Sibal calls for quality education, excellence in science research in Universities

Chennai, Jan 3 (ANI): Union Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal on Monday called for quality education and excellence in science research in Indian Universities, saying three generic principles have been set out that any new institute of higher education needs to embrace.

Speaking at the inaugural function of the 98th Indian Science Congress at SRM University, Sibal said: "They are providing access to educational opportunities to all who desire and need it; second, affordability by reducing financial barriers; and third, building quality and accountability to ensure that what is taught is relevant and at global levels, delivering good value for money."

"This is exactly what we are seeking to incorporate in the thirty new Central Universities that we are setting up," he added.

Sibal further said the National Innovation Council (NIC), which will prepare a road map for the Decade of Innovation will help to have approach and methodology to create an inclusive and sustainable innovative Indian ecosystem.

Regarding higher education, Sibal said: "The Gross Enrolment Ratio higher education in is today around a mere 15 percent. Changing labour markets and demographics are driving a "new" demand for higher education. This has come mainly from two groups that traditionally were not known to attend universities: a "rising" lower-middle class and women."

"This will necessitate many more universities and colleges to be opened in the years to come which are estimated minimum doubling over the next decade. We must also broaden our skills base beyond a few centres of excellence and foster innovation on a national scale. We need to create and enhance our competitive edge. For this to happen, quality and merit-based education for the entire population is a must," he added.

Sibal said his Ministry has taken several steps to reduce the supply-demand gap in higher education and for gross enrolment in higher education.

"An effective quality assurance system will be in place and provide a common frame of reference for students and others to obtain credible information on academic quality across institutions, domestic as well as international. The National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010 has been introduced in Parliament to provide mandatory accreditation and creation of an institutional structure for the purpose," said Sibal.

"This is in accordance with the general principle of moving from an "inspection approval" based mechanism of recognizing institutions to a "verification assessment" method," he added.

Sibal said a National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) will be set up to regulate higher education.

"An Education Finance Corporation will also be set up to refinance educational loans to students, especially from lower income families seeking to pursue professional courses, at much more favourable terms than available presently and also provide not-for-profit educational institutions access to low cost funds," Sibal said. (ANI)

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