Higher Education sector has witnessed a tremendous increase in its institutional capacity in the years since Independence. The number of Universities/University-level institutions has increased 18 times from 27 in 1950 to 504 in 2009. The sector boasts of 42 Central universities, 243 State universities, 53 State Private universities, 130 Deemed universities, 33 Institutions of National Importance (established under Acts of Parliament) and five Institutions (established under various State legislations). The number of colleges has also registered manifold increase with just 578 in 1950 growing to be more than 30,000 in 2011.
The quantum growth in the HE sector is spear-headed by the Universities, which are the highest seat of learning. University word is derived from the Latin word “Universitas,” which means ‘specialized associations between students and teachers.” This Latin word referred to institutions of learning, which granted degrees to its students. The present day Universities are no different from the ancient institutions except for the fact that Universities today are much bigger in terms of both the subjects taught and the students.
In India, “University” means a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act and includes any such institution as may, in consultation with the University concerned, be recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in accordance with the regulations made in this regard under this Act. Every year, millions of students from within the country and abroad, enter these portals mainly for their post graduate studies while millions leave these portals for the world outside.
Higher Education is the shared responsibility of both the Centre and the States. The coordination and determination of standards in institutions is the constitutional obligation of the Central Government.
The Central Government provides grants to UGC and establishes Central Universities in the country. The Central Government is also responsible for declaring educational institutions as “deemed-to-be University” on the recommendation of the UGC.
At present, the main constituents of University/University-level Institutions are :- Central Universities, State Universities, Deemed-to-be Universities and University-level institutions. These are described as follows: