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Govt may confer IoE status on 30 more universities

New Delhi: Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal on Thursday said he favoured greater private participation in the education sector, and plans to convert 30 more universities into Institutes of Eminence (IoEs) from 20 now.

Speaking at the FICCI higher education summit, Pokhriyal said the union government values pr+ivate participation and would encourage such players for value creation in the education sector. The minister said the government is considering conferring 50 universities — 25 each from private and public sectors — the IoE status.

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Currently 20 institutions–10 private and 10 public–have received IoE status, but at least three of them are non-starters. IoE status allows select institutions to enjoy academic, financial and administrative autonomy and are largely out of the regular purview of education regulators. They have been also allowed to open foreign campuses.

While private institutes will enjoy the autonomy, public institutes in the list as of now will also get an assistance of 1,000 crore each over a period of five years to improve their growth in India and in global. The minister, Thursday, however, did not elaborate on the funding mechanism for the extended plan and by when the IoE will be conferred to 30 more varsities.

The minister said his ministry is trying to curb brain drain and would support developing India into an education and R&D hub and reiterated government’s intention of taking higher education gross enrolment ratio to 50%.

FICCI president Uday Shankar reiterated that government should provide a level playing field to private sector in most of the initiative and underlined that higher educational institutions run by them should also be allowed to borrow from the higher education funding agency (HEFA). He also urged the minister to look into low interest rate education loans for students.

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