Reader’s Voice: The number of schools, colleges and hostels across the country for different classes of the society have increased exponentially under the UPA, as has the quality.

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According to a report released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June 2010, around 20,000 elementary schools including 7,400 primary schools and 11,847 upper primary schools have been set up across the country to make education accessible to children. Over 35,000 teachers have been appointed in this period and 9,708 additional classrooms constructed. Similarly, 26.62 lakh teachers have been provided in-service training and 9.54 crore children given textbooks, the report said.

Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan was launched with an aim to improve access to secondary education. Clearance was given to set up 2,478 new schools and improve 6,998 existing schools under the scheme. Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which makes education the fundamental right of every child was enacted in April, 2010. To promote education among girls, a scheme was started to establish and manage separate hostels for them in the educationally backward areas. During 2009-10, approval was given to set up 379 such hostels in 11 states.

Similarly, in higher education, the government has embarked upon a number of initiatives like setting up 16 central universities, six IIMs, two IITs and ten NITs. The IIMs have been set up at Rohtak, Raipur, Ranchi, Tiruchirapalli, Kashipur and Udaipur. Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), the national higher education mission,was launched to offer funding to various institutions. The funding is done on the basis of performance indicators relevant to students, faculty, and research. Within this ambitious higher education program to reinvigorate state universities, 56 new model degree colleges were approved in as many districts with a total outlay of Rs 672 crore.

Higher Education sector has witnessed a tremendous increase in its institutional capacity in the years since Independence. The number of Universities/University-level institutions has increased 18 times from 27 in 1950 to 504 in 2009. The sector boasts of 42 Central universities, 243 State universities, 53 State Private universities, 130 Deemed universities, 33 Institutions of National Importance (established under Acts of Parliament) and five Institutions (established under various State legislation’s). The number of colleges has also registered manifold increase with just 578 in 1950 growing to be more than 30,000 in 2011.

The quantum growth in the higher education sector is spear-headed by the universities, which are the highest seat of learning. The present day Universities are no different from the ancient institutions except for the fact that Universities today are much bigger in terms of both the subjects taught and the students.

By Anamika Kapoor

Also See:
You Speak – Education Inequality
Is our Education System Failing Our Children?

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