Introduction and Background pointers

Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) is a gross measure that includes all enrolled in higher education proportionate to population in the 18-23 years age group.

In response to that, in late July, we created this page with some personal thoughts about the Orissa Higher Education Vision 2020.  

On October 7, 2009, the Orissa government created a formal task force on higher education.  We hope to convey some of the ideas in this page to that task force. 

Please write us with your feedback and suggestions at the address You can follow us in Twitter at  

Higher Education and urbanization are intricately related:
Urban agglomerations in Orissa
Principles behind our 2020 vision:

1. The vision for Orissa will be for all of Orissa and opportunities for higher education will be spread out. In particular:

(a) By 2015 each of the 13 undivided districts will have at least one university or a significant branch campus of a university. The undivided 13 districts are: Balangir(*), Balasore, Cuttack, Dhenkanal (*), Ganjam, Kalahandi (*), Kandhamala (*), Keonjhar (*), Koraput, Mayurbhanj, Puri, Sambalpur, Sundergarh. Currently, the ones marked with (*) do not have a university.

(b) Each of the 13 undivided districts should have at least one medical college. Currently the districts of Balangir (@-wodc), Balasore, Dhenkanal (@-MCL), Kalahandi (@-wodc), Kandhamala, Keonjhar, Koraput (@-cuo), Mayurbhanj, Sundergarh (@-wodc) do not have a functioning medical college. However, medical colleges are in progress in the districts marked with @.

(c) By 2020 each urban area with more than 100K population (see also this list) will have a state university or a branch campus of a state university in that area. Due to their remoteness Phulbani (Kandhamala) and Parlakhemundi (Gajapati) will be two additions to this list. The complete list of these urban areas is: Jeypore-Koraput*(2020), Rayagada (2020), Parlakhemundi (2020), Berhampur*, Puri*(2020), Bhubaneswar-Cuttack-Khurda(*), Paradeep (2020), Kalinganagar (2020), Bhadrak (2020), Balasore*, Baripada*, Bhawanipatna (2015), Phulbani (2015), Angul (2015), Keonjhar (2015), Balangir (2015), Bargarh (2020), Sambalpur*, Jharsuguda (2020), Rourkela*(2015), Joda-Barbil (2020).   [* above means that those areas already have a university. However, some of them may not have a state university or a general university.] 

{If someone thinks this is too many, they just need to look at the location of universities in UK in this web site. As per this page on Oct 17, 2009, UK has 109 universities out of which 90 are in England.  We are not aiming to be there in 2020, but to be there in 2040 we need the above plan.}

(d) An Orissa skills university be established with branches in all district HQs of the state. 

(e) An Orissa Tribal University will be established with campuses in all district HQ's with ST percentage of more than 40%. As of now those districts are: Malkangiri (58.36%), Mayurbhanj (57.87%), Rayagada (56.04%), Nabarangpur (55.27%), Kandhamala (51.51%), Koraput (50.67%), Sundergarh (50.74%), Gajapati (47.88%), Keonjhar (44.52%). The head quarter of this university will be in Phulbani (because of its central location) and it will be next to the proposed IGNTU campus there.

(f) A Sports University will be established near Rourkela with two additional campuses at Jagatpur (Cuttack) and KBK. The Rourkela operation will specialize on Hockey and the Jagatpur college will focus on Football and aquatics. The various sports hostels (see also this link) could become part of this university.

(g) A second Agricultural University or a significant branch campus (not just a college) will be established in a location that will create a geographical balance.

(h) Each district headquarter or town (which is not part of a metropolitan area) of more than 20,000 people will have its own knowledge centric vision. For example, each will have a government college offering arts, science and commerce degrees. To do that existing private colleges may be taken over or new government colleges may be created from scratch.
2. Orissa will be competitive nationally and internationally in having knowledge centers. Our Gold standard will be the state of California (USA) whose total population now (36.7 million) is almost the same as that of Orissa (population is 36.7 million, but in 2001). In terms of area, Orissa's area (155.82K sq km) is comparable to the area of the state of New York (141.3K sq km) and Connecticut (14.356Ksq km) put together. Alternatively, Orissa  can also use England as a benchmark; Orissa's area is a bit more than that of England's area (130.281K sq km) and population is a bit less than that of England (50.1 million). In particular we will plan for:

(a) An international level knowledge hub that can compete with the best knowledge hubs of the world such as the San Francisco-San Jose area or the Boston metropolitan area.

(b) 5 knowledge hubs comparable to current tier 2 cities in India with one of them (from the western corridor) a bit more developed than the others.

