Higher education deals with the tertiary level of education. Undergraduate colleges, Post-graduate college. Universities and centres of advanced studies are coming under scope of higher education. According to the survey data, there were 342 Universities including 18 central Universities, 211 state Universities, 95 deemed Universities and 5 institutions established under state legislation, and 13 Institutes of National Importance.
There were 17625 colleges, of which 5286 have been recognized by UGC. In 2004-05, an estimated 104.81 lakh students were enrolled in the institutions of Higher Education and the faculty strength was 4.71 lakh. Higher education has special value in the emerging knowledge society. It contributes directly as well as indirectly to the wealth of a nation. Therefore, the country’s future depends on a massive expansion of education particularly at higher education levels.
The objective of Higher Education:
The University Education Commission -1048-49 has made a number of significant recommendations on various aspects of higher education.
The objectives of higher education are as follows:
(1) Wisdom and knowledge:
Since education is both training of minds and training of souls, it should give both knowledge and wisdom. No amount of factual information would take ordinarily into educated men unless something is awakened in them. Therefore, there should be the inculcation of wisdom and knowledge.
(2) Aims of the social order:
Our education system must find its guiding principle in the aims of the social order for which it prepares. Unless we preserve the value of democracy, justice, liberty, equality and fraternity, we cannot preserve our freedom.
(3) Love for higher values of life:
The greatness of a country does not depend on the extent of its territory, the length of its communication, or the amount of its wealth, but on the love for higher values of life. We must develop thought for the poor and sufferings, regard and respect for women, faith in brotherhood regardless of race, color, religion, etc.
(4) Training for leadership:
One of the important aims of higher education is the training for leadership in the profession and public life. It is the function of universities to train men and women for wise leadership.
The Indian Education Commission (1964-66) has made the following recommendations:
(1) To seek and cultivate new knowledge, to engage vigorously and fearlessly in the spirit of truth, and to interpret old knowledge and beliefs in the light of new needs and discoveries.
(2) To provide the right kind of leadership in all walks of life, to identify gifted youth and help them develop their potential to the full by cultivating physical fitness, right interests, attitudes and moral and intellectual values.
(3) To provide society with competent men and women trained in agriculture, arts, medicine, science and technology, and various other professions, who will also be cultivated citizen individuals imbued with a sense of social justice.
(4) To strive to promote equality and social justice and to reduce social and cultural differences through the diffusion of knowledge.
(5) To foster in the teachers and students and through them in society generally the attitudes and values needed for developing a good life.
The National Policy on Education-1986 viewed higher education as follows:
“Higher education provides people with an opportunity to reflect on the critical, social, economic, cultural, moral, and spiritual issues facing humanity. It contributes to national development through the dissemination of specialized knowledge and skill. Being at the apex of the educational pyramid, it also has a key role in producing teachers for the education system.”