2016 has been a year full of exciting changes, Almost too many. The 2016 National Policy on Education, which is being formulated nearly three decades since the last Policy, recognises the critical of Education as the most important vehicle for social, economic and political transformation. It reiterates the role of education in inculcating values, and to provide skills and competencies for the citizens; strengthens democracy by empowering citizens; acts as an integrative force in society, and fosters social cohesion and national identity.
At the time of Independence of India, there were only 20 Universities and 500 Colleges in the country with 2.1 lakhs students in higher education. The numbers now have increased to 30 times in the case of the Universities, 74 times in the case of Colleges and the students enrolment has gone up to over 100 times in the formal system of higher education in comparison to the figures at the time of independence. A target of 30 percent Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) by 2017 from 15 percent in 2012 was set for the XII Plan. Indian higher education, currently the third largest in the world, is likely to surpass the U.S. in the next five years and China in the next 15 years, to become the largest system of higher education in the world.
India, by 2030 will be amongst the youngest nations in the world. With nearly 140 million people in the college-going age group, one in every four graduates in the world will be a product of the Indian education system. University Grants Commission (UGC) is designing programmes and implementing various schemes through academic, administrative and financial support, which will contribute in the growth and development of Indian higher education. In the changing landscape, entrance of private universities will be a game changer; it will not have direct impact on the government universities (State or Central Universities) but will give more options to the students. Over the last two decades, India has remarkably transformed its higher education landscape. Many new institutions of medicine, science, IT, Engineering, biotechnology and others have been introduced and they offered reputed degree like MBBS, MBA, BBA, M.Sc., BSc, M.Tech, B.Tech, etc.
The five percent net increase was sought to be achieved through a dual strategy that include increasing the number of educational institutions, opening gates for foreign institutes and enhancing the intake capacity of existing institutions. It is clear that with well-planned expansion of 12th Plan by UGC Indian Higher education system will see a huge change.
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