A meeting of Principal Secretaries/Secretaries of Higher and Technical Education of State Governments has held at New Delhi, which was presided by Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal Dr D Purandeswari, Minister of State for Human Resource Development inaugurated the conference in which 28 States/Union Territories took part. Vibha PuriDas, Secretary (HE), Prof Ved Prakash, Chairman UGC; Prof S S Mantha, Chairman AICTE and senior officials of Ministry of Human Resource Development and Planning Commission were present in the meeting.
Kapil Sibal said that education should be child – centric and not institution centric. He said that the present affiliation system where Universities affiliate hundreds of colleges needs to be changed so that the focus of education should be on students and on learning, and not merely on examinations. He suggested that in order to ensure mobility of students, we must ensure semester system in our Universities. He also announced constitution of a five member committee with Secretary (Higher Education) of Gujarat as the Convener, to device a framework for mobility of students.
The following other decisions were taken in the meeting:
The states unanimously endorsed the broad outlines and contours of the proposed Rashtriya Ucchhatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) and exhorted central government to finalise the scheme at the earliest.
The request of the central government to states to enhance plan allocation of higher education was very well received by state secretaries and they promised to take up this issue with their state government. The need to undertake comprehensive perspective planning for higher education was also well received.
The states expressed their eagerness to participate in the Community College programme of the MHRD. The details of the scheme were explained in detail to state secretaries.
The states were presented with details of National Vocational Educational Qualifications Framework (NVEQF) by Chairman, AICTE. The states, other than those participating in pilot project, agreed to integrate the framework in their existing vocational education programmes. Some states also made valuable suggestions to further improve upon the scheme.
All the states appreciated the Research and Innovation agenda outlined by the Ministry. There was a general consensus and agreement on need to step up investments on Research and Development by way of earmarking of funds in institutions of higher learning.
Central role of faculty and teacher education was appreciated and the states were keen to know the details of the various components of the proposed Mission in Teachers and Teaching. The proposed Schools of Education can also be set up in select State Universities. However, inputs for pattern of funding needs to be spelt out. Strategies to rope in industry experienced persons to take up teaching assignments needs to be worked out. Transparent system of recruitment to be put in place.
The states appreciated that MHRD has undertaken All India Survey on Higher Education to collect a robust data base. They ensured that they would make all efforts to complete the survey by 31st May, 2012. They will specifically instruct all the colleges to upload the data on the portal immediately.
Some innovative ideas from States which were mentioned by the respective Principal Secretaries are as under:
Chhattisgarh has signed an MOU with IIT Kharagpur for training of Teachers.
Tripura has well utilized Community Polytechnic.
Andhra Pradesh has Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technology.
Gujarat has been able to introduce Choice Based Credit System.
Gujarat is trying ‘Multi-Varsity’ of IIM-A, IIT-G and University of Gujarat.
Gujarat has introduced online system of recruitment.
West Bengal has suggested compressed system of Vocational Education.
Tamil Nadu has started distribution of laptops to final year students.
Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have introduced education hubs.
Jharkhand is starting three engineering colleges under PPP mode.