The Department of Higher Education (DHE) is hopeful of World Bank aid to enhance higher education quality in the State.
A three-member team of the World Bank on Monday held discussion with Principal Secretary of Higher Education Department, Gagan Kumar Dhal on access, governance, equity, quality and finance aspects of the higher education sector.
The team comprised senior education specialists NK Jena, Kurt Larsen and Extended Term Consultant with World Bank Soumi Saha. The discussion holds significance in wake of the international workshop on ‘Higher Education and areas of support for preparation of State Higher Education Policy’ that the Higher Education Department plans to hold in Bhubaneswar on July 2. The State Higher Education Policy is a mandatory component for implementation of the national higher education mission Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) in Odisha.
The workshop will be attended by World Bank officials and eminent academicians from within India and other countries like the US, China, England and Europe. Dhal said following the workshop, the department will get to learn about international practices needed to address issues in the educational sector. After studying the findings of the workshop, the World Bank is most likely to fund any of five aspects that were discussed in the meeting on Monday. World Bank has already provided similar financial support to Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
The team held discussion on overhauling of governance of higher education at the Government level, GER, accessibility in colleges and universities, financial requirement and human resources development.
“A major area of concern in the sector is access - the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER). While the GER is 19.4 per cent (pc) at the national level, it is 16.1 pc in the State. Odisha Government has envisioned scaling up the GER to 30 per cent by 2020. Besides, the World Bank help is required for scaling up infrastructure in the higher education sector,” said Dhal. The GER implies students between 18 and 23 years of age taking admission in colleges.
The World Bank team is scheduled to visit Berhampur University and Centurion University on Tuesday. Earlier, the Higher Education Department had asked all Vice-Chancellors to prepare a ‘Vision Document for Next 20 Years’ on higher education in the State.