What's the article about?
- It talks about the Centre’s new guidelines to avail the funds available under Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) scheme.
- GS2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources;
National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020):
Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA):
- Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) Guidelines and Funds:
- The PM-USHA is a central scheme aimed at improving access, equity, and excellence in higher education in India.
- The Ministry of Education (MoE) has mandated States and Union Territories to implement the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and adopt academic criteria to avail funds under the PM-USHA.
- Only 22 States and Union Territories have joined the PM-USHA, while West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala are among the 14 that have refused to participate.
- The scheme requires a memorandum of understanding to be signed between the State and the Department of Higher Education (MoE).
- The memorandum of understanding includes commitments from States on adopting guidelines for the National Credit Framework and Choice Based Credit System for Four Year Undergraduate Programme.
- States must agree to these conditions in order to receive a share of the funds allocated for improving State-run higher education.
- The funding for the PM-USHA is an outlay of ₹12,926.10 crore between 2023-24 and 2025-26, with 40% of the funding to be borne by the respective State governments.
- Opposition to NEP 2020 and Concerns:
- Over the past several years, some States, including Tamil Nadu, have strongly opposed NEP 2020 and have taken measures to draft their own State Education Policy.
- The PM-USHA conditions appear to be tailored to impose NEP 2020 through the backdoor, raising concerns about the centralization of education policy.
- Academic stakeholders and administrators have expressed concerns about the multiple entry and exit options in degree programs, which could lead to more dropouts from the higher education system.
- The emphasis on a four-year undergraduate program has raised concerns about the affordability and feasibility for socially and economically backward students.
- Meghalaya, a State supporting NEP 2020, has called for a revisit of the funding criteria and an increase in the number of beneficiary units.
- Under these circumstances, it would be prudent for the Ministry of Education to negotiate better terms with the dissenting States, respecting the essence of cooperative federalism.
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