Finance Minister of India, Mr. Arun Jaitley, announced the Union Budget 2018 on February 01, 2018. The Budget has once again continued to be a disappointment to premier institutes like IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology). The education budget majorly focused on setting up Higher Education Funding Agency and Institutes of Eminence (IoE).
Only 6% students exist in top-class institutes in India, whereas, 94% of the country’s 40 million students study in ordinary colleges and state-funded universities, that are funded by neither the state government nor MHRD. RUSA (Rashtriya Ucchtar Shiksha Abhiyaan) that attempts to correct the existing historical imbalance might become the centrepiece for higher education this year.
Many of the educationists and experts expected a major announcement for constituting a credible higher education body like SEBI in Higher Education, which would play a dominant role in accrediting the higher learning institutes at an arm’s length from both MHRD and UGC.
Emphasis to Institute of Eminence: -
According to Union Budget 2018: -
- There is need to have an in-depth and appropriate understanding of the concept of Institute of Eminence. The main purpose of setting up world-class institutes is not achieving world rankings and it should serve other purposes too. Promoting accreditation system is a better goal to aspire.
- The success of the IoE scheme depends on the selection process. The selection of institutes should be in a transparent manner, and the committee entrusted with the responsibility must have outstanding academicians who have a better understanding of the university system in India, as well as, abroad.
- The grant of funds should be made in stages or phases. The approval of funds should also take the performance of institutes into consideration.
- There is no guarantee whether the government could grant complete autonomy to these institutes. Restricting the role of Parliamentary Standing Committee and CAG in the functioning of these institutes might be a complex task. Sometimes, there are chances for the scrutiny of funds or the other.
- Best learning teaching practices are prevalent in some of the top international universities. Therefore, institutes with IoE tag must focus on collaborating with these universities. At the same time, these institutes should not be over cautious.
Emphasis on HEFA: -
According to Union Budget 2018: -
- Setting up HEPA is a positive move to encourage fundraising. It is significant for the autonomy of an institute. However, it is not possible for the government to adjust the funds, as HEFA is over and above the amount budgeted by the government.
- HEFA will not be a centralised scheme and the alumni of the institute will have to play a crucial role in contributing the institute.
- HEFA is not a grant, it is a loan and it inculcates a sense of responsibility and ownership.
- HEFA will not benefit all the institutes, but only a few and well-established institutions.
Direct Ph.D. Entry to 1,000 B.Tech Students: -
Mr. Arun Jaitley pointed that: -
- Direct Ph.D. entry scheme to 1,000 bright B.Tech students was proposed to be applicable to only IITs.
- However, the government’s idea is to extend the scheme to the bright B.Tech students from other engineering colleges.
- In that case, IITs will continue to conduct the exams to ensure quality and transparency.