Enhancing Access To Excellence In Higher Learning

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New Delhi, Mar 28 (UNI) Trying to enhance access to excellence in higher education across India, the government today named the States where it plans to set up 45 new institutions in the 11th Five Year Plan.

These include eight new Indian Institutes of Technology, seven Indian Institutes of Management and 30 Central Universities, 14 of them ''aiming at world class standards,'' Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh told journalists.

''This is the first time'' the government is setting up so many new institutions costing thousands of crores of rupees, Singh said, adding the location of the new institutions was approved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

India currently has seven IITs, six IIMs and 19 CUs.

Besides four new IITs-- in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh-- already announced, four more will be set up in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab, Singh said.

In Madhya Pradesh, the IIT will be set up at Indore, but the location in other States is yet to be finalised, Singh told a news conference.

Additionally, Banaras Hindu University's Institute of Technology, admission to which is made through an IIT Joint Entrance Examination, will be converted into an IIT, he said.

Besides a new IIM at Shillong already announced, seven more IIMs will be set up in Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Haryana.

In Chhattisgarh, the IIM will be set up at Raipur.

The 14 world class Central Universities will be set up at Pune, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Mysore, Vishakapatanam, Gandhinagar, Jaipur, Patna, Bhopal, Kochi, Amritsar, Bhubaneshwar, Greater NOIDA and Guwahati.

Authorities picked locations ''in or near'' large cities to automatically ensure ''conectivity and infrastructure which such universities would need,'' the HRD Minister said.

Singh said each State government concerned was being requested to identify adequate land in or near selected cities and offer land accordingly.

Singh also announced plans to set up Central Universities in 16 States which currently do not have one.

These include Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Goa.

This will include converting three existing universities-- Dr Hari Singh Gaur University at Sagar, Guru Ghasidas University at Bilaspur and Goa university-- into CUs.

The government will spend Rs 2,000 crores on the new IITs, Rs 660 crores on the IIMs and Rs 2,800 crores on CUs during the 11th Plan, Higher Education Secretary R P Agrawal said.

Singh was emphatic that establishing IITs, IIMs and CUs was ''subject to State governments offering adequate land at suitable locations, free of cost, for the purpose.'' He made it clear that their ''actual establishment'' would depend ''among other things on how quickly the State governments concerned respond by allotting adequate land at suitable locations.'' In reply to a question, Singh acknowledged the shortage of faculty, but indicated that it would be overcome through recruitment.

Top HRD officials say that India is estimated to have some 500,000 higher education teachers-- roughly 20-25 per cent short of the required number.

Agrawal outlined a ''bouquet'' of measures-- which include upgrading training, summer teachers' schools, better fellowships and research facilities and higher retirement age.

Asked if the idea was to match Harvard or Oxford, some of the leading Western academic centres, Agrawal replied the aim would be to do better than what exist.

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