The Union Government has been taking a series of measures to improve the quality of higher education of the nation. Several premier higher educational institutions in the country like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and a few Central Universities have featured among the world’s best ranked higher educational institutions.
Global academic rankings of the World Universities are carried out by multiple agencies. In one of such kinds of ranking exercises, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-17 has listed 31 Indian Universities among the world’s best Universities.
Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IITD) have been included in the top 200 in QS World University Rankings 2017. IISc is placed in the 152nd position while IIT Delhi has secured 185th Rank.
In order to improve quality, the Central Government has launched several initiatives viz. National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), Impacting Research Innovation & Technology (IMPRINT), Uchchtar Avishkar Yojna (UAY) and Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) in the field of education for the qualitative development of education in the country. Under the NIRF, Educational Institutions are ranked by an independent ranking agency on the basis of objective criteria. Under the IMPRINT, the Government has taken the initiative to address major engineering challenges through the collaborative efforts of the IITs and Indian Institute of Science (IISc). The objectives of UAY scheme are to promote innovation in IITs, addressing issues of manufacturing industries; to spur innovative mindset; to co-ordinate action between academia & industry and to strengthen labs & research facilities. GIAN scheme facilitates partnership between Higher Educational Institutions of the country and other countries in order to tap international talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs.
The UGC undertakes maintenance of standards in teaching, research and
quality assurance in Universities, Deemed to be Universities and Colleges through framing various regulations, formulating several schemes and disbursing grants to the eligible institutions. It has notified several regulations with the objective of sustenance and improvement in the quality of higher education and for undertaking academic reforms. The regulations are available at http://www.ugc.ac.in/page/UGC-Regulations.aspx . In order to encourage research and development in the country, UGC has laid out schemes, awards, fellowships, chairs and programmes under which financial assistance is provided to institutions of higher education as well as faculty members working therein to undertake quality research covering areas of knowledge across disciplines including revival & promotion of indigenous languages. Some of the initiatives taken by UGC for improving quality of Higher Education are as under:
(i) Choice-based Credit System (CBCS);
(ii) Universities with Potential for Excellence;
(iii) Centre with potential for excellence in particular area;
(iv) Special Assistance Programme (SAP);
(v) Basic Science Research;
(vi) Major Research project;
(vii) Community College;
(viii) B.Voc. Degree Programme;
(ix) DDU KAUSHAL KENDRAS;
(x) Scholarship Scheme (ISHAN UDAY) for North Eastern Region;
(xi) New Methodology of Grading by NAAC;
(xii) UGC (Credit Framework for Online Learning Courses through SWAYAM) Regulation, 2016.