Higher Education

PMO wants greater private participation in education

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Even though the share of private sector in higher education is already more than 60%, the Prime Minsiters Office (PMO) feels it's not enough. It has asked the Human Resource Ministry to prepare a comprehensive legislation to encourage private investment in the sector.

A PMO missive on the issue came two weeks ago but HRD sources said the ministry is yet to start working on it. Sources said the PMO's desire to have an overarching legislation, almost like a single window clearance, is in tune with the privatisation theme of the 11th Plan.

Questions are also being raised as to how a comprehensive legislation would help since education is part of the concurrent list. Very few states would agree for a uniform legislation.

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Already, there is a feeling that the government should first push for the OBC reservation Bill in unaided institutions instead of proposing a comprehensive legislation giving them more freedom.

Even without a legislation during the the 10th Plan, the share of private unaided higher education institutions increased from 42.6% in 2001 to 63.21% in 2006.

Their share of enrolments also increased from 32.89% to 51.53% in the same period. The 11th Plan document also says that 'this trend is likely to continue and therefore, it is reasonable to expect that about half of incremental enrolement targeted for higher education will come from private providers.'

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