Rapid transformation in Technical Education in India

by - Ashok Thakur, Additional Secretary, Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development

India has the potential to be a global technology leader. Its economy has been growing at the rate of 9% per year. The industry has also become globally competitive in several sectors and can increase its global market share. A critical factor in this will be the success of the technical education system in the nation.
The investment made in higher education in the 1950s and 1960s has given us a strong knowledge base in many fields and contributed significantly to economic development, social progress and political democracy in independent India. At the time of Independence, the number of universities was no more than 20, of colleges around 500 and the total enrolment was less than 1.0 lakh. By the end of the X Plan, the Indian higher education system has grown into one of the largest in the world with 5818 technical institutions with an intake capacity of 11,18,810 students.

Prevalence of Low General Enrolment Ratio
Despite the expansion that has occurred, it is evident that the system is under stress to provide a sufficient volume of skilled human power, equipped with the required knowledge and technical skills to cater to the demands of the economy. The accelerated growth of our economy has already created shortages of high quality technical manpower. The demographic advantages of a young population can only be realised if we can expand opportunities for our youth on a massive scale and in diverse fields of basic science, engineering and technology, healthcare, architecture, management etc.
Expansion, inclusion and rapid improvement in quality throughout the higher and technical education system by enhancing public spending, encouraging private initiatives and initiating the long overdue major institutional and policy reforms will form the core of the Eleventh plan effort.
Our GER of around 11% is very low compared to the world average of 23.2%, 36.5% for countries in transition, 54.6% for Asian countries. We should aim to increase the GER to 21% by the end of the Twelfth Plan with an interim target of 15% by 2011-12.

Expansion of Technical Education with Quality
As on August 31, 2007, the annual intake of technical education institutions at Degree and Diploma levels, as approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), was 9.08 lakh and 3.95 lakh respectively. To further increase this intake several new initiatives have been undertaken in the sector of technical education in the XI Five year Plan. The following expansion is proposed without letting the brand value of these institutions get diluted :

Eight New Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)
 The main objective of Indian Institutes of Tech is to impart world class education in engineering and technology. The Government has decided to set up 8 new IITs in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat during the XI Plan Period. It is also proposed to convert the Institute of Technology, BHU into an IIT. An allocation of Rs. 2000 crore has been provided in the XI Plan and Rs. 50 crore has been allocated for 2008-09.
 B.Tech Courses in three branches with a limited batch of about 120 first year students, have started from the academic session of 2008-09 in the 6 new IITs being set up in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Orissa, Punjab and Gujarat and these will be mentored by the existing IITs of Madras, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Delhi and Mumbai respectively.
 The State Governments have been requested to identify the suitable sites for setting up of the new IITs which is likely to be finalized soon.

Seven New Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)
 The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are institutions of excellence, established with the objectives of imparting high quality management education and training conducting research and providing consultancy services in the field of management to various sectors of the Indian economy. Seven new IIMs are proposed, out of which, the IIM at Shillong has commenced its academic session from 2008-09 with an initial intake of 64 students based on CAT 2007 score.
 The remaining six IIMs will be located in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Haryana. Several State Government have identified land for the campuses and the same will be finalized soon after the Site Selection Committee visits the them shortly
 Educational Consultants India Limited (Ed.CIL) has been requested to prepare a Model DPR for all the new IIMs.
 An allocation of Rs. 600 crore has been provided in the XI Plan and Rs. 10 crore has been allocated for the year 2008-09.

Five Indian Institute of Science, Education & Research (IISERs)
 The Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (SAC-PM), under the Chairmanship of Prof. C.N.R.Rao, recommended creation of five new institutions devoted to science education and research to be named “Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research” broadly on the lines of IISc., Bangalore. 3 IISERs at Mohali, Pune and Kolkata have already been functioning and two more at Bhopal and Thiruvanthapuram will start their classes this year in the month of August.
 An allocation of Rs. 2000 crores has been provided in the XI Plan and Rs. 150 crores has been allocated for 2008-09 for 5 IISERs.

Twenty Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs)
 In order to develop manpower for different areas of the knowledge economy, education and training of information technology is a core prerequisite. The Central Government has established four IIITs at Allahabad, Gwalior, Jabalpur and Kanchipuram. 20 more IIITs are proposed under the PPP mode. NASSCOM has very recently submitted its model Project Report, which is being sent to the State Governments and to the concerned Ministries in the Government of India for inter-ministerial consultations.
 The setting up of IIITs in PPP mode has been discussed with the State Education Ministers in the national conference held on 23rd and 24th July 2008 under the Chairmanship of HRM. Most of the States were agreed to tap not for profit private investment, ensuring that PPP should not lead to any erosion of access to poor sections of society.
 The IIIT at Kanchipuram has started functioning from its temporary campus at IIT Madras since the last academic session in 2007.
 An allocation of Rs. 400 crore has been provided in the XI Plan and Rs. 30 crores has been allocated for 2008-09.

