While enhancing social inclusiveness in higher education is still considered important, the biggest challenge is bringing about equity in the quality of education, according to A.K. Dogra, Joint Secretary, University Grants Commission.

Speaking on “Higher Education in India and its Importance” at the Graduation Day of the KGiSL Institute of Information Management here on Sunday, Mr. Dogra said ensuring equity in quality would help students in rural, semi-urban and urban areas become part of the new economic revolution.

“Our higher education system has grown enormously in the last decade or two. It is creating a massive number of graduates who find it difficult to get gainfully employed. On the other hand, there are quality institutions that are providing value-added, trained manpower at a premier level. This dual problem exists the world over,” Mr. Dogra said.

Even though the world was passing through an era of knowledge revolution, the four key factors of access, equity, accountability and quality, that had been the cardinal elements of higher education, continued to be the guiding principles while planning for the future, he said.

In the 21st century, India had plans to empower talented youth through higher education. The aim was to create human resources with world-class higher education and skills set. “With the passing of time, entry into an Indian college is becoming more and more competitive. This is because college education is meant not only to impart formal education, but an implicit effort is always on to develop the overall personality of students,” Mr. Dogra said.

He called for innovation and clever deployment of available resources to make education more relevant.

It was observed world-over that those who got four to five years of higher education beyond the 12 years of schooling enjoyed higher incomes. But, today in India, only 11 per cent of eligible youth had access to higher education.

Ashok Bakthavathsalam, Managing Director, KGiSL Private Limited, spoke.