VCs calls for expansion in higher and quality education

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Shillong, Nov 17 (UNI) The Vice-chancellors and Directors of various Universities and institutes today underscored the need of extending higher and quality education to youths in the country.

'' Higher education system needs a massive expansion of opportunities, to around 1500 universities nationwide,'' Association of Indian Universities (AIU) President Prof A M Pathan said at the 83rd annual meeting of the AIU at the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) campus here.

He said these changes have to be viewed with the emergence of India as one of the leading knowledge societies, information and communication technology and equitable access to quality based education.

'' Distance education, coupled with information communication technology (ICT) as the delivering mechanism can play a significant role in achieving it,'' Prof Pathan, who is also vice chancellor of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad opined.

In fact, the Union government had committed to enhance the gross enrolment ratio in University's enrolment by 15 per cent to 20 per cent by 2015,extending the benefits of higher education to many more.

Expressing satisfaction over the fact that the Planning Commission had recommended an outlay of Rs 85,000 crores towards higher education, Prof Pathan, pointed out that India was emerging as a leading ''knowledge society'' in the world.

'' This allocation could be utilised through development grants of the UGC and many other schemes for both Central and state Universities and overcome, to some extent, the disparity of funding between the Central and state universities,'' he said.

Stressing the need to enhance the academic opportunities at the higher level, Meghalayas Governor R S Mooshahary said, '' We will have to run faster to reach the standard of the developed countries in qualitative and quantitative education.'' Mr Mooshahary, who is also the Chancellor of North Eastern Hills University (NEHU), pointed out the establishment of 1500 more universities to attain the gross enrolment ration of just 15 per cent by 2015.

'' China has created 1250 universities in the last three years to enhance the academic opportunities at the higher level,'' he asserted.

University Grant Commission Chairman, Prof Sukhdeo Thorat informed the gathering to set up 30 new Central universities in India in the hilly, remote and backward areas by focussing on backward classes, SCs, STs and women.

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