Higher education has put the HRD ministry in a paradoxical situation.
Its plan to give a major fillip to technical education by increasing the annual intake by about 30,000 seats may get dwindled, courtesy its social upliftment programme - 27 per cent OBC reservation.
The Planning Commission, which has agreed to allocate over 18,000 crores for expansion of higher education institutions to introduce 27 per cent OBC reservation, may not have sufficient funds for other higher education stream, technical education.
Other areas (in higher education) might suffer, as government is committed for implementing the affirmative action and universalisation of secondary education, a commission official said.
As per the commission estimates, it can spare only about Rs 10,500 crore in the 11th plan for technical education, including funds for expansion and improvement of the existing institutions.
"That’s why we are emphasising on more involvement of private sector in higher education," a commission official explained. Estimates for higher education is six times the money allocated in the 10 plan, whereas for technical education the increase has just been doubled.
HRD minister Arjun Singh has proposed to set up three new IITs, 20 Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), five Indian Institutes of Management, three Indian Institutes of Science Educational and Research and four Schools of Planning and Architecture. Apart from them, seven engineering institutes have been proposed for upgradation to the level of IITs.
HRD ministry officials said the new institutes will be different from the present ones as emphasis will be more on building ‘scientific’ know how and research.
The new institutes will come up in areas where the higher education facilities are not very good. “We will look at new town and cities for establishing the centres of excellence,” an official said.
The proposals readied by the ministry are being sent to the Planning Commission for consideration for inclusion in the final Approach Paper for the 11th plan. “We expect an indication on the status of proposals by December end,” the official said.