BHUBANESWAR: The higher education sector in Odisha will get Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) aid of around Rs 300 crore in the current academic year. If successfully implemented, the amount would be increased to Rs 500 crore in the next academic session.
RUSA is a Centrally sponsored scheme spread over two plan periods (12th and 13th), aimed at improving access, equity and quality in higher education.
This was informed by Higher Education Minister Pradeep Panigrahy at first consultative meeting on implementation of RUSA in Odisha here on Saturday.
According to reports of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the total funds released under RUSA so far is Rs 279.05 crores, of which Odisha had received Rs 34 crore for preparation of State Higher Education Plan to be submitted to MHRD and setting up of eight model degree colleges.
“The amount of Rs 300 crore would be received by the department in next two to three months. We have recently submitted the State Higher Education Plan to the Ministry,” said the Minister. Apparently, there was a delay on the part of Odisha Government in submitting the proposal to Project Approval Board on RUSA due to the model code of conduct which was in place for General Elections. The Board had in May approved the higher education plans of 10 States.
The Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education in State is 11.3 per cent at present and expenditure in the sector is just 0.60 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). Under the scheme, the State Government aims at increasing the GER to 21 per cent.
The RUSA funding apart, the Higher Education Department is expecting World Bank assistance in improving access, governance, e-governance, equity, quality and finance aspects of the higher education sector.
“We are planning for a complete revamp of the higher education sector in next four to five years and we are also in the process of preparing a 20-year perspective plan for the higher education sector,” the Minister said.
On the occasion, Vice-Chancellors of all State Government-run universities suggested for immediate recruitment of faculty members, NAAC accreditation and modernisation of the education system. Berhampur University VC, Deepak Behera, said addressing infrastructure issues in the universities and colleges is the first aspect that needs to be looked into for higher education institutions to seek accreditation or reaccreditation from NAAC.