Professor K Ramamurthy Naidu, a member of the UGC, said India's higher education sector was the third largest in the world next to US and China and the UGC had come out with a number of schemes to help universities, colleges, individuals and all the higher educational institutions in their endeavours to promote academic activities.
He was inaugurating a two-day all India UGC ASC Directors meet at the Pondicherry University.
Naidu said there were 66 academic colleges across the country and about one lakh teachers had benefitted through orientation programmes and 2.5 lakh teachers had been covered under the refresher courses of the ASCs.
He asserted it was necessary to make such courses compulsory for teachers joining higher education institutions so that there could be promotion of quality education. He also stressed that those chosing the teaching profession should only be those who had a passion for teaching.
Naidu said the UGC had placed during the current five year plan (2007-2012) before it five objectives: access and expansion of higher education, equity and inclusion, quality and excellence, promotion of relevant education and encouraging research activities.
The Central government had earmarked Rs 44,469 crores in the current five year plan for higher education which was nine times more than the allocation made in the preceding plan, Naidu said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had described the current five year plan as ''education plan'', he said.
Naidu also supported the creation of ''empowered colleges'' that can award degrees on their own, which he said would greatly reduce the burden on universities.