Continuing its focus on more opportunities for higher education, especially among women, University Grants Commission (UGC) in its 12th Plan has proposed 20 exclusive universities and 800 constituent colleges under the central varsities to ensure equity in access to quality education.
The UGC has also sought a four-time hike in allocation during the Five-Year Plan period from Rs 46,632 crore to Rs 1,84,740 crore to achieve its proposed initiatives. According to sources that the move will ensure better and equal access to quality education for women where a lot of women are denied opportunities for higher education. It will also help the govt. to realise its goal of a 30% Gross Enrollment Ratio by 2020.
The initiatives also include upgrading of autonomous colleges with potential of excellence, enhancing intake capacity of institutes of higher education and development of ‘college cluster universities’. The plan document broadly emphasis on achieving the triple objectives of access and expansion, equity and inclusion, and quality and excellence, with an emphasis on consolidation and optimal use of infrastructure already created during the 11th Plan period.
Giving thrust to women’s education, the plan document has proposed 20 universities facilitating their entry into higher education even from traditional background and rural and sub-urban areas. The Centre has proposed to fund their establishment while the state governments may provide the land and help to establish such universities, the document states while holding the idea was included “because the social dynamics of our system”.
Stating that certain sectors of our population are still not open to send girls to coeducational institutions, the UGC document contends that exclusive institutes of higher education in some pockets for women “may act as a fillip to the participation of girls in higher education”.
In addition to the already proposed and partially implemented 374 model colleges scheme, a new scheme of constituent colleges has been proposed for the 40 central universities in the country.
Under the scheme, 20 colleges each will be set up in the respective states in the district headquarters, numbering to 800 new colleges in all.
This will balance the regional distribution of colleges based on population density of the youth in the age group of 18-23 years.
“The colleges should be of international configuration in infrastructure, hostels, playground, library and technology-savvy classrooms, and to be 100% funded by the Centre as is presently followed in the case of the Delhi University,” it said.
It is really gratifying to learn that 20 universities and 800 colleges ,exclusively for girls are on the anvil.It will not only improve the general GER but will also act as a philip to women’s aspirations for higher education. Though not many will like the idea of colleges only for girls,there are some pockets of population where coeducation is not seen with approval. The only apprehension will be that these girls may be shut up in their own circles,though that may not necessarily happen.
Dr. Yogesh Hathi