Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Tuesday approved the ambitious State Higher Education Plan (SHEP) envisaging establishment of new Universities, Technical Colleges, Model Degree Colleges, Polytechnics and upgrading the existing higher educational system in the State during the 12th and 13th Five Year Plan periods.
The Chief Minister chairing the first meeting of State Higher Education Council here gave his nod to the comprehensive proposal to this effect to be sent to the Union Government seeking assistance under the newly launched Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a final tier of centrally sponsored schemes of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). The two other schemes implemented with the help of MHRD are Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamaik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).
The Chief Minister who is also Chairman of the State Higher Education Council stressed the need of fast tracking the finalization of the scheme at the MHRD’s level so that its implementation is initiated as early as possible in the State to give new impetus to the higher education and provide ample opportunities to the students to receive modern education under modern facilities.
RUSA would be a big boost in the efforts of the State Government to expand the orbit of education in the State and make higher education accessible to all the students. The scheme provides for 90:10 Centre-State funding pattern and Jammu and Kashmir has prepared a plan under it to improve the quality of Universities, Colleges and higher education institutions to make them dynamic, demand driven, quality conscious and efficient.
Omar Abdullah said that in order to improve the overall quality of educational institutions, ensure academic, examination and governance reforms, RUSA will have a nucleolus role. He said the equitable growth of education in all the regions and sub-regions by setting up institutions in un-served and underserved areas and improving adequate opportunity of higher education to socially deprived communities, SCs, STs, OBCs, women and differently able persons, RUSA will provide necessary edifice and give fillip to the State Government’s initiatives in this directions.
The Chief Minister said that the scheme will also help achieve excellence by way of improving the learning outcomes and employability of the graduates and scaling up research development and innovations. He said RUSA will also help to achieve the cherished goal of enhancing Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in the higher education sector in Jammu and Kashmir.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Higher Education, Mohammad Akbar Lone, Minister of State for Higher Education, Dr. Manohar Lal, Chief Secretary, Mohammad Iqbal Khandey, Principal Secretary Planning and Development, B. R. Shama, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas, Vice Chancellors of Kashmir, Jammu Universities, Central University Jammu, BGSBU Rajouri, SMVDU Katra and IUST Awantipora, Commissioner Secretary Higher Education, various Administrative Secretaries, Members of the Council, Heads of the Departments and other senior officers.
In a PowerPoint presentation the Commissioner Secretary Higher Education Department, Mushtaq Ahmad gave overview of the draft proposal prepared by the Higher Education Department for the implementation of RUSA in the State.
He said among other things RUSA provides for creation of Universities by conversion of colleges in a cluster to address the critical gaps in the spatial distribution of higher educational institutions across the State. He said two cluster universities at Jammu and Srinagar are proposed under the State Higher Education Plan. He said the Plan proposes a grant of Rs. 80 crore to the Universities of Kashmir, Jammu, IUST, BGSBU at Rs. 20 crores each to be utilized for meeting critical infrastructural needs that would lead in the upgradation of libraries, laboratories, equipments, hostels and sanitation facilities.
Mushtaq Ahmad said that establishment of Model Degree Colleges in educationally backward districts in the State have been also envisaged under the Higher Education Plan. He said as many as 17 such colleges would be established. He said 11 Model Colleges have already been sanctioned and six more are being approved under the RUSA. He said RUSA also provides for establishment of three colleges of Engineering and Technology and introduction of job-oriented courses in various educational institutions. He said leadership development of Educational Administration, Institutional Restructuring Reforms, Capacity Building, Preparation of Data Collection and Planning, Management Information System, Upgradation of Polytechnics and Management Monitoring Evaluation and Research (MMER) are other areas of focus under the RUSA.
The Commissioner Secretary Higher Education said that the Higher Education Department is projecting perspective plan for 2014-15 to 2016-17 to the Ministry for Human Resource Development involving an amount of Rs. 1049 crore. He said, of this, the Centre share will be to the tune of Rs. 935.10 crore and that of State Rs. 104.90 crore. He said the current years Plan for RUSA envisages an amount of Rs. 296.46 crore of which the Centre share will be Rs. 266.81 crores.