State is neglecting higher education. Here’s proof

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SummaryAverage spend 0.5% of gross state domestic product; Maharashtra contribution 0.14%

Average spend 0.5% of gross state domestic product; Maharashtra contribution 0.14%

Maharashtra spends only 0.14 per cent of gross state domestic product (GSDP) on higher education, much less than the dismal 0.5 per cent all states spend average, claims the draft of a proposed funding scheme for universities and colleges.

Accordingly, draft recommendations of National Higher Education Mission or Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) focus on result-oriented funding.

The draft, prepared by the ministry of human resource development and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, is up for public consultation.

It says Uttar Pradesh , Jharkhand, and West Bengal have very low gross enrollment ratios (GERs). Their spend on higher education is also very low.

“States such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu (TN), which have higher institutional density but whose spend on higher education is low or average, most likely have high degree of private participation. This again creates distortions in state higher education systems.”

The draft says Goa, TN, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tripura and Mizoram have shown high per capita expenditure on higher education with reasonable GERs compared to the national average.

“This may also be because these states have a history of positive intervention in higher education. New Delhi and Puducherry have a high GER, while states such as Maharashtra have a good GER, but their spend on higher education is low,” it says.

The report says state institutions lack “absorptive capacity” and the funds transfer and use process is cumbersome. As a result, of the Rs 22,891 crore allotted in the 11th plan to improve state universities only Rs 7,652 crore was spent.

While six per cent of students are enrolled in centrally funded public institutions, state-controlled public institutions cater to the remaining.

However, most grants go to central institutions. In the 11th plan, the allocation to state universities was Rs 832 crore and central universities Rs 1,975 crore. The planning commission has now proposed a new way of funding state higher education institutions through RUSA. “While state universities cater to a large number of students, their funding is a fraction of what central institutions get. RUSA will have a completely new approach. It will fund higher education in state universities based on performance and give incentives to institutions doing well,” the report says.

However, there will be prerequisites, including creation of a state higher education council, accreditation agencies, preparation of state perspective plans, commitment of certain stipulated share of

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