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14 States yet to join Centre’s flagship education scheme

  • Published
    14th Aug, 2023

At present, 14 States and Union Territories are yet to sign a crucial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Union Education Ministry, which mandates the  under the Centre’s flagship scheme for State-run higher education.

What is the new Scheme?

  • Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) is the new name for the Ministry’s scheme to improve the quality of higher education in State Universities — through curricular and programme changes, teacher training, physical and digital infrastructure, accreditation, and enhancing employability — while ensuring equity, access, and inclusion.
  • Funding: PM-USHA scheme has 60:40 funding split between Centre and States, with no extra money for NEP reforms.
  • It provides an outlay of ?12,926.10 crore between 2023-24 and 2025-26.

What are State’s Concerns?

  • States like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal are among the 14 States and Union Territories that have not yet signed the crucial MoU with the Union Education Ministry.
  • This MoU is necessary to receive funds of nearly ?13,000 crore over the next three years for state-run higher education under the Centre's Flagship Scheme.
  • The states who have not signed yet are concerned as 40% of the PM-USHA budget must be borne by the States themselves, and no extra funds have been earmarked for NEP reforms.

What are the issues in the higher education system?

  • National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) is a guiding force in preparing the base for PM-USHA.
  • NEP has identified some of the major problems currently faced by the higher education system in India, which are:
    • A severely fragmented higher educational ecosystem; less emphasis on the development of cognitive skills and learning outcomes
    • A rigid separation of disciplines, early specialization, and streaming of students into narrow areas of study
    • Limited access particularly in socio-economically disadvantaged areas, with few HEIs that teach in local languages
    • Limited teacher and institutional autonomy
    • Inadequate mechanisms for merit-based career management and progression of faculty and institutional leaders
    • Lesser emphasis on research at most universities and colleges, and lack of competitive peer-reviewed research funding across disciplines; g. Suboptimal governance and leadership of HEIs
    • An ineffective regulatory system; and large affiliating universities result in low standards of undergraduate education.
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