Soon after independence the country had its own well set objectives, goals and aspirations. We wanted to build a strong, dynamic, modem and self reliant India. In fulfilling these objectives, we have created broad based infrastructure in higher and technical education, national research laboratories and industries covering a wide range of disciplines and capabilities. No doubt there has been a spectacular expansion in technical education system, but quality and relevance suffered. Now the time has come that the Government alone cannot bear the total burden of financing the technical education and for that matter even higher general education. Additional resources are to be mobilized to share the cost. This is not peculiar to India and it is the case with many other countries too.
The Programme of Action (POA) (1992) for the National Policy of Education (1986) in respect of resource generation lays down that:
"All institutions will be encouraged to achieve maximum self- reliance by generating resources through measures like enhancement of fees coupled with provisions of soft loans to the needy students; consultancy; testing; sponsored project%; community contributions; institutional chairs; raising donations for infrastructural development with a provision for tax exemption; establishment of industrial foundation; charging fees for specific facilities such as laboratories, library, games, magazines, etc. The grant-in-aid institutions will be allowed to utilise the additional income generated for infrastructural and other developmental activities without linking it with the Government grants. As with Higher education, a High Powered Committee would be set up to consider steps for mobilisation of additional resources for Technical education, to bring about a better balance in the funding of institutions for technical and management education and research, and to improve the cost efficiency of the technical education system. Efforts will also be made to streamline the scheme of educational loans with a view to making it more customer friendly".
In pursuance of the above provision in the POA, the Department of Education vide its letter D.O. No. F.8-75/92-TD.1 dated September 24, 1992 requested the AICTE to set up a High Power Committee to make recommendations. Acordingly, the Union Minister for Human Resource Development. in his capacity as the Chairman of the AICTE, constituted a High Power Committee to make recocommendations to the Central Government regarding these matters. The composition of the Committee and its terms of reference are given in Annexures I and II.
The Committee held three meetings on 17.6.1993, 12.10.1993 and 30.12.1993. Besides the information and views obtained during the deliberations, the Committee also had the benefit of some of the material already available on the subject. Having made an objective assessment of the situation arising out of the stipulations made in the NPE(1986) and POA(1992), the new economic reforms, and the needed imperative response from the technical and management education systems, the Committee formulated its views and recommendations. The outcome is the present report.
The Committee did not confine itself to the single aspect of making recommendations on additional resources. The scope of its deleberations was enlarged to include recommendations in respect of the planning of expenditure by institutions, planning of grants by the Governments, enabling the institutions to become self-reliant, bringing about economy in the expenditure of institutions and making the institutions cost effective.
The Committee considered the following aspects as important:
- In view of the reorientation and restructuring of the Indian economy, it has become necessary (i) to achieve targets with minimum financial outlays through improvement in efficiency and productivity, (ii) to realise optimal utilisation of resources, and (iii) to encourage greater participation of the private sector in technical education.
- Need for greater interaction among universities, technical institutions industries and R & D organisations for optimal utilisation of available resources.
- Technical education must continue to be relevant to the development needs of the country and its quality should be maintained at the highest possible level.
- The cost of technical education should be shared by all the beneficiaries including the Government, the industry, other sectors of the economy and the students.
- Cost effectiveness of institutions should be continuously monitored and attempts made at all levels to improve the same.
- The institutions should accept the imperative need for generating resources and establish corpus funds for ensuring greater flexibility in financial management.
The Committee has made recommendations addressed to the Central and the State Governments, the All India Council for Technical Education, the Industries, and the Institutions. While the strategies and the methodology to achieve the objectives of the various recommendations are broadly outlined, the specific details should be worked out by the concerned agencies within the parameters governing the various issues at their levels.
I would like to place on record the excellent contributions made and the cooperation offered by all the members of the Committee. Without their willing cooperation and total commitment, it would not have been possible to complete this report.
Dr. S.A.A. Alvi, Member-Secretary of the Committee and he alongwith Dr. S. Unnikrishna Pillai, Principal, R.E.C.,Calicut,assisted in preparing the initial draft report of the Committee. In the preparation of the final draft the contributions of Prof. Ananda Krishnan, Prof. C.S. Jha and Dr. Venkateswaran were valuable. I am extremely thankful to all of them. I am also thankful to Shri. V.N. Dutta, Officer on Special Duty, AlCTE who assisted the Committee during its final stages.
Dr. D. Swaminadhan
Chairman, High Power Committee