CCEA approves scheme to reform state higher education system

New Delhi, Oct 3 (IANS) The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs Thursday approved the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a centrally-sponsored scheme (CSS) for reforming the state higher education system.

An official release said RUSA, spread over two plan periods, will aim to for improving access, equity and quality in the state higher education system.

"With over 96 percent of students enrolled in the state higher education system, there is a need for state colleges and universities to be strengthened through strategic central funding and some certain much-needed reforms," it said.

The release said that during the 12th Plan period, 80 new universities would be created by converting autonomous colleges and other colleges in a cluster to state universities.

"One hundred new colleges, including professional/technical colleges would be set up and 54 existing colleges would be converted into model degree colleges. Infrastructure grants would be given to 150 universities and 3,500 colleges to upgrade and fill critical gaps in infrastructure especially libraries, laboratories etc. RUSA would also support 5,000 faculty positions," the release said.

RUSA also aims to incentivise states to step up plan investments in higher education.

The objective of the scheme include improving overall quality of existing state higher educational institutions by ensuring conformity to prescribed norms and adoption of accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework.

It also seeks to correct regional imbalances in access to higher education through high quality institutions in rural and semi urban areas and improving access of students from rural areas to better quality institutions.

The release said that commitment by states and institutions to certain academic, administrative and governance reforms will be a precondition for receiving funding under the scheme.

In the 12th Plan (2012-17), RUSA would have a financial outlay of Rs.22,855 crore, of which Rs.16,227 crore will be the central share, the release added.

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