Monday, June 13, 2011

[ZESTCaste] UGC to review schemes for target groups

UGC to review schemes for target groups
- Poor enrolment among SCs, STs, minorities and women prompts scrutiny

New Delhi, June 12: The University Grants Commission has set up four
committees to review educational development schemes for Scheduled
Castes, Scheduled Tribes, minorities and women, the relook prompted by
statistics that show the measures haven't been all that effective.

While the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education for all
categories in 2007-08 was 13.58, the corresponding percentage for SCs
was 11.62 and for STs 9.86 per cent, according to HRD ministry figures
for the key indicator.

The GER for Muslims in the 18-24 age group shows only 6.84 per cent
enrolled in 2004-05, far lower compared with students from other
religious groups who applied for higher studies (undergraduation,
graduation and above).

Women accounted for about 41 per cent of the total enrolment,
according to the latest figures.

A source in the higher education regulator said the low levels of
participation among these groups led to the scrutiny.

"Separate committees have been set up to undertake a complete review
of schemes for promoting education among SCs, STs, minorities and
women. These committees will find out the factors that have been
acting as constraints in proper implementation of the schemes. These
committees will suggest if new initiatives are required in the 12th
Plan (2012-17)," the UGC source told The Telegraph.

The committees — headed by professors B. Hanumaiah, Mrinal Miri,
Najeeb Jung and Chandra Krishnamurthi — are expected to submit their
reports by the end of this month.

The UGC has so far launched nearly 20 schemes for promoting education
among these groups. They include PG scholarships for SCs, STs and
minorities; and special cells in universities, Rajiv Gandhi National
Fellowships and remedial coaching at undergraduate and postgraduate
levels for SCs and STs.

The commission has also launched a number of schemes for women, such
as study centres in universities, post-doctoral fellowships and Indira
Gandhi Scholarships to help single girl children pursue higher

"The poor enrolment rate shows the schemes for educationally backward
groups like SCs and STs have not delivered as expected," said former
Madras University vice-chancellor S.P. Thyagarajan.

"The main problem is students from SC, ST and Muslim communities lack
the encouragement and facilities for education. Most of them are
first-generation learners and need mentoring. Special coaching and
other logistic support should be provided to bring them on a par with
their general counterparts," Thyagarajan added.

He also said the "level of competence" among most SC/ST and Muslim
students in colleges and universities was "poor".

Professor Kancha Ilaiah, director, Centre for Study of Social
Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu
University, Hyderabad, said reserved seats for SC/ST students remain
vacant in many higher education institutions.

"A major problem is that enrolment of students from these backward
sections is low at the primary level. Most of them drop out also.
Special care has to be taken at the elementary level to increase their
enrolment and check the dropout rate," he said.


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