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Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA)

Context:

14 States and Union Territories are yet to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Education, mandating the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) to avail funds for the next three years, under the Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA).

Relevance:

GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. MoU Significance and State Concerns
  2. Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) Scheme
  3. Objective
  4. Key Features

MoU Significance and State Concerns

Importance of MoU:
  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) encompasses planning, execution, and assessment aspects, aligning State initiatives with the National Education Policy (NEP) for enhanced coordination.
  • The scheme fosters flexibility for States/Union Territories (UTs) to customize activities as per their requirements, optimizing resource allocation efficiency.
  • Furthermore, the scheme empowers States to identify priority districts based on metrics such as enrollment rates, gender parity, and the representation of marginalized communities.
State Concerns Raised:
  • Despite the MoU’s provisions, certain State governments have expressed dissatisfaction with its framework, citing unaddressed concerns.
  • The MoU lacks provisions for additional funding required to effectively implement NEP reforms.
  • States bear 40% of the expenses for the PM-USHA, yet the MoU fails to offer clear guidance on funding mechanisms for implementing NEP-related changes.

Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) Scheme

  • The PM-USHA scheme emerged in June 2023 as an evolution of the RUSA (Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan) scheme in alignment with the National Education Policy.
  • RUSA, which was originally introduced in October 2013, operates as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with the purpose of providing strategic funding to higher education institutions across India.
Focus Areas of PM-USHA:
  • Equity, Access, and Inclusion: The scheme aims to promote equity, enhance access, and foster inclusivity within the higher education system.
  • Quality Teaching and Learning: Enhancing the quality of teaching and learning processes is a central objective, ensuring students receive high-standard education.
  • Accreditation Enhancement: The scheme focuses on accrediting institutions that lack accreditation and improving the existing accreditation status of institutions.
  • ICT-based Digital Infrastructure: Modernizing educational infrastructure through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays a significant role.
  • Multidisciplinary Employability: The scheme works towards boosting employability by fostering multidisciplinary approaches to education.

Objective:

  • The primary objectives of the Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) scheme are as follows:
  • Enhance the quality of existing state higher educational institutions, ensuring compliance with prescribed norms, standards, and accreditation as a quality assurance mechanism.
  • Implement governance, academic, and examination reforms in state higher educational institutions.
  • Establish connections between school education, the job market, and higher education institutions to encourage self-reliance and contribute to building an Atma-Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).
  • Foster a conducive environment for research and innovation in higher educational institutions.

Key Features:

  • MERU Transformation: The scheme supports 35 accredited state universities by providing each with Rs 100 crore to facilitate multidisciplinary education and research.
  • Model Degree Colleges: Provisions are made for establishing new model degree colleges under the scheme.
  • University Enhancement: Grants are allocated to strengthen universities, enhancing their overall capabilities.
  • Focus on Remote and Aspirational Areas: PM-USHA particularly targets regions with limited access to education, Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas, aspirational districts, and regions with low Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER).
  • Gender Inclusion and Equity Support: The scheme assists state governments in promoting gender inclusion, equity, and skill upgrading for improved employability through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

-Source: The Hindu


March 2024
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