To increase the enrolment rate in higher education, a UGC committee has suggested starting an additional 735 universities in the country during the 11th Plan ending 2012.
The UGC committee, comprising Prof Duraisami of Madras University and Prof Sudhansu Bhusan of National University of Education Planning and Administration, has said that more universities will be needed to increase gross enrolment rate — the percentage of youths in the age group of 18-24 years in higher education — to 15% from the 10% at present.
The committee, set up to suggest reforms on the affiliation system and monitoring of education in 11th plan, has worked out a formula of 20,000 students per university to achieve the target. As per this criteria, the requirement would be 735 universities in the country by 2012, the report said.
'We will study the report and make a final suggestion to the state governments for starting the new varsities,' UGC Chairman Prof Sukhadeo Thorat said.
At present there are 388 universities in the country. The committee's report assumes significance in view of the estimation of National Knowledge Commission last year, when it said that at least 1,500 universities are needed to make India a knowledge society.
The enrolment ratio in higher education is abysmal 10% in India. It is less than 8% in states like Assam, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Uttarakhand.