Higher education in India refers to education beyond school (class 12). The medium term macro objective with regard to higher education would be to increase the gross enrolment ratio to at least 15% by 2015. This would imply more than doubling the scale of higher education within the next few years. Further the system needs to be expanded without diluting quality and in fact by raising the standard of education imparted and making higher education more relevant to the needs and opportunities of a knowledge society. There is also a widespread recognition of the need to make higher education more accessible to all sections of society.
The NKC recommendations on higher education were submitted to the Prime Minister on 29th November 2006. The report focused on the need for excellence in the system, expansion of the higher education sector in the country, and providing access to higher education for larger numbers of students. Some of the issues that have been highlighted by the National Knowledge Commission in its report to the Prime Minister are:
- Systemic issues like quantity and quality of higher education
- Regulatory framework
- Access to higher education
- Financing of higher education
- Institutional architecture of universities
- Governance and administration
- Content in terms of curriculum and examinations
- Faculty and Research
In his address to launch the NKC’s Report to the Nation on January 12th, the Prime Minister remarked, “The Commission’s reports have many useful ideas for reforming higher education. These are all ideas that merit serious discussion. I would urge the Commission to take these ideas across the country and build consensus.”
In pursuance of this directive from the Prime Minister, NKC has sent out the report to a wide range of stakeholders including the central government, state governments, vice chancellors and university representatives, colleges and their principals, NGOs and think-tanks. Further several national, regional and local seminars are also being planned to disseminate and discuss the recommendations. For some of the feedback on the higher education report, see ‘Continuing Dialogue’.