Higher education in our country has come a long way since independence. The government policy and efforts for promotion of higher education have been guided by the new education policy, 1986, and programme of action, 1992 and other policy initiatives in the 1990s. The higher education policy and program of action has been guided mainly by five goals which include grater access, equal access, quality and excellence, relevance and values based education.
The expansion of higher education since independence has been achieved through the efforts of individual states and Central Government assistance. A definite and more systematic effort had begun with the setting up of the University Grants Commission in 1956, with a mandate to coordinate, regulate and maintain the standards of higher education in India.
The UGC has performed this role by providing support to colleges and universities, and strengthening physical and academic infrastructure and human resources. During the last fifty years or so the UGC has developed regulatory framework and corresponding programs and the schemes to translate the policy directions into practice.
An analysis of contemporary situation raised some important issues that need to be addressed on the eve of XI plan. The issues relate to the same five goals of access to higher education, equal access to socially and economically disadvantaged groups or inclusiveness, and quality and excellence, relevance and value oriented education. The XIth Plan approach paper focuses on these five issues. The particular focus is on inclusiveness and quality in higher education. It emphasises on equal access to quality education.
In order to ensure effective regionwise coverage throughout the country, the UGC decentralised its operations by setting up regional centres. Lecturers and principals serving faraway from their respective universities are generally unaware of schemes of the UGC. This book is meant for them. It explains in detail the various schemes, functions and guidelines contained in the 11th plan of the commission.