After defamation of HRD Ministry due to death of a dalit student Rohith Vemulla in Hyderabad, PM Narendra Modi came forward to take a look at the condition of higher education sector in India. The meeting is to be held on 17 February which will discuss on issues like the lower rate of enrollments and implementation of various schemes in higher education. HRD Minister Smriti Irani and the higher education secretary are expected to be present at the meeting.
The death of Rohith Vemulla sparked an outrage in the nation. Oppositions are criticizing the existing government for the functioning of HRD department. Perhaps this may be the reason for PM Modi to come up to review the higher education sector.
As per The Times Higher Education Supplement, not a single Indian institution of higher learning is in the list of top 200 universities of the world. Also, in the first budget, it has been seen that there was less fund for the higher sector in India. And the reforms were done in the previously launched programme with less budget. The research sector is also not showing any significant growth.
In an analysis, there is a sharp decrement in the rate of growth in enrollment of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students in higher education in the past four years. Only 18 out of every 100 SC youth enrolled in college in 2014-15, which is a low figure against nation’s 23.6. This figure is much lower for ST students, 13.3.
In recent times, the HRD Ministry has launched several initiatives in higher education sector such as National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), a framework to rank institutions across the country and IMPRINT, a one-stop research funding mechanism which stressed on developmental research.
But there is still a lot more to be done in the higher education sector. Obviously, PM Modi should note down these shortages and should suggest HRD Ministry to take measurable steps. There is a requirement of serious concern for the higher education sector in India.