Spend more on higher education for socio-economic development: UGC

 
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Bangalore, Nov 12 (UNI) To achieve the targeted socioeconomic development the government should make a substantial increase in spending on higher education from the present 0.37 per cent to one per cent of the GDP, Dr Sukhadeo Thorat, Chairman of the University Grants Commission, said today.

Speaking at the inaugural function of the 125th anniversary of St Joseph College here, he said the approach paper of the coming plan had envisaged a thrust to Higher Education which included building infrastructure, both physical and academic, across the country.

He said that in India only about 9 to 12 per cent of youth were having access to higher education, compared to over 33 per cent in the developed countries. By giving a higher plan outlay to higher education, higher education could be accessed by 16 to 20 per cent of the young population, he felt.

He said that the country may face severe shortage of human resources if it failed to spend more on higher education. ''To increase quality man power and to ensure higher access to the youth to enter centres of higher leaning, there is urgent a need to evolve a policy and availability of resources'' he said.

Dr Thorat informed that while recognising the fact of prevalence of vast disparity in terms of gender, economic conditions and weightage was loaded towards urban population which was enjoying higher access to higher education. The approach paper should focus to address the problem of bridging the gap to help the disadvantaged sections of the society.

He said that only six per cent of people from rural areas had access to higher education against 23 per cent the people living in urban areas. While Muslims accounts for 6 to 7 per cent, Christians had 30 per cent share, SC/ST forms 5 to 7 per cent, OBC's over 27 per cent.

During the last 50-years the number of universities had gone up to 357 with 18,000 colleges and over 1.40 crore of youth studying in various institutions. The number of faculty had also increased from 700 to 5 lakhs and it was a high time to further strengthen these institutions.

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