ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Mission Rebuffing a Vision

Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan

The Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan is a mission-mode scheme launched by the Government of India to fund higher education. There is a mismatch between the diagnosis and the prescription in the document setting out the agenda of the mission. The diagnostic part reads like a well-versed critique of commercialisation and privatisation in higher education, but the solutions prescribed would result in a reinforced entry of the corporate sector into higher education.

Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) is a centrally-sponsored flagship scheme, conceived in mission mode, to fund state univer­sities and colleges during the Twelfth and Thirteenth Five-Year Plans (see Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan: National Higher Education Mission, Sept­ember 2013, available at In addition to providing funds, RUSA also seeks to elicit a number of policy, governance, administrative and academic prerequisites from the state governments. The RUSA mission is intended to subsume all the current schemes in higher education and in this process it would inevitably relegate the University Grants Commission (UGC) to the position of an advisory body, b­ereft of its current role and s­ignificance.

RUSA was introduced as the third tier of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the subsequent Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), which are the existing mission-mode initiatives in elementary and secondary education, res­pectively. The RUSA mission has set for itself the goal of raising the country’s gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education from the current 18.8% to 30% by 2020.

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