Arjun seeks states' coop in 11th Plan education objectives

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New Delhi, Jul 23 (UNI) Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh today said expansion of education by itself would not mean much, unless it was accompanied by equity.

''Without equity the very purpose of education will be defeated.

I hope all the States are fully aware of the social justice requirements,'' Mr Singh said inaugurating the two-day State Ministers Conference on Higher and Technical Education here today.

He said the 11th Plan was very ambitious. The Prime Minister had allotted funds and education had become the biggest beneficiary. The plan could be fruitful, only when it was carried out by close cooperation of all the States.

The Minister also said there was an unprecedented nine-fold increase in outlays for higher and technical education during the 11th Plan.

This higher allocation would result in the creation of 30 Central Universities including 14 new World Class universities; 8 new IITs; 7 new IIMs; 5 new Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs); 20 new Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs); 2 new schools of Planning&Architecture; 1000 new polytechnics, strengthening of 500 existing polytechnics.

Besides, there will be a one -time assistance to universities and colleges which do not get qualified under section 12 B for the UGC's assistance at present, and states would be assisted in establishing one College of Excellence in each of the 373 districts, which have a lower than the National Average Gross Enrollment Ratio, a new National Education Mission through the ICT; and a National Translation Mission, said the Minister.

''I am happy to share that many of the above institutions will commence their sessions in the current year itself through temporary campuses'', he added.

The HRM also informed that it had been proposed in the 11th Plan to introduce reforms, including those in examinations, introduction of semester system, grading, credit transfer, regular updating of curricula and syllabi and reforms in teaching methods.

The Ministry said it was finalising a Central Sector Scheme, for providing interest subsidy on the educational loans taken by students belonging to the economically weaker sections for pursuing professional education in India.

Besides, a National Education Mission was also about to be launched through the ICT, under which broadband connectivity will be provided in all institutions of Higher Education and enough e-learning material made available.

Mr Singh particularly underlined the problem of unrecognised institutions. He said that it had to be found out out which institution was covered by which regulatory body. ''While I had directed the UGC, AICTE and DEC, among others to take effective deterrent action against such fake or unauthorised institution which have no requisite approvals, I would like to request all of you to extend your fullest cooperation in curbing the menace,'' he said.

The Secretary, Higher Education, R P Agrawal in his inaugural speech touched upon the issue of assistance to universities and colleges which were not covered under section 12 B under the UGC Act.

He also dwelt on increasing the expenditure on education by States with a view to increasing their share in achieving the target of expenditure on education as 6 per cent of the GDP and quality and inclusiveness in higher education.

The two-day conference would also discuss the mode of operationalising the scheme of 373 degree colleges and incentivising the state governments for setting of new institutions and also advance preparations for implementing new schemes.

MOS D Purandeswari, Ministry of HRD, Prof S K Thorat, Chairman UGC, Prof R A Yadav, Chairman AICTE, Prof G K Pillai, VC, IGNOU and Additional Secretary in the Ministry also graced the occasion.

UNI NAZ SBC HT1748 ****

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