Shimla: Firefighting allegations about promoting private universities over public ones, the government on Tuesday called it a necessity to meet the aspirations of those aspiring for university education as the government was incapable of setting up more institutions of higher learning.
Education minister Ishwar Dass Dhiman at a meet the press program said that of the 19 private universities that had been given letter of intent, 11 had been set up. He added that there was scope for more but priority was Chamba, Mandi and Kullu districts where no private university had been sanctioned
Fending opposition charges about providing government land to these private institutions, he said, â€œno government land had been given to any of the private universities but the congress party is indulging in a misinformation campaign which was harming the new institutions and the students who had enrolled in them.â€
He said that states gross enrollment ratio (GER) in colleges and universities was 18%, which was higher than the national level of 12%, but the target was to increase it to 25% by 2016-17.
The government is already using 19% of its budget for education and to keep the Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) functional an annual grant of about Rs 50 crore was being provided.
â€œFor the about 3300 students enrolled at HPU it worked out to about Rs 1.5 lakh per student funding from the public exchequer to provide opportunities of higher education. To increase GER and at this cost it is not possible for the government achieve the targets and private sector has to be encouraged, said the education minister.
He said the 11 private universities that had set up campuses in the state, in a short span had enrolled 5865 students for the current session and had provided employment to 2044 persons.
All the private universities had been established under an act of the state assembly, said the education minister while emphasizing that the course degreeâ€™s being handed by these institutions had country wide validation.
To maintain standards of education and regulate administrative systems, an education regulatory commission would soon come into being, said Dhiman.