plans, looking at the allocations to education as opposed to thinking about improving the delivery of education services.
Today, the situation in India is not lack of finances, but lack of proper delivery of education tools, which is of more value for students. So the focus should be on the learning outcomes, which refers to the accountability to the system, and this should be seen through teacher absentees, community control over schools, decentralisation of curricula, text books, exams, and use of school vouchers as way to deliver quality education.