Higher Education, India: 2 (ministry data)

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INDIA 2012


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Higher Education


There were 20 Universities and 500 Colleges at the time of independence (1947). At present, there are 544 universities and university-level institutions as on 31 December 2009 of which there are 261 State Universities, 73 Private Universities, 42 Central Universities, 130 Deemed Universities, 33 institutions of national importance established under Acts of Parliament, and five institutions established under various State legislations.


The University Grants Commission (UGC) which came into existence on 28 December 1953, became a statutory organisation by an Act of Parliament in 1956. It is a national body for the coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of university education. It serves as a coordinating body between the Union and State Governments and the institutions of higher learning. It also acts as an advisory body to these Governments and institutions on issues relating to higher education.

Section 12 of the UGC Act provides that the Commission shall, in consultation with the universities concerned, take all such steps as it may think fit for the promotion and coordination of university education and for the maintenance of standards in teaching, examination and research. To teaching and research, extension was added as the third dimension of education by the Commission.

For the purpose of performing its functions, the Commission may allocate and disburse, out of the Fund of the Commission, grants to universities and colleges for their maintenance and development; advise the Union Government, State Governments and Institutions of higher learning on the measures necessary for the promotion of university education and make Rules and Regulations consistent with the Act, etc. The Commission consists of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and 10 other members appointed by the Government of India. The executive head is Secretary.

The University Grants Commission has its Regional Offices at Hyderabad, Pune, Bhopal, Kolkata, Guwahati and Bangaluru. UGC has been allocated the general plan budget of Rs 3439.95 crores for the year 2009-10. UGC has taken a new initiative 'Operation- Faculty Recharge' for augmenting the research and teaching resources of Universities.


The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), New Delhi, set up in 1972, reviews the progress of historical research and encourages scientific writing of history. It operates research projects, finances research projects by individual scholars, awards fellowships and undertakes publication and translation work.

The Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR), functioning from 1977 with offices in New Delhi and Lucknow, reviews the progress, sponsors or assists projects and programmes of research in philosophy, and gives financial assistance to institutions and individuals to conduct research in philosophy and allied disciplines.

The Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla set up in 1965 is a residential centre for advanced research in humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. It is a community of scholars engaged in exploring new frontiers of knowledge aimed at conceptual development and offering interdisciplinary perspectives on questions of contemporary relevance.

The Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi, is an autonomous body for promoting and coordinating social science research. Its main functions are to review the progress of social science research, give advice on research activities in government or outside, sponsor research programmes and give grants to institutions and individuals for research in social sciences.

The National Council of Rural Institute (NCRI) was set up in 1995 as an autonomous organisation fully funded by the Central Government to promote rural higher education on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi’s revolutionary and voluntary agencies in accordance with Gandhian philosophy of education and promote research as tool of social and rural development.

Association of Indian Universities is a nodal agency for granting academic equivalence to degrees awarded by the accredited foreign universities and institutions for the purpose of admission to higher academic courses. It acts as a bureau of information exchange in higher education.



The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) established in September 1985, is responsible for the promotion of Open University and distance education system in the educational pattern of the country and for coordination and determination of standards in such systems.

The major objectives of the University include widening access to higher education to larger segments of the population, organising programmes of continuing education and initiating special programmes of higher education for specific target groups like women, physically challenged and people living in backward regions and hilly areas, such as NE, KBK, and those predominantly inhabited by tribals and SCs.

The IGNOU provides an innovative system for tertiary education and training. The system is flexible and open in regard to methods and pace of learning, combination of courses, eligibility for enrolment, age of entry, method of evaluation, etc. The University has adopted an integrated multimedia instructional strategy consisting of printed materials, audio-visual aids, educational radio and TV, teleconferencing and video conferencing supported by face-to-face counseling sessions through a network of study centres throughout the country. It conducts both continuous evaluation as well as term-end examinations.

