Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Central scheme for Higher Education on cards

The central government is planning a scheme to incentivise states to improve higher education. The proposed Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) is part of the government effort to increase enrolment in higher education institutions to 30% by 2020. The proposed scheme, RUSA, aims to expand the institutional base of higher education by creating additional capacity in existing institutions, establishing new institutions and incentivising state governments.

It will focus on providing higher education opportunities to socially deprived communities, address disparities by promoting inclusion of women, minorities, SC/STs and differently-abled persons. It will also seek to remove regional imbalances in access to higher education by setting up institutions in unserved and underserved areas. To this end it will subsume the current scheme of setting up model degree colleges in 374 educationally backward districts of the country. Though announced in 2007, the programme's financial architecture was only finalised in 2010. Till date only 142 proposals for the 374 model colleges have been received from the state, 78 have been approved and another 31 are under consideration.

Three-fourth of the cost of this programme will be borne by the Centre while the states will contribute the rest. For special category states the funding ratio will be 90:10. As much as 50% of the state share could be mobilised through public private partnerships. The balance funds, including recurring cost of the institutions, will be met by the state governments. Land for the institution will be provided free of cost by the state government. The scheme will be taken up for further discussion at the state education secretaries meet in mid-April.

Source: The Economic Times, April 3, 2012

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