FICCI calls for public-private partnership to boost education (With: Over 170 mn students not receiving higher education: FICCI)

November 19th, 2008 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) Public-private partnership can boost higher education in India and give chance to over 170 million students who are currently left out, the industry lobby Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) suggested Wednesday.“Partnerships, especially public-private partnership (PPP), are imperative for expansion of higher education infrastructure and accessibility of higher education in India,” said a new report prepared jointly by FICCI and consultancy firm Ernst & Young.

The report emphasises that PPP is one of the key approaches to infuse the required investments in the education system from the private sector in cooperation with the facilitating regulatory supervision of the government.

“Despite government initiatives, there exists a significant gap in the demand for higher education and the supply of infrastructure facilities. The government needs to step in not only through improvised regulatory framework but also through a different form of strategy - PPP,” notes the report.

FICCI has noted that without adequate government funding, public institutions find it difficult to develop infrastructure to enhance student intake and expand enrollment.

“Keeping in mind the demand-supply mismatch in the available educational infrastructure … there exists a need to revamp the existing regulatory framework and its substitution with a system comparable with international standards,” said FICCI secretary general Amit Mitra.

“Restrictions have to be liberalized, policies updated and a new strategy has to be implemented to tackle the challenge of providing adequate infrastructure. The government needs to play a proactive role towards PPP and expedite the approval process,” Mitra added after releasing the report.

According to the report, over 170 million students eligible to pursue higher education in India are out of its ambit and the poor and uneven infrastructure is one of the key reasons behind it.

“With a total eligible population for education at 460 million, only about 63 percent are studying in India. This percentage is very low when compared to other nations like Brazil and Russia where 88 percent and 89 percent of the eligible education population are studying,” the report underlined.

The industry lobby has advocated that tax exemptions should be provided to corporate and individual contributions to attract private investment into higher educational institutions.

FICCI is organizing a two-day higher education summit in partnership with Canada. Higher educational institutes from 10 countries including Britain, Singapore, Australia and the US are participating in the summit beginning here Nov 25.

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