Access Quality Higher Education With Equity

The main in thrust XIth Plan policy underlying for Higher Education is on increasing access to quality higher education while ensuring equity. A new Scheme for Reduction in Regional Imbalances, Social Gaps and Promotion of Inclusiveness in Higher Education has been introduced by the University Grants Commission in the XI Plan, which will serve the rural and tribal areas as well. Central Universities have been established in all the States in the North-Eastern Region including in States with predominately tribal population. In addition, during the XI Plan a Central University will be established in each of those States where there is no Central University. 374 new colleges are proposed to be established one in each district where the Gross Enrolment Ratio is lower than the national average.

The Plan allocation during the years from 2005-06 to 2008-09 for he Department of Higher Education is as under:-

- Year................... Rs. in crores

- 2005-06................ 1817.00

- 2006-07................ 2530.50

- 2007-08................ 6483.00

- 2008-09................ 7600.00

A scheme has also been drawn up to provide grants on a sharing basis to the universities and colleges which are not eligible for central assistance under the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 including those located in tribal areas. There are also schemes for scholarships for Scheduled Tribe students and construction of girls’ hostels in Colleges and Universities serving areas of low access to higher education. In addition , the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University has been established, with its headquarters at Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh, to provide avenues of higher education and research facilities primarily for the tribal population of the country. The University is empowered to open such number of Regional Centres and Campuses in tribal areas as the University may deem fit.

In the XI Plan, a target has been set to increase the GrossEnrolment Ratio (GER) of the students in the eligible age group of 18-24 years in higher education by 5 percentage points by the end of XI Plan. Provision for infrastructural and other requirements for this purpose is required to be made by Central and State Governments. Within the constraint of availability of resources an amount of Rs. 84,943 crores has been provided by the Central Government in the XI Plan for various schemes for enhancing access to quality higher education, while ensuring equity. Various reforms measures such as introduction of semester system, credit transfer, rationalization of admission procedure for Ph.D. programmes have also been initiated.

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