(c) 5-6 strategically placed placed mini-knowledge hubs comparable to the infrastructure that is currently in the Berhampur and Sambalpur area of Orissa, with 1 or 2 of them moving further up the chain.

(d) Two knowledge corridors: Eastern and  Western corridors.

This will be achieved by judicious combination of central, state and private resources and partnerships (PPPs).

3. Orissa will be at the forefront of relevant research. In particular Orissa will push for establishment of research centers and research institutes (in Orissa) on the various grand challenge topics. Some of the research centers and institutes may be part of the existing institutions such as IIT Bhubaneswar, NISER Bhubaneswar, NIT Rourkela, VSSUT Burla, AIIMS Bhubaneswar, etc. 

4. The act for the universities will be changed so as to give more autonomy to the universities and their VCs in terms of their functioning.

5. The higher education structure of the state at the college level will be reorganized so that the teachers in each college have a stake in improving that college. 

6. The vacant positions in colleges and universities will be filled by regular faculty.

7. The faculty recruitment criteria must change from what is mentioned in to be more research oriented and based on the quality of research (publications, thesis, etc.). 

8. Like the central government the state government will increase retirement age of faculty in universities and colleges to 65.

9. To keep good faculty from leaving the state universities and colleges a Chair corpus will be created via PPP through which outstanding faculty can get a supplemental pay as a designated chair.

10. Our recommendations will spillover from higher education to building infrastructure to support higher education. For these reasons we include various kinds of maps in these pages. 

Being prepared for the 12th and 13th plans

The National Knowledge Commission has proposed 50 National Universities across the country. In the 11th plan there is provision for 14 of them. It is possible that there will be provisions for additional National Universities during the 12th and 13th plan. It has been articulated in official announcements and press reports that the national universities are being located in places that have the appropriate infrastructure that will allow such universities to flourish. Airport and presence of other research institutes are often mentioned in this regard. Currently only the Bhubaneswar area of Orissa satisfies the above criteria. Orissa must make sure that at least one more area of the state satisfy the above criteria by the beginning of the 12th plan. Thus, based on the current situation, Orissa must make sure that either Jharsuguda or Rourkela airport is operational with regularly scheduled flights by 2012. Both those areas as well as the Berhampur area must be formally made into larger metros by combining near by areas (and have their own CDPs)  so that their overall population gets closer to 10 lakhs. Thus by 2017, two areas (outside of Bhubaneswar) needs to have the necessary infrastructure to house a national university. Otherwise Orissa has a high chance of losing out in the next rounds of National Universities as other states have multiple areas with appropriate infrastructure and large metro population. Overall Orissa should position itself to get 3 national universities out of the 50 that will be established across the country. Based on the current demographics the possible location of the other 2 could be Rourkela/Jharsuguda/Sambalpur and Berhampur.

Building up of additional areas with adequate infrastructure needs more than government efforts; it needs private investment and establishment of supporting industries. This should be explained to people so that they do not blindly oppose industries that would enable the area to become a knowledge center. A sense of competition should be brought in so that the localities that support growth and development are rewarded.

Orissa - with significant tribal population
(Out of 30 districts: 7 districts have >50% tribals, 2 districts have 44-48% tribals and 5 districts have 28-36% tribals)

