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Higher education in India to go world-class

The 14 proposed Innovation Universities, aiming to attain world-class standards, will set new benchmarks in higher education be it in academics or autonomy.

The HRD ministry’s concept note said admissions to undergraduate classes in these universities — to be established through public-private partnership — will be open to students from all over the world and will be done through one of the four methods adopted by institutions worldwide. The ministry prefers a two-stage testing process. The first will be a screening process involving a standardised aptitude test in broad areas of higher learning such as physical sciences, social sciences, humanities, languages, life sciences etc where tests will gauge cognitive and analytic abilities. In the second stage, candidates will have to go through an examination that measures knowledge through essay type questions. Tests will be conducted in all state capitals and major cities of the world.

At post-graduate level, the note said, standardised aptitude test should be done. For doctorate programmes, references from eminent academicians will supplement the results obtained at PG level. As for reservation, the note lay stress on socio-economic background of candidates. However, it made it clear that replacing the current system of caste reservation will give rise to constitutional issues and therefore it should be done on the basis of what is permissible.

Socio-economic factors to be considered include educational background and income of parents as well as nature of school (rural or urban) from which the candidate passed. The university will provide scholarships to the top 20% of students at undergraduate and postgraduate level and educational loans will be available to those in need.

A search committee will shortlist candidates for the post of V-C. It will then be submitted to the proposed National Commission of Higher Education and Research. NCHER will give three names to the President and these names will be open to scrutiny by academia.

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