What the annual GDP growth rate would be in the XII the Five Year Plan can be a
matter of debate and discourse. One thing for sure is that our success or failure
in improving the quality of higher education will play a crucial role in achieving
growth targets in the XIIth Five Year Plan and beyond. Higher education will ultimately
decide whether we can fulfill the aspirations of our youth during the coming decade.
The higher education policies of the Union Government and State governments have
continuously focused on equity, access and excellence. It has resulted in fast growth
in higher education.
Currently we have 14.6 million students enrolled in 31,900 institutions.
Regarding the G.E.R., there are different estimates ranging from 13.8 per
cent to 17 per cent. During the last five years, higher education has become a fulcrum
or key instruments for economic growth as well as social justice. Massive expansion
of school education has also fuelled a huge demand for higher education.
Along with the great expansion of higher education, two issues have arisen as the
core of major policy reforms. These are the quality of higher education and the
role of private sector in achieving national goals. Private sector institutions
have a major share in all verticals of higher education, especially in technical
and professional education. In engineering, medical and management education, almost
80 per cent of the space is occupied by the private sector.
During the last two decades, the private sector has contributed significantly to
the rapid expansion of higher education, which has ultimately resulted in the emergence
of many sunrise industries. The Indian I.T. and BPO industries are considered global
in their size, volume and presence. Had it not been the case of a large number of
institutions set up by the entrepreneurs across the country, the Indian IT industry
would not have come up to the global level.
EPSI has taken a lead, since its inception in 2005, for initiation of major education
reforms so as to encourage more and more investment in education, especially during
the last seven years. We have worked closely with the Union government, state governments,
UGC, AICTE, MCI, industry associations like FICCI, CII, PHDCCI and ASSOCHAM
for the dismantling of rigid bureaucratic controls in the field of education. EPSI
has always spoken on behalf of responsible institutions and have been vehemently
opposed to corrupt practices like donations, capitation fee etc. During the last
five years, we have taken a firm stand on several education bills proposed by the
MHRD and made our representations to the Parliamentary Standing Committee which
is currently headed by Mr Oscar Fernandez.
It is our resolution to make EPSI a true champion of Indian education and representative
body similar to NASSCOM for IT industry, within the next few years. In the recent
past, we have taken few principled stands and differed with views of MHRD and regulatory
bodies. Our goal is to make India, a hub for education. It will be possible only
when the industry, academia and government move together in the desired direction.
Let us work for that.