Montek favours loans to students over university funding

February 16th, 2008 - 4:21 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has favoured giving scholarships to students rather than funding universities. “I would favour switching over to scholarships to the students rather than funding universities and colleges. It can be done easily, and there would be very few defaulters,” Ahluwalia said here Friday.

He was speaking at the annual general meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

The industry chambers were quick to support the move. “Such a scholarship scheme is working quite well in the United States. Our children do avail such loans. We must further push this,” said Ficci secretary general Amit Mitra.

Referring to the reforms in higher education in China, Ahluwalia said the Chinese were much more practical in devising their action plan for higher education.

“Chinese went for fourfold increase in the university fees in the recent years. They take bold decisions, while in our case there is much resistance whenever there is talk of the fee revision,” he said.

Asserting the need to introduce radical reforms in higher education to make education global in appeal, Ahluwalia said the skill constraints would begin to bite if the infrastructure was not expanded and quality of education was not further increased.

He said the government was going to review the role of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), the two primary agencies of the country dealing with higher education.

“We would set up a formal mechanism to devise their role during the 11th plan period. The industry could also chip in with suggestions and their prospective role in higher education.”

Ahluwalia, who was to speak on “Double Digit Growth: The Way Forward”, chose first to invite questions from the audience and then answered them.

As the industry people desired to know any scope for their role in education in partnership with the government, Ahluwalia said the government was going to open 6,000 model schools in India in each block.

“There could be 300 such schools working in the private-public mode. Currently, we are working out what exactly should be the modality,” Ahluwalia said.

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