New Delhi, Feb 5 (ANI): Asserting that fostering excellence in our higher educational institutions is a critical challenge that we must collectively address, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Tuesday called for introducing flexibility in higher educational institutions to attract good faculty, raise teaching standards and encourage cutting edge research to nurture talent.
Addressing the Conference of Vice Chancellors of Central Universities at Rashtrapati Bhavan here, Dr. Singh said: "Improving quality and fostering excellence in our institutions of higher education is a critical challenge that we must collectively address. Our higher education system is often criticized for being unnecessarily rigid both for the faculty and the students."
"I think it is well worth exploring how we can introduce flexibility in our institutions to enable them to attract good faculty, raise teaching standards, encourage cutting edge research and nurture talent," he added.
Terming it is a sobering thought that not one Indian university figures in the top 200 Universities of the world today, Dr. Singh said: "Further expansion of the higher education system is necessary to cater to the growing demand for Higher Education. But in recognition of the fact that expansion without quality improvement serves little purpose, we will now give over-riding emphasis on quality."
"We must recognize that too many of our higher educational institutions are simply not up to the mark. Too many of them have simply not kept abreast with the rapid changes that have taken place in the world around us in recent years, still producing graduates in subjects that the job market no longer requires," he said.
"As we move ahead we will keep in view the concerns for equity. We will work to remove imbalances across States, across regions and across sections of our society. We will streamline our equity related schemes in the area of higher education, target them better and provide them with increased budgetary support," he added.
Dr. Singh said the rapid transformation in the past decade touched across all levels and types of education in the country.
"The UPA Government established 51 higher educational institutions including IITs, IIMs and IISERs during the 11th Plan period, which is the highest for any Plan period. Number of Central Universities more than doubled in the period after 2004-05, increasing from 17 to 44. Each State now has at least 1 Central University," he added.
Dr. Singh said, special financial assistance was also provided to the existing Central institutions to enable them to provide 27 percent reservation for the Other Backward Classes without affecting the number of general seats.
He said, about 400 universities and more than 19000 colleges were connected through high speed broadband under, the National Mission of Education.
Dr. Singh further said that the 12th Plan has also rightly identified the task for the next five years as building on the momentum generated in the last ten years in education and continuing the focus on expansion, equity and excellence. (ANI)