Several premier higher educational institutions in the country like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and a few Central Universities have featured among the world’s best ranked higher educational institutions. The Central Government and the University Grants Commission (UGC) are constantly endeavouring to improve quality of higher education in the country. The Central Government has launched several initiatives viz. National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), Impacting Research Innovation & Technology (IMPRINT), Uchchtar Avishkar Yojna (UAY) and Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) in the field of education for the qualitative development of education in the country. Under the NIRF, Educational Institutions are ranked by an independent ranking Agency on the basis of objective criteria. Under the IMPRINT, the Government has taken the initiative to address major engineering challenges through the collaborative efforts of the IITs and Indian Institute of Science (IISc). The objectives of UAY scheme are to promote innovation in IITs, addressing issues of manufacturing industries; to spur innovative mindset; to co-ordinate action between academia & industry and to strengthen labs & research facilities. GIAN scheme facilitates partnership between Higher Educational Institutions of the country and other countries in order to tap international talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs.
Global academic rankings of the World Universities are carried out by multiple agencies. In one of such kinds of ranking exercises, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-17 has listed 31 Indian Universities among the world’s best Universities even though none of these figured among top 200.
The UGC undertakes maintenance of standards in teaching, research and quality assurance in Universities, Deemed to be Universities and Colleges through framing regulations, schemes and disbursing grants to the eligible institutions. The UGC has notified several regulations with the objective of sustenance and improvement in the quality of higher education and for undertaking academic reforms. The regulations are available at http://www.ugc.ac.in/page/UGC-Regulations.aspx . In order to encourage research and development in the country, UGC has laid out schemes, awards, fellowships, chairs and programmes under which financial assistance is provided to institutions of higher education as well as faculty members working therein to undertake quality research covering areas of knowledge across disciplines including revival & promotion of indigenous languages.
Some of the initiatives taken by UGC for improving quality of Higher Education are (i) Choice-based Credit System (CBCS); (ii) Universities with Potential for Excellence; (iii) Centre with potential for excellence in particular area; (iv) Special Assistance Programme (SAP); (v) Basic Science Research; (vi) Major Research project; (vii) Community College; (viii) B.Voc. Degree Programme; (ix) DDU KAUSHAL KENDRAS; (x) Scholarship Scheme (ISHAN UDAY) for North Eastern Region; (xi) New Methodology of Grading by NAAC; (xii) UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of M.Phil / Ph.D. Degrees) Regulations, 2016; (xiii) UGC (Credit Framework for Online Learning Courses through SWAYAM) Regulation, 2016.