Two Schools of Planning & Architecture (SPAs)
 SPA provides undergraduate and post-graduate education and training in the fields of architecture, planning, design and management of different aspects of human habitat and environment. Two schools of Planning & Architecture are to be set up at Bhopal and Vijayawada.
 The State Governments had offered about 100 acres of land each in Bhopal and Vijayawada, free of cost. However, it is proposed to start the academic session in both the new SPAs through temporary campuses by taking suitable accommodation on rent from this academic session of 2008. While the NIT Bhopal will mentor the new SPA at Bhopal, SPA at Vijayawada will be mentored by SPA, Delhi.
* An allocation of Rs. 250 crore has been provided in the XI Plan and Rs. 15 crores has been allocated for 2008-09.

Setting up of new Polytechnics
In pursuance of Hon’ble Prime Minister’s speech on Independence Day in 2007, to launch a mission on vocational education and skill development, the Department of Higher Education had prepared a scheme on Sub-Mission of Polytechnics under National Skill Development Mission. Under Sub-Mission of Polytechnics, it is proposed to take up the following four components:-
 Setting up of 1000 polytechnics (300 in Government Sectors, 300 through PPP mode and 400 private polytechnics;
 Strengthening of existing 500 polytechnics;
 Construction of women’s hostel in 500 polytechnics;
 Revamping of the Community Polytechnics scheme and increasing their number from 669 to 1000.
The Expenditure Finance Committee in its meeting held on 28th May, 2008 has approved the above proposal. An allocation of Rs. 6310 crore has been provided in the XI Plan and Rs. 141.5 crore has been allocated for 2008-09.

Scholarship for College and University students
 It is proposed to give scholarships, based on merit, at the rate of Rs. 1000 per month for the first 3 years and after that Rs. 2000 per month for the balance period of the professional or other courses in Higher Education to non-creamy layer students to the extent of about 2% of the student population who pass out from various intermediate boards. It is proposed to cover every year about 41,000 boys and 41,000 girls under the above scheme.
 An amount of Rs. 1000 crores has been provided for in the XI Plan allocations for this scheme and Rs. 50 crore is allocated for 2008-09.

Review of functioning of UGC and AICTE
A Committee has been set up on 30/4/08 under the Chairmanship of Prof. Yash Pal, former UGC Chairman, to review the role and functioning of UGC and AICTE. The Committee has started functioning and has held several meetings.

Summer Training of Teachers
With a view to improve the quality and standard of teaching by the faculty, in this summer i.e. in June and July 2008, 10,000 faculty members of the Engineering Institutions and 5,000 faculty members of the University system teaching basic/social sciences, are being given summer training/refresher courses to improve their domain knowledge as well as pedagogy. The refresher/summer training courses on the technical subjects are being given in the IITs, NITs, NITTTRs etc

Education Loan Interest Subsidy Scheme
 A proposal to introduce a Central Sector scheme for providing interest subsidy during the moratorium period on the educational loans taken by students belonging to “non-creamy” layer for pursuing professional education in India under the revised Model Educational Loan Scheme formulated by the Indian Banks’ Association has been under consideration of the Government.
 A provision of Rs. 4000 crore has been provided in the XI Plan for this proposed scheme and Rs. 2 crore has been allocated for 2008-09.

National Education Mission through ICT
 Under this Mission, it is proposed to network each of the Departments of about 400 university level institutions & 20000 colleges through broadband connectivity and make available suitable e-learning material. State Governments have to share 25% of the cost of providing broadband connectivity to the institutions under their control. Private institutions will have to share 25% of the cost of providing the broadband connectivity.
 States have also been consulted on this issue during the conference of the States Education Ministers’ by the Human Resource Development Minister (HRM) held on 23rd and 24th July 2008 and have agreed for above proposal.

National Institutes of Technology (NITs)
 The main aim of setting up NITs is to create the required technical manpower by providing undergraduate education and training in different branches of engineering & technology. At present there are 20 National Institutes of Technology (NITs) which are fully funded by the Central Government. NIT Act 2007, which came into effect from 15.8.2007, has declared these NITs as Institutes of National Importance.
 In the XIth Plan period, it is proposed to establish 10 new NITs. Probable location of these NITs will be in States/UTs, which at present don’t have an NIT. MHRD will consider establishing NITs in Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Uttrakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
 The NIT at Goa may also cater to the needs of Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep.
 Pudducherry or Andaman & Nicobar may have one common NIT, which will cater the needs of each others.
 For establishing new NITs, States/UTs are required to provide 300 acres of land, at a place having road, rail and air connectivity.

Status of Implementation of the recommendations of Oversight Committee (OSC) for ensuring OBC reservation in technical institutions

Allocation of Rs. 2522 crore has been provided in 2008-09 for implementation of the recommendations of OSC. All the Central Educational Institutions are implementing OBC reservations as per the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 from this year onward on a staggered basis and the necessary funds have been released to many of them after holding the meetings of the Empowered Committees, while the balance will get funds in the next few days. As per the CCPA approval, it is also proposed to amend the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 so as to extend the three years staggering period up to the year 2010.With the implementation of the OSC recommendation, an additional student capacity of 6,204 has been created in this academic session.

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