Government reviews progress of the education sector


New Delhi : The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have successfully implemented reservation for students of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), while the central universities have increased their intake by over 20,500 this year, the government said Friday.

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The Prime Minister’s Office, which reviewed the status of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s initiatives during the year, also assessed other issues concerning the education sector, including the Education Loan Interest Subsidy Scheme (ELISS) and the progress of the 14 World Class Central Universities (WCCU), an official statement said Friday.

“The review of the education sector is aimed at improving the standard of higher education and increasing enrolment for quality higher education in the country,” said an official in the Prime Minister’s Office.

The prime minister’s Principal Secretary T.K.A. Nair, who attended the meeting, was keen to have the education loans scheme, ELISS, at the earliest. The scheme would provide interest-free educational loans to students belonging to the “non-creamy” layer of quota students for pursuing professional education in India.

The government also assessed the initiative taken for setting up eight new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). Six of these new IITs began their first academic session in states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Orissa, Punjab and Gujarat.

The government is keen to establish 10 new National Institutes of Technology (NITs). These NITs will come up in states that do not have such institutions at present.

The central government also asked states to identify land and suitable location for 14 World Class Central Universities (WCCU) besides 373 degree colleges in the backward districts, which are being identified by the University Grants Commission.

The government also reviewed the progress of 16 central universities, which are being set up under the initiative seeking to establish a central university in states that do not have one.

Of the seven new Indian Institutes of Management proposed, the IIM at Shillong has already commenced its first academic session from July. The remaining six IIMs will be established in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Haryana, the government said.

The government also assessed the progress in setting up of five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER). It said the IISER projects were on schedule.

Of these, two IISERs at Pune and Kolkata have already begun functioning since last year, while the IISER at Mohali, Punjab, started its first academic session in 2007-08. Two more IISERs at Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram will commence their first academic session later this month.

Two Schools of Planning and Architecture (SPAs) are being set up in Bhopal and Vijayawada. These institutions would begin their academic session shortly through temporary campuses that would be mentored by the National Institute of Technology, Bhopal, and SPA, New Delhi.

The meeting also discussed the progress for setting up of 1,000 Polytechnics (300 in government sector, 300 through PPP mode and 400 private polytechnics). Further, 500 existing polytechnics are being expanded and the Community Polytechnics scheme being revamped and the number being increased from 669 to 1,000, said the statement.