India Plans to Set-up 20 World Class Universities in Public & private sector in Coming Years
The Indian government’s plan to select 20 universities and enable them to become world-class is a “tall order” and will require giving institutions “freedom from the overweening control of government”, one expert has warned.
The HRD Ministry opines that granting freedom to world-class institutes from regulating councils would require several changes in the amendments of 15 different council Acts. India’s finance minister, Arun Jaitley, announced in his budget speech in February, that an “enabling regulatory architecture will be provided to 10 public and 10 private institutions to emerge as world-class teaching and research institutions”.
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India is hub of hundreds of Universities and colleges across many states. Mr Jaitley also announced that a not-for-profit Higher Education Financing Agency would be created to “leverage funds from the market” to support infrastructure improvements in “top institutions”. It is acknowledged that the NITI Aayog has also urged the HRD Ministry for the same and for the freedom of world-class institution from regulating councils.
As per sources, India’s Ministry for Human Resource Development said that, the means of selecting the 20 universities had yet to be finalised, but it was likely that the National Institution Ranking Framework (NIRF) would be used. The NIRF, launched in September 2015, covers aspects such as teaching, research, graduate outcomes and inclusivity.
Following the meeting which was held between PMO, HRD Ministry and NITI Aayog, the Higher Education Secretary V S Oberoi pointed out that granting freedom to selected few institutes might appear discriminatory to other centrally funded institutes.
According to Amitabh Kant letter’s to PMO, the NITI Aayog vouched that the world-class institutions should enjoy autonomy. The Prime Minister Office wishes to grant autonomy to world-class institutes from the regulating councils such as UGC, AICTE, MCI and many more.
The move to include private universities in the plan is likely to generate controversy in India. But backers of the idea will argue that private institutions have more flexibility and capacity for innovation thanks to their greater autonomy.
Atul Chauhan, the chancellor of private, not-for-profit Amity University, called the announcement an “amazing step” by the government. He also said, “We have seen so many other countries have focused initiatives on creating world-class universities and seen the tremendous benefits. Also the fact that private universities will be included in equal numbers is extraordinary and shows the confidence the government has in private institutions.
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