The India Technical Education is on a growth path with more than 12000 institutions. The investment made in higher education in the 1950s and 1960s has given us a strong knowledge Base in many fields and contributed significantly to economic development, social progress, and political democracy in independent India.
At the time of independence, the number of universities was no more than 22 and the total enrolment was less than 1.0 lakh. By the end of the Tenth Plan, the Indian higher education system has grown into one of the largest in the world with 378 universities, 18064 colleges, a faculty strength of 4.92 lakh, and an estimated enrolment of 140 lakh students.
The higher education institutions include 23 Central universities (CU), 216 State universities, 110 deemed universities, 11 private universities, and 33 institutions of national importance established through central legislation and another 5 institutions established through State legislations.
Despite the expansion that has occurred, it is evident that the system is under stress to provide a sufficient volume of skilled human power, which is equipped with the required knowledge and technical skills to cater to the demands of the economy. The accelerated growth of our economy has already created shortages of high-quality technical manpower. Unlike the developed countries, where the young working age population is fast shrinking with higher dependency ratios, India has a demographic advantage with about 70% of the population below the age of 35 years. But this advantage can only be realised if we expand opportunities for our youth on a massive scale and in diverse fields of basic science, engineering and technology, health care, architecture, management, etc. This is possible only if we initiate rapid expansion along with long overdue reforms in the higher, technical, and professional education sectors.
Expansion, inclusion, and rapid improvement in quality throughout the higher and technical education system by enhancing public spending, encouraging private initiatives, and initiating the long overdue major institutional and policy reforms will form the core of the Eleventh Plan effort. Our long-term goal is to set India as a nation in which all those who aspire good quality higher education can access it, irrespective of their paying capacity.