Higher education contributes vastly not only in national development but also in developing critical abilities of people to face challenges. The unprecedented explosion of knowledge warrants higher education to become more dynamic as never before, constantly entering into unchartered domains. During the period 2011-12, Government initiated programmes for providing greater opportunities of access to quality higher education through greater investment in infrastructure and recruitment of adequate and good quality faculty, promoting academic reforms, improving governance and institutional restructuring with aims of improving quality and inclusion of hitherto deprived communities.
Technical education in the country has expanded significantly. There are 81 Central Government funded institutions along with State government funded and Self- financing Institutions. These institutions, supported by the government, play an important role in the technical education system of the country. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) was set up in November 1945 as National level Apex Advisory body to conduct survey on the facilities in technical education and to promote development of technical education in the country in a coordinated and integrated manner. The purview of AICTE (the Council) covers programmes of technical education including training and research in Engineering and Technology, Architecture & Town Planning, Management, Pharmacy, Applied Arts and Crafts, Hotel Management and Catering Technology etc. at different levels. Moreover, Education is in the ‘Concurrent List’ of the Constitution (Seventh Schedule) which gives legislative power to the Central Government for coordination and determination of standards in Institutions of higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions. Since Central Government is responsible for major policy formulation, to maintain uniformity in Higher Education all over the country and also to take care of unserved areas, a number of centrally funded Institutions have been set up. There are 81 centrally funded Technical and Scientific institutions
Open and Distance Learning (ODL) System
The National Policy on Education (NPE) speaks about Open University and Distance Learning in order to augment opportunities for higher education and to make it a life-long process. The institutional arrangements in place include : Open Universities (IGNOU and State Open Universities), Distance Education Institutions, Commonwealth of Learning (COL). In the year 2010-11 number of students enrolled in ODL institutions is 37.45 lakh. Distance Education Council has launched many initiatives for determination of standards in the system and provided financial, academic and technical support to the 13 State Open Universities and 186 Distance Education Institutes of conventional universities. The Open Universities offer all kinds of programmes ranging from vocational to general to professional and technical, barring those which are not allowed by the respective statutory councils