Smriti Irani
Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Zubin Irani addressing the meeting of Secretaries of Higher and Technical Education in New Delhi on 17 June, 2014.MHRD

Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Zubin Irani has asked State governments to monitor higher education universities and institutions mushrooming in their purview and check whether the management is providing the required facilities for teaching.

Expressing concern about numerous institutes and universities coming up in various parts of the country with no standard facilities or full faculty, the Minister asked states to ensure that such institutes conform to the required standards.

The Minister held an interactive session with State representatives at the Conference of State Secretaries of Higher and Technical Education in New Delhi on Tuesday, 17 June.

Irani suggested a drive called, "Know Your College" in the websites of universities, where students can get all the information about the institute and make correct choices.

The Minister sought the help of states to create a healthy environment for education of children in backward areas, minorities, women, weaker sections and tribal zones.

She also stated that a new central university for "Himalayan Technology" will soon be set up in Uttarakhand, which will also have an international faculty.

The central university for Himalayan Technology is one of the BJP's election promises and Irani has already sought funds from the Union Finance Ministry for setting up eight new IITs.

Special steps are being taken by the Ministry to meet the needs of higher education of students from the North-east in the form of collaborative efforts with premier institutes of the country, she said.

The Minister also underlined the need to make science interesting for children.

She asked the states to revisit the Right to Education Act in the light of their experiences. The fragmentation between the primary, higher and secondary education should be removed and skill development should start at the school-level while continuing up to the higher levels, she added.

Technology will be leveraged for empowering the students and teachers. For this, the Ministry proposes to launch a large number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and also establish a National e-Library by the end of this year.

There should be a national framework of ranking of universities and colleges suited to the local conditions, circumstances and requirements.

The "Shaala Deep Programme" of schools can also be replicated in colleges, she added.

During the conference, representatives of states presented their respective states' specific issues as well as ideas to improve the quality of higher education in the country.