The IGNOU introduced its programmes in 1987 and has so far launched 117 programmes consisting of more than 900 courses comprising Ph.D., Master’s Degree Programmes, Advanced/Postgraduate Diploma, Diploma Programmes and Certificate Programmes, etc. During 2005 over 4.60 lakh students were registered for various programmes of study.

The University has established an extensive student support services network consisting of 60 regional centres, 7 sub-regional centres and 1298 study centres situated in different parts of the country. IGNOU has established 269 study centres for women, SC/ST and physically challenged persons. On 26 January 2001, IGNOU launched an education channel Gyandarshan which is now a 24-hour channel and has capacity for six simultaneous telecasts. In November 2001, IGNOU launched FM Radio Network for providing additional student support. As of now, 17 FM radio stations are functional and this number should increase to 40 FM stations in course of time.

The launch of an exclusive educational satellite Edusat is a historic opportunity for the growth and development of distance education to create Educated India and meet the aspirations of our people and empower them through quality education. In the year 2005, the university established 100 Edusat supported Satellite Interactive Terminals (SITs) in its regional/study centres all over the country. Distance Education Council, established by the University as a statutory authority, is an apex body for coordination and determination of standards in distance education in the country.


India has been a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) since 1946. The Government set up an interim Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO (INCCU) in 1949, which was later put on a permanent footing in 1951. The Commission consists of five Sub- Commissions namely, Education, Natural Science, Social Sciences, Culture and Communication.

The main objective of the Commission is to advise the Government in matters falling in the domain of UNESCO and to play a role in UNESCO’s work, particularly in the formulation and execution of its programmes. The Minister for Human Resource Development is the President of the Commission and the Secretary of the Government of India in the Department of Secondary and Higher Education is its Secretary General. The membership of the Commission is of two categories; (i) Individual and (ii) institutional members distributed among its five Sub- Commissions.

The National Commission acts as an advisory, coordinating and liaison agency at the national level in respect of all matters within the competence of UNESCO. It has been playing an important role particularly in the formulation and execution of various programmes in collaboration with UNESCO Secretariat as well as the National Commissions of Asia and the Pacific region.


National Book Trust, India: The National Book Trust, India, an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, was established in 1957. The activities of the NBT are : (i) publishing, (ii) promotion of books and reading, (iii) promotion of Indian books abroad, (iv) assistance to authors and publishers, and (v) promotion of children’s literature. It produces books in Hindi, English and fifteen other major Indian languages under its various series and in Braille.

Every alternate year, NBT organises the World Book Fair in New Delhi, which is the largest book fair in Asia and Africa. The Trust also observes 14-20 November every year as National Book Week. The trust organised 16 book fairs and participated in 8 international book fairs during 2009.


Administering the Copyright Act, 1957, one of the several legislations in India in the area of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), is the responsibility of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Secondary and Higher Education. The Copyright Office was established in January 1958 to register copyright of works under different categories. As per Section 33 of the Copyright Act, the Central Government also registers copyright societies for doing copyright business.

The Indian Copyright Act, 1957 was comprehensively amended in 1994 taking into account the technological developments. The amended Act was brought into force on 10 May 1995. The Act as further amended in 1999, came into force on 15 January 2000. Under the provisions of Section 11 of the Copyright Act, 1957, the Government of India has constituted a Board to be called the Copyright Board. The Copyright Board is a quasi-judicial body consisting of a Chairman and not less than two or more than fourteen other members. The Chairman and other members of the Board are appointed for a term of five years.

The Copyright Board was reconstituted for a term of five years with effect from 22 February 2001. The Board hears cases regarding rectification of copyright registration, disputes in respect of assignment of copyright and granting licences in works withheld from public. Copyright Enforcement in India : The Indian Copyright Act, 1957, provides penalties for the offences committed under the Copyright Act and empowers the police to take necessary action. The actual enforcement of the law is the concern of the State Governments.

