The government is looking to replace fee subsidy in top educational institutions including IITs with direct transfers to students. Another plan is to establish a national crowd-funding platform - both part of the Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP) that aims to revamp higher education. Ten expert groups, constituted by the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry, formed to draw up a plan for EQUIP have made the above recommendations.
The key proposal is a nationwide movement called Each One, Teach One. This programme urges families to support the educational needs of at least one student. The donation towards this will be operated on a national digital platform that will connect donors with students and institutions, mentioned a report in The Economic Times.
As mentioned in the daily, the target is to raise Rs more than 25,000 crore as well as support over 10 lakh students in different disciplines.
EQUIP's expert group on Higher Education Financing has recommended a massive government funding and has called for fee rationalisation. It has also suggested that instead of subsiding the institute, the student's tuition fee should be directly reimbursed to his or her account through direct benefit transfer. It has also asked for full tax exemptions for donations to education as well. It has suggested philanthropy offices to be set up in all institutes, reduction or waiver of GST on educational services and better FCRA regimes for foreign donors.
The policy also advocates a more hands-off approach on fee regulation in higher educational institutions as well as schools. However, it has also asked institutes to ensure full financial disclosure and put in place comprehensive scholarship and policies to ensure disadvantaged students are not deprived.
The PMO is mostly on board with the EQUIP project that is likely to be taken to the cabinet. If it follows through, it will be rolled out within the first 100 days of the new government.
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