The Centre plans to create 278 new universities and 388 colleges, Higher Education Secretary in the HRD Ministry Ashok Thakur said on Monday.
"We will be creating about 278 new universities and 388 new colleges. Some of these colleges will be motivated to become universities", he said at an all India conference of higher education ministers on Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a flagship scheme of the UPA government.
Addressing the gathering and later talking to reporters, Union HRD Minister M M Raju said the Centre proposes to spend Rs 22,500 crore in the 12th plan under RUSA, which is aimed at improving funding at the state level for higher education.
Thakur cautioned the State governments against falling into the trap of encouraging setting up of private universities, most of which are proposed to be promoted by people who do not have a background in the education sector.
Instead, they can encourage autonomous colleges and institutions with good track record to set up universities with the coming together of some of them in a cluster approach, for which funding would be extended under RUSA.
He said at present more than 300 colleges are affiliated under each university which means they are busy looking at administrative issues without much time for research and impart quality education.
"We want to reduce it to an average of about 100 (colleges per university)", Thakur said.
Raju said several reforms in the regulatory framework are currently underway such as a proper accreditation structure, quick redress of disputes through educational tribunals and prevention of malpractices and establishment of National Commission on Higher Education and Research (NCHER).
The Minister said there are 306 state universities and about 8,500 colleges that can be covered under RUSA, a scheme which would have a completely new approach towards funding higher education in state universities.
“It (RUSA) will be based on key principles of performance-based funding, incentivising well performing institutions and decision-making through clearly defined norms”, Raju added.