UGC proposes prog to boost enrolment in higher education

New Delhi: Aiming to give a boost to enrolment in higher education, University Grants Commission has proposed a broad-based programme during the 12th Plan Period that will work towards upgradation of autonomous colleges and promoting evening colleges and universities.

The `Rashtriya Uchch Shiksha Abhiyan` programme would also seek enhancement of intake capacity of the existing institutions of higher education.

It would be designed on the lines of the Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan with an aim to increase gross enrolment ratio to 25 per cent which at present is hovering at around 14 per cent, said an UGC plan document.

The commission has projected an increase enrolment by 62.97 lakh during the Plan Period with the setting up of 800 new colleges under central universities, 400 new college cluster universities and a set of other new universities under various categories.

Promotion of evening colleges and universities, the commission feels, would not only help in enhancing enrolment but would also provide opportunities to working class for improving their academic and professional qualifications.

This will also help to optimally utilise the enormous infrastructure and facilities which remain unused for an average of 16-18 hours a day, the document said.

The document also emphasises on starting shift system of courses in colleges, effectively supported by separate qualified teachers and evening post-graduate degrees and diploma programmes in university departments.

Besides, it calls for introduction integrated five year programme at the university level during the 12th Plan Period with a provision of lateral exit.

"This will not only enhance the gross enrolment ratio, but will ensure better human resource and increase the potential of producing good researchers and teachers by exposing them to the university academics early," the document said.

Giving a thrust on increasing intake capacity of existing universities and colleges, the document states that it will be more cost effective to increase the enrolment ratio. It will drastically reduce the unit cost per student.

"The top most priority and thrust in the 12th FYP could be on capacity building and optimum utilisation of the land, space and faculty by fixing minimum student strength to land area ratio for colleges and universities.

"This might also help the universities and colleges to attain this critical mass and decrease the unit cost of education in areas of shared use," it said.