India needs 800 more universities: Sibal

New Delhi: India needs at least 800 more universities in addition to its current number of 480 to boost higher education, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said Wednesday.

“Currently the gross enrolment ratio (GER) in India is 12.4 percent, and we intend to take it to 30 percent in the next few years,” Sibal said at an education conference organised by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

This means, he said, only 12.4 students from every 100 students eligible are pursuing higher education in India. The effort is to take this tally to at least 30 for every 100 students in the age group of 18 to 24.

“For this, there is a need for 800 more universities and 35,000 more colleges,” he said.

The minister said India was far behind the global average of GER, which is 23 percent.

“In developed countries, it is above 40 percent. In some countries it is 53 percent,” he said, adding that for economies growing at 8-9 percent per annum the demand for quality manpower is high.

Unless there is a huge pool of qualified human resource, there will be “mismatch between economy and the potential that serve the economy”, he said.

This is the first ever contact group meeting of parliamentarians on education organised by the Unesco for countries like India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

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