India Inc can get ready to invest in higher education in collaboration with the government as the Planning Commission on Monday finalised two models for Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the sector.
It is for the first time a PPP model has been prepared to invite public sector investment in higher education, expected to expand phenomenally in the next few years. “We have an outlay of Rs 84,500 crore for the 11th plan period but that would not be enough to meet the cost of expansion of higher education. Therefore, we need private sector participation,” explained Planning Commission’s member education, Balchandra Mungerkar.
According to the University Grants Commission estimates India will require 743 universities to meet gross enrolment target of 15 per cent by 2015. But, the Central and the state governments have plans for only 70-80 universities, thereby leaving a huge gap between demand and supply.
To fill this gap, the commission has prepared different PPP models. But, the commission’s Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Monday short-listed two models for further consultation with the Central government ministries.
“Under the first model, (see box) we will not be required to invest a huge amount in one go,” a senior commission official said.
The second model (see box) has not received much support from the state governments who are not willing to give land free of cost. “There is another argument against it that when the government can pay for poor students in any private institution then why precious land should be given free of cost,” a commission official said.
But, Mungerkar said the whole idea behind PPP in higher education is to make it more “inclusive” and affordable with the help of private sector.