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Creation of higher education council must for RUSA funds

October 12, 2013

According to an official release on October 4, creation of higher education council and setting up of accreditation agencies hitherto non-existent in several states would be prerequisites for seeking funds under a central-sponsored programme which aims to revamp higher education at the state level.
States would also have to remove any restrictions imposed on faculty recruitment.

The Rs 98,000-crore ambitious programme – Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) – was cleared by the Union Cabinet on October 3, paving way for giving a much needed fillip to higher education at the state level that accounts for 96 per cent of all enrollments.

The programme would seek to improve the overall quality of existing state higher educational institutions by ensuring conformity to prescribed norms and standards and adoption of accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework.

At present, only about six states have set up higher education councils and the accreditation framework is still weak.

Talking about the merits of the programme, minister of state for HRD Shashi Tharoor said the project approval board under RUSA would be “kept at an arms length from the Ministry” to ensure that there is no interference in release of funds.

Officials in the ministry said Rs 10 crore would be disbursed to the states right away as preparatory funds.

Funds released by the Centre will be channelised through the higher education council to colleges and universities which have to submit a detailed proposal about their revamp programme.

States will also be incentivised on the basis of achievements and outcomes, officials said.

Centre-state funding will be in the ratio of 65:35 except for north eastern states, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand where the funding will be in the ratio of 90:10.

While the programme would subsume some of the role of UGC such as release of funds, Tharoor said the commission’s role would not be undermined in any way and that it would continue to set standards and norms for ensuring quality. 

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