Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

[op-ed snap] Where are the education reforms?


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nothing Much

Mains level: Need for reforms in India’s tertiary education sector



From the Central Advisory Board of Education (in 2005) to industry (the 2003 Ambani-Birla report on education) and the NITI Aayog (in 2017), many have argued for granting greater autonomy to higher education institutes and universities, especially the top-rung ones.

Government’s reluctance in relinquishing the control

  • The IIM example should serve as a strong example of the government’s reluctance to give up control.
  • Though the government passed the IIM Act in 2017 to give the premier management education institutions unprecedented autonomy, it never freed them of the shackle of reservations.
  • the government last year reportedly wanted to amend the 2017 Act to force the IIMs to implement virtual fee caps—ironically, “without flouting the autonomous spirit of the IIM Act”.
  • this was despite the IIM Act itself having provisions placing reasonable restrictions on the IIMs’ use of surplus revenue.
  • government also wanted the IIMs to increase their intake, which, surely would have come at the cost of student-quality that is maintained through the rigorous admission procedure.
  • when it should be funding the creation of more IIM-like institutions, it would rather have the existing institutions dilute their standards.

Non-implementation of educational reforms

  • The New Education Policy—that is expected to outline the overall reforms vision for the education sector—is now stale business.
  • Two committees have submitted reports, and yet none have seen the light of day.
  • Similarly, the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), that was supposed to replace the inefficient UGC regime, is nowhere on the horizon.
  • The government had announced the Diksha initiative to facilitate the training of untrained school teachers; but, as an analysis of Budget numbers over the years, published in IndiaSpend, pointed out recently, the allocation for teachers’ training is a fraction of what it was a few years ago.
  • The Higher Education Funding Agency, that was supposed to finance infrastructure development—from an overall corpus of `1 lakh crore—at “all educational institutions under higher education, school education and institutions under ministry of health which is referred by the concerned ministry” under RISE 2022 had managed to approve projects worth only `10,000 crore by November last year, and that too only exclusively to top-billed institutions.

Way Forward

Our goal to be a world power, the resolving and restructuring of higher education is must, then only we will be able to harness the human potential and resources of nation to the fullest and channelize it for the growth of the

By Er S

Helping the community learn better

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