Aiming to give a boost to enrolment in higher education, University Grants Commission has proposed a broad-based programme during the 12th Plan Period that will work towards upgradation of autonomous colleges and promoting evening colleges and universities.
The ‘Rashtriya Uchch Shiksha Abhiyan’ programme would also seek enhancement of intake capacity of the existing institutions of higher education. It would be designed on the lines of the Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan with an aim to increase gross enrolment ratio to 25 per cent which at present is hovering at around 14 per cent, said an UGC plan document. The commission has projected an increase enrolment by 62.97 lakh during the Plan Period with the setting up of 800 new colleges under central universities, 400 new college cluster universities and a set of other new universities under various categories. Promotion of evening colleges and universities, the commission feels, would not only help in enhancing enrolment but would also provide opportunities to working class for improving their academic and professional qualifications.
This will also help to optimally utilise the enormous infrastructure and facilities which remain unused for an average of 16-18 hours a day, the document said. The document also emphasises on starting shift system of courses in colleges, effectively supported by separate qualified teachers and evening post-graduate degrees and diploma programmes in university departments.
Continuing its focus on more opportunities for higher education, especially among women, UGC in its 12th Plan has also proposed 20 exclusive universities and 800 constituent colleges under the central varsities to ensure equity in access to quality education. 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.
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.
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.
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