State univs may have to dig into own pockets
Complete state funding of universities and colleges may soon be a thing of the past. Higher education institutes may have to dig into their own pockets to meet their expenditures, if the latest proposal of the human resource development ministry is considered.
The HRD ministry has reportedly sought suggestions on its proposal to drastically cut funding of state universities and colleges in the 11th Five Year Plan, which starts from the financial year 2007-08. The proposal doesn't include 19 central universities and autonomous colleges. They will continue to get the full support of the Centre, an official said.
According to sources, the ministry has proposed reducing the number of state universities and state colleges from the central funding list by almost one-third. Of the total 330 state universities, including deemed universities, the ministry has proposed giving grants to only 113 institutions. In the case of about 16,000 colleges, the ministry proposes to fund only about 5,000 of the lot.
According to a source, funding will not be withdrawn at one go. The idea is to bring central government funding to zero in two to three years time. "Our funds will be available only for specific schemes for improving quality of education in these institutions," he added.
Instead, the ministry has suggested that state governments and universities generate their own resources to meet the demand. The Planning Commission has already told the ministry to ask universities to collect 20 per cent of expenditure cost from fees. A communiqué in this regard has been sent to the Planning Commission, University Grants Commission, all governors and state governments. Their suggestions on the proposal have been sought.
The ministry already has a document on how to reduce state funding of higher education institutions. The Central Advisory Board for Education (CABE) committee on higher education has recommended gradual reduction in state funding in three years. The communiqué can be seen as a step towards creating a framework. HRD minister Arjun Singh had recently told HT: "We will have to draw a framework for reducing state funding and increasing fees in state-funded institutes of higher education. The ministry is working on it."
Sources say the need to make universities and colleges independent of state funding has risen as the government is keen on implementing the Right to Education Bill. For this, over Rs 50,000 crore will be required in the 11th Plan. "In addition to about Rs 8,000 crore from education cess, we will have to garner money from all heads of the HRD ministry. For this, allocation will have to be reduced," a Planning Commission official said.