However, during the last few years, the Central Government has taken various steps to improve the enforcement of the Copyright Act to curb piracy. These measures include the setting up of a Copyright Enforcement Advisory Council (CEAC), which has members from all concerned departments and representatives of industry to regularly review the implementation of the Copyright Act including the provisions regarding anti-piracy.

Several other measures taken by the Central Government include persuading the State Governments for : (i) the setting up of Special Cells in State Governments for enforcement of Copyright Laws; (ii) appointment of nodal officers in the States for facilitating proper coordination between the industry organisations and enforcement agencies; (iii) holding of seminars/workshops, etc., for sensitising the public about Copyright Laws; and (iv) Collective Administration by Copyright Societies.

Cooperation with WIPO : India is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) since 1976, a specialised agency of the United Nations which deals with copyright and other intellectual property rights and plays an important role in all its deliberations.

As per recent amendments in the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 the work relating to coordination with WITO has been transferred to Ministry of Commence and Industry, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) : The last round of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994 gave rise to multilateral agreement on Trade under the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Prior to emergence of the WTO, there was no multilateral agreement on services. The WTO came into existence on 1 January 1995. The next round of negotiations in 1996 led to a comprehensive agreement on international trade in services. The objective of the agreement is the progressive liberalisation of trade in services.

It is to provide secure and more open market in services in a manner similar as the GATT has done for trade in goods. Education is one of the twelve services, which are to be negotiated under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Education has been divided into five categories for the purposes of negotiations: Higher Education, Secondary Education, Primary Education, Adult Education and Other Education.

GATS prescribes the following four modes of Trade in Services including Education Services:

(i) Cross-Border Supply of a service includes any type of course that is provided through distance education or the internet, any type of testing service, and educational materials which can cross national boundaries;

(ii) Consumption Abroad mainly involves availing services abroad, i.e., students going abroad and is the most common form of trade in educational services;

(iii) Commercial Presence refers to the actual presence of foreign investors in a host country. This would include foreign universities setting up courses or entire institutions in another country; and

(iv) Presence of Natural Persons refers to the ability of people to move between countries to provide educational services.

Under Education Services the Indian revised offer was to open up the Higher Education Sector with the condition that Higher Education Institutions can be permitted to charge fees to be fixed by an appropriate authority provided such fees do not lead to charging capitation fees or to profiteering. The provision of the Higher Education Services would also be subject to such regulations, already in place or to be prescribed by the appropriate regulatory authority.


• The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE Act) has come into force from 1st April, 2010.

• Government is considering a proposal for the setting up of National Commission/Council for Higher Education and Research for prescribing standards of academic quality and defining policies for advancement of knowledge in higher educational institutions based on the principle of enhancing autonomy of universities and institutions of higher learning and research.

• The National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010 introduced in the Parliament on 3rd May, 2010, proposes to make accreditation mandatory for all higher educational institutions.

• Prohibition of unfair practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and University Bill 2010 introduced in the Parliament on 3rd May, 2010, aims to curb unfair practices in higher education.

• The Educational Tribunals Bill, 2010 recently introduced in the Parliament, provides for a two tier system of tribunals to deal with disputes between students, teachers and institutions.

• The Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2001 recently introduced in the Parliament, provides a time bound and transparent system for the approval process as also for regulation of Foreign Educational Institutions.

• A National Vocational Education Qualifications Framework is being developed to put in place common principles and guidelines for a nationally recognized qualification system, covering schools, vocational educational institutes and institutes of higher education. It would have a competency based modular approach with provision for vertical & horizontal mobility, multiple entry and exits.

• A Bill providing for establishment of National Academic Depository has recently been approved by the Cabinet for introduction in Parliament. The Bill seeks to create a national electronic database of academic awards issued by Universities and State and National Boards of Secondary and Higher Secondary education.

See also

Higher Education, India: 1

Higher Education, India: 2 (ministry data)

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