The National Knowledge Commission on Higher Education

The National Knowledge Commission on Higher Education

The National Knowledge Commission's recommendations to the Government of India for the betterment of Higher Education

This report of the National Knowledge Commission of the Government of India on Higher Education lays down certain guidelines for the betterment of the system. The NKC recommendations on higher education were submitted to the Prime Minister on 29th November 2006. The report focused on the need for excellence in the system, expansion of the higher education sector in the country, and providing access to higher education for larger numbers of students.


The report includes detailed recommendations under the following heads:

·      Expansion

1.     Create many more universities. The higher education system needs a massive expansion of opportunities, to around 1500 universities nationwide, that would enable India to attain a gross enrolment ratio of at least 15 per cent by 2015.

2.     Change the system of regulation for higher education. The present regulatory system in higher education is flawed in some important respects. The system, as a whole, is over-regulated but under-governed. We believe that there is a clear need to establish an Independent Regulatory Authority for Higher Education (IRAHE).

3.      Increase public spending and diversify sources of financing. The expansion of the system of higher education is not possible without enhanced levels of financing. This must necessarily come from both public and private sources.

4.     Establish 50 National Universities that can provide education of the highest standard. As exemplars for the rest of the nation, these universities shall train students in a variety of disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, basic sciences, commerce and professional subjects, at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels.

·      Excellence

5.     The endeavor to transform higher education must reform existing institutions.

6.     The system of affiliated colleges for undergraduate education, which may have been appropriate 50 years ago, is no longer adequate or appropriate and needs to be reformed. Indeed, there is an urgent need to restructure the system of undergraduate colleges affiliated to universities.

7.     An expansion of higher education, which provides students with choices and creates competition between institutions is going to be vital in enhancing accountability.

·      Inclusion

8.     Education is the fundamental mechanism for social inclusion through the creation of more opportunities. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that no student is denied the opportunity to participate in higher education due to financial constraints.

9.     Affirmative action. A major aim of the higher education system must be to ensure that access to education for economically and historically socially underprivileged students is enhanced in a substantially more effective manner.