New Delhi: The Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), which seeks to improve overall quality of higher education in the country, is progressing at a very slow pace and still "way of the mark" in infrastructure augmentation, creation of universities and faculty recruitment support.
As against the plan of creating 45 varsities by upgrading existing autonomous colleges during the 12th Plan, only one could see the light. Similarly, only five universities have been created by conversion of colleges in a cluster as against the target of 35.
Though the mission is just over a year old with the mandate of fulfilling the target by 2017, the progress achieved so far is still "way of the mark", admitted officials in the HRD Ministry.
Recently, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said while RUSA provides faculty recruitment support for 5,000 positions, the target achieved so far has been only 156.
Part of the slackness could be attributed to non-submission of higher education plans, as mandated by the states, for project execution. Twenty-two states have so far submitted their plans. Big states such as Rajasthan are yet to submit their proposal.
The only silver lining is the creation of 56 new model colleges, only four short of the target. RUSA would be implemented with an outlay of Rs 22,855 crore.
It aims to improve overall quality in higher education by expanding institutional base with creation of additional capacity, setting up new institutions by correcting regional imbalances and improving equity in higher education.
It also seeks to adopt accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework and encourage higher educational institutions to devote themselves to do research and innovation.
However, under the component of the research, innovation and quality improvement, funds are yet to be approved.