14-states-yet-to-join-education-scheme

14 States yet to join education scheme

 

Context: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal are among the 14 States and Union Territories which are yet to sign a crucial memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Union Education Ministry, which mandates the implementation of the National Education Policy, 2020 to get funds of almost ₹13,000 crore for the next three years under the Centre’s flagship scheme for State-run higher education institutions.

About PM-USHA

  • PM-USHA is the new name for the Ministry’s scheme to improve the quality of higher education in State universities — through curricular and programme changes, teacher training, physical and digital infrastructure, accreditation, and enhancing employability — while ensuring equity, access, and inclusion. 
  • It provides an outlay of ₹12,926.1 crore between 2023-24 and 2025-26.
  • The MoU is being signed to show the willingness of the States and Union Territories to participate in the PM-USHA scheme and it will help in the better implementation of the scheme
  • The MoU — which makes it mandatory for States to undertake the administrative, academic, accreditation, and governance reforms detailed in the NEP, including an academic credit bank, entry and exit flexibility, and the Samarth e-governance platform — has irked some State governments.
  • The scheme has scope to adapt to the differing needs of different States, and even different districts.
  • As on date, 22 States/UTs have signed the MoUs and discussions are in progress with the 14 remaining States and UTs.

Concerns of some States

  • About 40% of the expenses under PRADHAN MANTRI UCHCHATAR SHIKSHA ABHIYAN (PM USHA)  is borne by the States. To implement the NEP, States need more funds and aid from the Centre. This MoU does not say anything about finding funds for changes envisaged under the NEP.
  • The Centre says it is holding discussions to iron out differences with dissenting States and communicate the importance of NEP and PM-USHA.

Conclusion

  • Multiple consultations had been undertaken before finalising the structure of PM-USHA. 
  • The MoU contains clauses regarding proper planning, implementation and monitoring of the scheme. 
  • Commitment on planning and drafting the proposals by the State by aligning it with NEP will lead to integration between NEP and PM-USHA.
  • States and UTs have also been given the flexibility to identify their focus districts on the basis of various indicators.

Imp for:

GS Paper II

Topic: Education, Social Justice, Governance, Schemes