Making available more financial and other resources both by the Government (Central and State) and private organisations is one of the major challenges that the higher education system in India is facing, said the top official at University Grants Commission (UGC).

“As an apex education body we wish that adequate funds be made available for higher education and research. India spends 0.6-0.7 per cent of its GDP on research and development which is very low compared to the US (2.8 per cent), China (2.1 per cent), Israel (4.3 per cent) and Korea (4.2 per cent),” said DP Singh, Chairman, UGC.

Singh said there is need for higher education institutes to revisit their courses and assess the job opportunities that would be available in the coming five years.

“Courses that make students employment-worthy should be introduced,” Singh said.

Private players

In international rankings, universities that make it to the list from India are mostly government-funded ones and there is hardly a private university that finds a place in it, he said.

“Now things are changing and private universities are taking initiatives to find a place globally,” he added. “This is because the global rankers prefer multi-interdisciplinary institutions, and in India, they are more stream-based, such as technical and medical universities,” Singh said. Private players should recognise the need for improvement in the quality of education as that is what would pay in the long run, he added.

On the initiatives being taken by the UGC to improve the quality of education, Singh said, “Those institutes with a Cumulative Grade Points Average (CGPA) of 3.5 and above have been rewarded with full autonomy.”

IoE status

Meanwhile, to raise Indian universities to global standards, 20 universities are being selected for Institute of Eminence (IoE) status, he said. So, far six universities have been selected.

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