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Chapter 1 - Education Policy of Government of India

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Education Policy of Government of India
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   Introduction 1 CHAPTER-1 INTRODUCTION Education is one of the basic requirements which lead to other categories like economic, political, cultural and social developments of the country. It is the most important means to develop individual’s intellectuals and hidden talents to bring about desired social reforms in this fast changing world. Education is expected to generate new knowledge in all fields within the reach of human mind and helpful in promoting healthy society and national development (Goel and Goel, 1994, p.3). Education is one of the dominant sectors of the Indian economy in terms of employment of individuals and investment of financial resources (Varghese, 2000). Economy would become more productive if the education system is highly flexible and adoptive to the changing economic circumstances (Bessant, 1996). Education is a public good (Blaug, 1982) which constructs a diverse variety of and massive magnitude of externalities. Consumers of education confer external benefits on those not acquiring education. The social benefits of having a large higher education  population go beyond the increase in Gross National Product (GNP). According to Tilak (2004) externalities produced by education include improvement in health, reduction in  population growth, reduction in poverty, improvement in income distribution, reduction in crime, rapid adoption of new technologies, strengthening of democracy, ensuring of civil liberties etc. and even dynamic externalities which are necessary for technical  progress and economic growth.   University or college is a body of faculty and students whose purpose is to study together, to advance their knowledge in order that their lives and the collective life of the community can be made more effective and pleasing (Berkner, 1966). Education being the major activity of social and economic development of a country needs to be well managed. Faced with sluggish education growth and intense  population and fiscal pressures, developing countries find it difficult to increase or even to maintain their current level of expenditure on education (Tsang, 1988). Therefore, educational institutions of many countries in the world are facing problems of receiving   Introduction 2 fewer grants than required from their respective governments (Weidman, 1995). Similarly, the Indian government which is a principal leader in funding educational institutions, found it arduous to keep same level funding to higher education after 1990s.   Consequently, in India, the available government resources allocated to higher education sector do not match with the needs of the higher education institutions (Tilak, 1996; Shariff and Ghosh, 2000; Choudhury and Mahajan, 2004; Patel, 2004; Yadav, 2004). Skyrocketing costs; declining enrolment; low faculty morale; financial constraint-induced stress among the staff; declining retention; overstretched facilities; old, dilapidated buildings which are badly in need of renovation are only a few of the  problems that administrators and faculty members face today (Michael, 1995). Prescriptions and strategies for dealing with fiscal crisis in higher education are many ranging from downsizing to rightsizing, from academic programme review to strategic  planning, from marketing to total quality management, and from system rationalization to  programme consolidation and discontinuation (Michael, 1995).   Higher education system has witnessed a 13-fold increase in the number of universities, 25-fold increase in the number of colleges and 30-fold increase in the enrollment of students in higher education since independence (Naseem, 2007, p. 98). According to Tilak (2004) government was committed to increase the access of higher education to 10 percent of the population from 6.9 percent in the tenth plan. It is still too less than that in the developed countries with; United States having 59 percent and Canada having 54 percent (Joshua, 2003). Empowerment of higher education is the critical need of the hour (Kalam, 2003). In India, as on 31-12-09 there were 243 state universities, 53 state private universities, 40 central universities, 130 deemed universities, 33 institutions of national importance, five institutions established under various state legislations and 25951 colleges (Website of Department of Higher Education, 2010). At the beginning of the academic year 2009-2010, the total number of students enrolled, in the formal system, in the universities and colleges has been reported at 136.42 lakhs - 16.69 lakhs (12.24%) in university departments and 119.73 lakhs (87.76%) in affiliated colleges (Website of Department of Higher Education, 2010). In Punjab there are 5 universities, 2 deemed universities, 38 engineering colleges,   Introduction 3 57 management colleges, 25 bachelors and master of computer application colleges, 355 under graduate colleges and 75 post graduate colleges (Website of Government of Punjab, 2010). 1.1 FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF COLLEGES Finance of universities and colleges is relatively neglected field in the discussions of Indian higher education (Parikh, 1974, p.27). Relevance of finance as an economic function cannot be ignored as no formal system without supporting economic base can survive. Without appropriate inputs no institution with howsoever enabling a function to  perform, can survive (Bajaj, 1998, p.32). Figure 1.1 shows funding sources and paths of universities and colleges. Figure 1.1 Funding Sources and Paths P   Source:  Cheung (2003) Higher education which is determinant of economic growth and prosperity of the nation is very expensive and only rich nations can provide higher education with large support from government (Savchuk et al., 1997). In Indian higher education sphere shows that there are two major financial problems in higher education: (i) scarcity of funds and (ii) allocation of funds between different sectors, regions and institutions. Again, these Direct Indirect Tuition fees Higher education institutes Funding agency Student Government support through grant and   Subsidized loans External aid Self generated funds   Introduction 4  problems are caused by two factors: (a) declining proportion of government financing to higher education and (b) internal outdated financial mechanism of the higher education sphere. Educational institutions of many countries in the world are facing problems of receiving fewer grants than required from their respective governments (Weidman, 1995). Similarly, in India, the available government resources allocated to higher education sector do not match with the needs of the higher education institutions.   The trends in the financing of higher education in India show that: (i) The share of government in total educational expenditure has increased over a period of time; (ii) The share of higher education in the total public education expenditure has declined, both in  plan allocation and in recurring expenditure and (iii) student fees and endowments as share of total resources for higher education have declined (Varghese, 2000). Hardly 0.4  percent in ninth five year plan was allocated to higher education as compared to 1.2  percent in fourth five year plan (Tilak, 2004). After 1990s, the government, which had been a dominant partner in funding educational institutions, found it difficult to maintain even the same level of funding for higher education. Shariff and Ghosh (2000); Choudhury and Mahajan (2004); Patel (2004); Tilak (2004); Yadav (2004) highlighted in their studies that government is reluctant or unwilling to spend on higher education. Therefore mobilizing resources from non-government sources became important even to sustain the system of higher education at its present level. Most of the committees appointed during this period give various recommendations in this regard. Which are worthy of being examined. In the Indian context, two important committees were appointed to recommend measures to respond to the demand for funds for education. (i)   Punnayya Committee (1993)  –   under the chairmanship of Justice (Dr.) K. Punnayya, looked into the funding of central universities and (ii)   Swaminathan Committee (1994)  –   under the chairmanship of Dr. D. Swaminathan, looked into possibilities of resource mobilization in education sector, essentially through cost recovery from students. Committees appeared to have acted parallel to each other and given their recommendations which were more or less alike. The government acknowledged the recommendations of both these committees in all likelihood as these were in compliance
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