The State budget for 2012-13 had no major allotments for the higher education sector. However, Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda has stressed on inclusion and quality improvement in the sector, through the budget.

A scheme announced in this connection is a “long-term integrated policy on higher education to transform the State as the knowledge capital of India as well as global centre of educational excellence”.

The policy will be developed with the assistance of the Karnataka Knowledge Commission (KKC) and Karnataka State Higher Education Council.

S.C. Sharma, vice-chairman of the council, said that the main aim of the policy would be to increase the gross enrolment ratio (GER) by increasing access to education to all.

M.K. Sridhar, executive director of KKC, said that the homework had been done. “We have identified 10 dimensions, including GER, quality, skill development, community interface and research. The two departments will have to sit together and evolve a policy now,” he said.

To improve the administrative and academic quality in higher education, the budget has cited that quality cells will be established in all colleges, while capacity building cell would be set up for faculty members.

For Pre-University education, while the budget reiterated that the national curriculum will be adopted for II PUC science students, it was announced that grant-in-aid will be provided for private schools and PU colleges started up to 1994-95. The budget also rakes up the oft-debated topic of obsolete courses. It proposes that “new need-based courses and combinations will be started and unnecessary courses and combinations will be removed.”

“Courses survive depending on how they are received by students. When they say unnecessary courses, they will be looking at whether the courses are viable and relevant for the time,” said Mr. Sridhar.

Medical education

This year too, the Government has sought approval from the Union government for increasing intake in government medical colleges. Approval has also been sought for the up-gradation of identified State autonomous institutions to national institutes.

“The Government is hopeful of receiving approvals during 2012-13. The State's share for upgradation of infrastructure and other costs in these colleges and institutes will be provided,” he added.

A full-fledged unit of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology will be set up in Mysore for which an initial funding of Rs. 5 crore has been allotted.

Farm universities

A sum of Rs. 524 crore was allocated for the four agricultural universities and the horticulture and animal husbandry universities for this year.

As per the budget, Jain Vidya Peetha will be established in Mangalore University for which Rs.1 crore assistance will be given. Janapada University has been allotted Rs. 7.5 crore.