What are the government schemes with the RISE and EQUIP of the Indian education system
India is regarded as the next growth engine of the world, being one of the youngest nations globally, waiting for its demographic dividend to materialize. Almost all commentators agree that if given the right platforms and opportunities, India can tap into the gold mine of human resources.
Growth and innovation require the right ambiance. To realize the immense potential of its 1.3 billion and growing strong population, the path towards development will undoubtedly be incomplete without skills and education.
India saw significant investment in higher education institutions in the decade following Independence.
Of course, with the increasing population and a huge demand for catering to the growing pool of students, there has always been a struggle between investing in new institutions and supporting existing ones with more resources.
The Central government has in recent times established institutions regarded as centers of excellence, such as IITs, IIITs, and AIIMS, in almost every state.
Additionally, steps are being taken by the educational institutes and the authorities concerned alike, to keep in tandem with the global standards of education and introduce a hitherto unseen, holistic approach to education.
These revolutionary moves in the educational sector point towards a bright future for the country and its students.
While the policy level changes are in the right direction, there are still a few hiccups in our journey to increase access to good quality education for everyone.
Challenge: Lack of infrastructure
One of the biggest challenges is the lack of infrastructural development and quality of education in many public as well as private higher educational institutes of the country.
Many a time, we come across reviews from students on our website where they complain about the low-quality infrastructure hosted by their respective universities.
The Central University of Jharkhand has been rated 3 out of 5 on infrastructure on the basis of 48 students’ verified reviews on Shiksha.
Two students from the Central University of Jharkhand have commented — “No Wi-Fi, no proper labs, the worst food and mess, the worst taste. Dirty bathrooms, dirty faulty rooms. Can’t avail rooms for first 2 years. Food was horrible and not enough for all students. The campus was fine but the establishments were very bad. Especially in this time, without Wi-Fi college campus is just horrible experience.”
Another student of the institute reviewed — “The infrastructure is the worst on this campus. Wi-Fi is not provided for the last 3 years. I can’t tell about other labs, but the physics lab is not suitable and friendly for students, and students can’t do experiments freely. The library and classrooms are good. Food in the mess is not good for students’ health.”
Additionally, one of the students of IIT Madras, while complimenting other facilities offered by the college pointed out that, “Classrooms in our college were average and needed renovation.”
Such a fate persists across several institutions in India. Some of these universities are taking proactive steps to bridge this gap in infrastructure in order to disseminate quality education to the students and improve their overall performance.
The correspondence and direct relationship between quality infrastructures, such as laboratories, libraries, classrooms, and other amenities, and quality education is a fact that cannot be neglected.
The facilities offered to the students play a significant role in determining how these fare in the academic circle and influence students’ decision to either stay in India or go abroad to pursue higher education.
Solution: Rise with rising
To tackle such a situation and venture into a new era of education, many Indian higher educational institutes have applied for loans in HEFA (Higher Education Financing Agency) under the government-funded scheme RISE.
Revitalizing Infrastructure and System in Education (RISE), as the name suggests, came into existence for the sole purpose of improving the infrastructure of government higher education institutions across the country by sanctioning loans, thereby uplifting the education scenario.
In correspondence to its objectives to improve higher education infrastructure, HEFA has approved projects worth Rs 4,759 crore (approx) to 10 higher education institutes of India in 2019.
In 2020, HEFA approved Rs 455.02 crore for Jawaharlal Nehru University’s intention to build new hostels, academic buildings, and research facilities.
Higher education institutes should approach the HEFA for funding to upgrade their infrastructural facilities. Better infrastructure is directly proportional to a better quality of education.