Wednesday, July 02, 2008
It is estimated that the size of the working age population in India, aged 15 to 64 years is estimated to go up from about 77.5 crore in 2008 to about 95 crore in 2026, i.e. up from 62.9 per cent to 68.4 per cent.Currently, the number of university-level institutions are 419 and the colleges are: 20, 918, while the number of AICTE approved technical institutions are almost 7,000.During the XIth Plan,the Government proposes to set up 30 central universities—16 in uncovered states and 14 aiming at world-class standards; eight IITs; 10 National Institutes of Technologies; 20 Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs); three Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERS),seven IIMs and two Schools of Planning and Architecture.Apart from this central assistance will be provided for 1000 polytechnics: 300 in public private partnership mode and 400 in the private sector. Assistance for setting up of polytechnics in the government sector shall be extended to those states that do not have one at present. The aim of the Government is also to take of infrastructure shortages and faculty shortages that hamper education at present.The Government also aims to provide $ 100 laptops to students so that they can benefit from the telecommunication revolution. Efforts and research in this direction are on at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. Apart from this, the Government wishes to network each department of about 400 university level institutions and 20,000 colleges through broadband connectivity and make available suitable e-learning material. The National Policy on Education (1986) had set a goal of expenditure on education to be of the order of 6 per cent of GDP. However, the actual expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP has remained about 3 per cent of GDP till 2007-08(fiscal year).The National Knowledge Commission’s recent report on higher education has recommended that the present support for higher education should be at least 1.5 per cent of GDP, from a total of 6 per cent of GDP for education. The Government has to keep this in mind if it wants to accelerate the level of progress for the country and expand the knowledge base.