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Give edn vision 2020 in 90-day,Sibal tells states
Published on 24 Jul. 2009 10:50 PM IST
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Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal Friday asked all the states to prepare a vision document within the next three months on the targets to be achieved in the higher education sector by 2020. “All state governments must prepare a vision document for higher education. This document must contain the state’s targets for higher education till 2020, including the current state of affairs, such as number of universities and colleges and how the state perceives the quality of these institutes,” Sibal said during a meeting here with higher and technical education secretaries from states. This vision must also outline the states’ budgetary outlay for this sector. “This paper must then propose how the state plans to increase its Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER),” he said, adding that such vision documents will help the central government plug existing holes and further boost the sector. The minister urged the states to increase their budgetary allocations for higher education that is showing a disturbing downward trend. While the central government’s contribution in education, as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), has been steadily increasing to 0.91 percent in 2009 from 0.53 percent in 2000-01, the allocation of the states has shown an average decline from 3.76 percent to 2.73 percent in the corresponding period. Sibal also asked the officials to have a quality controller to assess and inform the people about the institute, college or the university. Autonomous colleges Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal Friday said the government was considering allowing new autonomous colleges to be set up independent of universities but with stringent quality parameters. Addressing a meeting of principal secretaries and secretaries of higher education from various states here, Sibal said: “The government is thinking in terms of allowing the setting up of autonomous colleges.” Elaborating on his idea, Sibal told IANS: “Right now, there is no institution that starts as an autonomous college. But if it meets the right quality parameters, why not?” He explained that in the present system a college would usually start with it being affiliated with university and then graduate to getting an autonomous status. The minister’s day-long interaction with the officials was his first initiative to evolve a consensus of the states for reforms in the education sector. “These (autonomous) colleges would require higher level of parameters to be independent of universities and once they improve even further, they may be allowed to become universities themselves,” Sibal said. He said this would facilitate establishing a three-tier system in college education in the form of affiliated colleges, autonomous colleges and the universities. “This would allow colleges to improve themselves,” Sibal said. The minister said the government planned to set up 374 ‘model’ colleges in as many educationally backward districts in the country. He said through the Right to Education Bill, which had already been passed by the Rajya Sabha, “India is going to be spending huge amounts for neighbourhood schools, the process by which adequate number of students will be thrown up for the university system”.

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