The Government is moving towards setting up a framework of community colleges based on the North American model, Minister of State, HRD, Shashi Tharoor, said on Wednesday.

He was speaking at the FICCI Higher Education Summit 2013 in New Delhi.

“We are rolling out 200 community colleges, out of which 120 would be by this year. There would be some academic courses, but bulk of the courses would be vocational training. After two years, a student can leave with a diploma as a certified skill of a particular profession,” Tharoor said.

A community college is like a halfway house between a pure vocational training institute and a university.

More research in universities

The Minister also stressed on the need to focus on research at universities.

“We have heard far too many laments that no Indian university is in the world rankings of top 200 universities in the world. It is because of the nature of our education system. We called in the Times Higher Education to brief us on what goes into the ranking. It turns out that 30 per cent of weightage is given to research and another 30 per cent on citations of published research. In India, traditionally, we have teaching universities doing very little research, and research is being done at small and specialised institutions which do very little teaching. So, the result is we haven’t had contenders in these rankings,” he said.

He also called upon private Indian companies to fund more research at universities.

“Our Prime Minister has said he wants to double the percentage of GDP spent on research from 1 per cent to 2 per cent. We have not been able to move towards fulfilling this vision. In our country, about 80 per cent of the total spending on research is being done by the Government, whereas in the OECD countries or Western countries, 75 per cent of R&D spending comes from the private sector.”