Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan for reforming state higher education system

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for reforming the state higher education system.

During the 12th Plan period, 80 new universities would be created by converting autonomous colleges/colleges in a cluster to State universities. 100 new colleges, including professional/technical colleges would be set up and 54 existing colleges would be converted into model degree colleges. Infrastructure grants would be given to 150 universities and 3,500 colleges to upgrade and fill critical gaps in infrastructure especially libraries, laboratories etc. RUSA would also support 5,000 faculty positions.

In the 12th Plan period, RUSA would have a financial outlay of Rs. 22,855 crore, of which Rs.16,227 crore will be the Central share. In addition, allocation of Rs. 1,800 crore in the 12th Plan for the existing scheme Sub-Mission polytechnics would also be subsumed in RUSA. Thus the total central share, including the existing scheme of polytechnics will be Rs. 18,027 crore during the 12th Plan. Centre-State funding would be in the ratio of 90:10 for North-Eastern States, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and 65:35 for other States and Union Territories.

RUSA will be a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme spread over two plan periods, for improving access, equity and quality in the state higher education system. With over 96 percent of students enrolled in the state higher education system, there is a need for State colleges and universities to be strengthened through strategic Central funding and implementing certain much needed reforms. RUSA also aims to incentivize States to step up plan investments in higher education.

The important objectives of the scheme are:

  • Improving the overall quality of existing state higher educational institutions by ensuring conformity to prescribed norms and standards and adoption of accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework.
  • Correct regional imbalances in access to higher education through high quality institutions in rural and semi urban areas as well as creating opportunities for students from rural areas to get access to better quality institutions.
  • Setting up of higher education institutions in unserved and underserved areas.
  • Improve equity in higher education by providing adequate opportunities to socially deprived communities; promote inclusion of women, minorities, SC/ST and OBCs as well as differently abled persons.
  • Ensure adequate availability of quality faculty in all higher educational institutions and ensure capacity building at all levels.
  • Create an enabling atmosphere in higher educational institutions to devote themselves to research and innovation.
  • Integrate skill developments efforts of the government with the conventional higher education system through optimum interventions.

All funding under RUSA would be norm based and future grants would be performance based and outcome dependent. Commitment by States and institutions to certain academic, administrative and governance reforms will be a precondition for receiving funding.

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