The number of students in higher education in India is going to increase substantially over next seven years. The presentation made by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to the Consultatative Committee expressed that Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) will increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) from 18% to 30%. The scheme estimated to cost Rs.99000 crore will include other existing schemes in the sector.
The highlight of the scheme will be that central funding from MHRD and the UGC to institution will be through the state council of higher education as against the direct funding by the centre and UGC to educational institutions of higher education. Moreover, the funding by the Centre will be upto 90% and it will be available to even private institutions based on certain norms.
The scheme emphasizes to promote reforms in the state higher education system by creating and facilitating institutional structure for planning and monitoring at the state level. It will help to promote autonomy in state universities and include governance in the institutions. One of the goals of RUSA will be to ensure academic examination reforms in the higher education institutions and enable conversion of some of the universities into research universities at par with the best in the world.
The project will be implemented through HRD Ministry as a centrally sponsored scheme with matching contribution from the State government and Union Territories. It is proposed to set eligibility criteria for states to achieve a high and sustained impact of the project through monitoring and evaluation. The primary responsibility of the monitoring will lie with the institution themselves. The State Government and the Centre through The Project Appraisal Board will monitor the project annually. The main component of the programme is to set up New Universities and Upgrade the existing autonomous colleges to universities. The other attempt will be to convert colleges to Cluster Universities and set up new Model Colleges. The strategy will also include converting existing Degree colleges to Model Colleges.
The HRD Minister Dr M M Pallam Raju said collective effort should be made to raise standard of higher education and increase employability. He also wanted research be given more priority in the context of higher education. Pointing to various legislation relating to HRD pending in parliament, Dr Raju hoped that some of them will get parliamentary nod in the monsoon session.
Other related points that came up for discussion were expanding the institutional base by creating additional capacity in existing institutions and establishing new institutions in order to achieve enrolment targets; correcting regional imbalances in access to higher education by facilitating access to high quality institutions in urban and semi-urban areas creating opportunities for students from rural areas to get better access to better quality institutions; and improving equity in higher education by providing adequate opportunities of higher education to SC/STs and socially and educationally backward classes.