A month has been completed of MODI's Government. President Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave speeches in Parliament and cleared the priorities of the new Government.
If education is a matter then, new Government want to perform a lot but government concerns regarding the conditions of education and particularly higher education is clear.
Revealing the plans of Government, Hon’ble President Dr. Pranab Mukherjee said in his joint session of Parliament that the Government will start the working for quality Massive Open Online Courses and Virtual Classes and as well as will create National Education Policies of neutrality and make new procedures to overcome the difficulties posed to the research and educational institutions. In addition the Government's priority is to establish the IIT and IIM in all States.
In a speech in Parliament, Shri Narendra Modi stated that today; there is a need of Skilled India rather than Scam India. The Prime Minister also stated about providing quality education to all students of every village through the medium of advanced Science and Technology. The Prime Minister said that through the medium of Excellency in imparting training in education, we can depute the teachers in the world.
But the question is whether the Government has such resources? After all, the Government has promised to meet the needs of the public. Now the government is spending only 3.5% of the country's Government budget on education while there is a demand to spend 8% of total budget on education.
Lack of resources
In 2020 close to 5 Crore students will stand for University education and it will be the responsibility of Government to provide the best education to them. Now there are close to 600 Universities and 33,000 Colleges and increasing educational institutions is not the end solution to the problem.
Increase in the education budget to solve the problems of higher education is also not possible because MODI Government has pressure to provide the facilities at the level of schooling. So, the only way to pursue higher education is to promote distance and online education. Both The President and Prime Minister have the same objective at this agenda.
The percentage of enrollment in higher education of the countries is also quite pitiable. 12% in India, 82% in USA, 24% in Brazil, 20% in China and 5% in Pakistan.
Profound Spending on Overseas Education
Indian students are more interested to acquire the professional degrees from abroad. According to the report of ASSOCHAM in the year 2012-2013 Indian students have spent 10,000 crores to gain overseas education. Despite there are so many education institutions in India, which has education partnerships with foreign Institutions. The important thing is that the money is a big part of our higher education budget.
For Medical (MBBS) there are only 50 thousand seats in India while demand is between 5 to 6 Lakhs. Similarly, demand for nurses is around 20 Lakhs but there is lack of training arrangements so students are compelled to study in abroad.
Poor condition of Distance education
First in 1962 Delhi University introduced distance learning in Delhi, in which 1162 students were enrolled. Today more than 250 Universities and more than 40 Educational Institutions are providing education to 40 Lakh students via distance education. The percentage of students learning via Distance Education has been increased by 22%. In 1982, India’s first Open University was formed, B. R. Ambedkar Open University, in Hyderabad and in 1985 Indira Gandhi National Open University for formed.
Today distance learning in students has considerably increased, but due to the regular changes in the rules and regulations of Distance Education and bureaucracy it has not reached to success. In 1991 IGNOU founded Distance Education Council to regulate Distance education. In 2010 Madhava Menon Committee questioned the right of dissolution against Distance Education Council. In 2013 the distance education Council was dissolved and "Distance Education Bureau" was made separately in UGC.
Madhava Menon Committee raised several serious questions against the rights and procedure of Distance education Council (DEC). In the report they stated the functionality of the Council is damaging the distance education. Council and Ministry officials made the rules several times of rules and amended it.
Demand for Separate Body
Now, after new Government came in to power the discussion about new changes has begun. To separate Distance education Bureau from UGC, new committee has been set up which is consist of Vice Chancellors of two Open Universities and former Director of the distance education Council. Committee has to report in three months.
Now, the question arises is whether the rules will change again? After separating Distance Education Bureau from UGC, it will be granted authority as AICTE? If different body will be formed as AICTE then how will it intervene in the autonomy of a university? The Supreme Court said in its order that any University to run B.Tech and any technical course AICTE recognition is not required. Then what will be rights of new distance education body? There are so many questions on this, but students, parents and all other share holders have great expectations on the new Government, that the Government will be able to complete it.
Dr. Rajan Chopra