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10 mn college students to be added by 2017

The UGC and HRD ministry on Tuesday set the country's higher education targets for the coming 12th Five Year Plan at a key meeting with the Planning Commission - and the targets will not be easy to meet.
By Charu Sudan Kasturi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 24, 2011 09:55 PM IST

India plans to send over 10 million more students to college by 2017 than it does at present, under an ambitious target aimed at yanking up the country's abysmal higher education enrollment figures.

The University Grants Commission on Tuesday told the Planning Commission that the government is setting a target of increasing the country's gross enrolment ratio by 10 % over the 12th Five Year Plan between 2012 and 2017. The meeting was the first of the steering committee to draft the government's strategy on higher education for the 12th Five Year Plan.

Statistics published by the UGC last year indicated that about 11.5 million students were enrolled in recognised higher educational institutions across the country. But the government is unclear about the current gross enrolment ratio (GER) because different studies and surveys have thrown up different figures.

The UGC and HRD ministry statistics suggest that the GER at present hovers close to 13.5% of the total number of citizens between 18 and 22. But the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in 2007-08 figures has estimated the GER at about 17%. The average GER across developed nations is between 40% and 50%.

The HRD ministry and the UGC are now conducting an All India Higher Education Survey which among other goals will try and fix a number to the GER that can be used for further public policy formulation. "It is precisely because of the lack of a definite GER at present that we are suggesting fixing our target in terms of the increase in enrolment rather than an absolute number," a senior government source said.

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