There is an urgent need to redefine the role of states vis-à-vis centre in higher education and research in the country. Discuss critically.

It is believed that in India, the states have very little participation as well decision-making powers in matters of higher education and research in India.
India aspires to reach world standards in education and research every year, but just with centre playing the dominant role, the dream looks far-fetched.
In order to meet the global rankings, the central government comes up with a traditional role of increasing the number of institutes under its control such as the IIT, IIM or AIIMS like institutes. However, the problem lies in improving the quality. These institutes contribute to only a 1 per cent graduates in the country and therefore, the efforts on the central government’s part is not adequate.
There is an observable widening gap between the states and centre in this area. The state universities produce over 95 per cent of the nation’s graduates, including from the private college system through the affiliation route. Yet their in bodies which frame policies and decisions regarding regulation or funding. With this gap between the states and centre, India’s dream to become a R&D hub of the world or expanding the manufacturing sector or creating over ten million jobs annually or even to become a knowledge superpower is very difficult to realise.
In this context, the states should play an active role going beyond simply asking the centre to locate premier institutes in its state.
Following are the some ways in which states can play an active role vis-à-vis the centre in this field-

  • States must tie up its plans on improving higher education with economic planning and infrastructure.
  • Engineering and managerial education must have a direct connection and relevance to the State’s industrial, manufacturing and other productive activities.
  • Finance is an important aspect in this matter. With respect to finance, the states can increase its share. Secondly, the Centre should contribute more to the State’s efforts in this sector. And most importantly, the private sector and the diaspora should also play a role in contributing to education and research. The State-lease level institutions must be allowed to have an access private funding as well as overseas sources in an easy manner.
  • Lastly, a public-private partnership model.

In this way, the role of the states can play a significant role in making education and research a world class level in India. 

Question for UPSC Mains:
"There is an urgent need to redefine the role of states vis-à-vis centre in higher education and research in the country." Discuss critically.

Published: January 13, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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