Pointers and Documents

  1. Report of the HIGHER EDUCATION IN INDIA Issues Related to Expansion, Inclusiveness, Quality and Finance, UGC (6.2MB) .
  2. Yashpal Committee Interim Report (169KB, pdf).
  3. Yashpal Committee Final Report (5.6MB, pdf).
  4. PIB release on HRD Minister Mr. Kapil Sibal asking states to come up with Higher Education Vision 2020.
  5. UGC report on 374 model colleges; defines GER and gives GER data of states (352KB, pdf).
  6. District wise fact sheet of Orissa; based on 1991 and 2001 census (7MB, pdf).
  7. 11th plan Volume 3; pages 521-523 of that volume which has budget numbers (pdf).
  8. NSSO statsitics site. (Reports 516 and 517 are extremely important)
  9. National Knowledge Commission; Report to the nation 2006-2009.
  10. National Knowledge Commission: Recommendations on School Education.
  11. Higher Education in KBK: KBKcentral Blog; a document with data.
  12. Quality higher education: Ila Patnaik's Indian Express article and the Harvard paper.
  13. Purna Mishra's 2007 document analyzing technical education in Orissa
  14. Maharashtra government's plan on technical education.
  15. Anandkrishnan Committee's report on IIESTs.
  16. Educationally backward blocks in India; PIB on 6000 Model School in Blocks.
  17. NAAC: accredited universities in Orissa; accredited colleges in Orissa.
  18. Higher Education Department of Orissa; Common +2 e-admission in Orissa.
  19. Chief Secretary's conference 2008 - Implementation of major initiatives in higher education in the 11th plan: analysis with respect to Orissa.
  20. National Skill Development Mission (NSDM) plan
  21. UNESCO report - Comparing Education Statistics across the world
  22. UNESCO report - Private Higher Education
  23. World bank article - Challenge of Establishing world class universities
  24. ICRIER Working paper 180: Higher Education In India - The Need for Change (by Pawan Agarwal) [Also has a recent book on the topic]
  25. UGC Academic reform letters for the 11th plan
  26. UGC regulations and notifications
  27. Orissa government higher education related acts and rules
  28. The Governance and performance of research universities: evidence from Europe and the US. NBER working paper 14851.
  29. Vedanta University Bill (as submitted to the Orissa Legislative Assmebly in 2009) - 20 amendments were made 
  30. Sri Sri University Bill (as submitted to the Orissa Legislative Assembly in 2009) - some amendments were made
  31. Innovation Universities: Concept note 
  32. Innovation Universities: Concept note on attracting talent
  33. 2009 World Bank Rept: Secondary education in India : universalizing opportunity: Vol 1; Vol 2
  34. November 2008 World Bank report: Orissa in transition : challenges for 2006-2010: pdf -, txt -
  35. May 2007 World Bank Report: Towards sustainable mineral-intensive growth in Orissa: managing envirnonmental & social impacts. pdf -, txt-
  36. Status of Nursing Education and Employment in Orissa.
  37. University of Pune's vision 2020 plan.
  38. National Academy of Engineering of the US - Grand Challenges web page; Grand challenges booklet.
  39. Keynote address by Prof Richard C. Levin, President, Yale University, USA at the FICCI Higher Education Summit 2009.
  40. Knowledge Initiatives of Delhi Government.
  41. Right to Education draft rules.
  42. Draft legislation on establishment of NCHER.
  43. Karnataka higher education task force report of 2004.
  44. Kerala State Higher Education Council.
  45. Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education.
  46. Devesh Kapur and Pratap Bhanu Mehta - Indian Higher Education Reform: From Half Baked Socialism to Half Baked Capitalism, 2007.

Existing (in red) and 2015 proposed (in blue) university or branch campus locations in Orissa
(Bhawanipatna, Balangir, Phulbani, Angul, Keonjhar, Rourkela)

10 more state university branch campuses to be made by 2020 (in yellow)
(Jeypore, Rayagada, Parlakhemundi, Puri, Paradip, Kalinganagar, Bhadrak, Barbil, Jharsuguda, Baragarh)

Influencing the 12th Plan agenda

When the 12th plan is formulated the current central government will still be in power. That means their approach would be similar to the 11th plan in that they will have schemes that will be implemented and targeted across the country rather than the old approach of giving goodies to specific states. With that in mind Orissa can push for some specific plans. Following are some:
  •  Orissa can push that like the SLIET (Sant Longowal Institute of engineering and Technology), Central Institute of Technology at Kokrajhar and ABA Ghani Khan Choudhury IET in Malda, there should be similar rural focused centrally funded technical institutes in other states, including Orissa. Balangir would be a good location for such an institute.
  • Orissa can suggest that the 12th plan also have central universities in various states including in Orissa, or perhaps 2 regional universities where the cost is split 50-50 between the state and the center. Bhawanipatna (Kalahandi) would be a good location for such a university.
  • Orissa can suggest that instead of IGNTU branches, there should be more centrally funded tribal universities (like IGNTU) in the states with high tribal population. These tribal universities can have jurisdiction over the state where they are located and can have branches in those states.  In Orissa such a university can have its HQ in Phulbani (Kandhamala) with branches in districts with high tribal population. 
  • ISMU (Indian School of Mines University) like institutions or its branches should be established in other major mineral rich states, including Orissa. In Orissa, OSME Keonjhar could be upgraded to such an institute or be made a branch of ISMU.
  • Branches of Indian Maritime University should be established in other coastal states, including Orissa. In Orissa, Gopalpur and Paradip are possible locations for this.
  • Institutions related to the space and missile programs should be established in Eastern India, in particular, near the ITR center in Balasore. Currently most space program related institutions are in the South (Kerala and Bangalore) and West (SAC-Ahmedabad).
  • Rural Universities in backward and tribal district clusters: This idea was first floated in 1986. The current government seems to have revived it. Since it is not part of the 11th plan, it is probably going to be part of the 12th plan. The Orissa government should support this idea and push for three such rural universities: one in the KBK district cluster, one in the Gajapati-Kandhamal district cluster and one in Sundergarh-Mayurbhanj-Keonjhar district cluster.