Agartala, Sept 26 (IANS): Enrolment levels in higher education in urban areas of the NE region are higher than the national average, University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Sukhadeo Thorat has said.
The enrolment ratio in higher education in urban areas is 27.58 percent and the national average is 27.08 percent. However, he said, the all-India enrolment rate in higher education in rural areas was 8.40 percent and 5.20 percent in the northeastern region.
"Over the years, the northeastern region has made considerable progress in the higher education. Compared with the all India enrolment rate of 13.59 percent, the enrolment rate for post higher secondary education for the region is 9.46 percent," Thorat told reporters late Saturday.
"Many years back the gap of enrolment rate between the national average and northeastern region was much higher," he said.
The UGC chairman said the northeastern states would have to address the rural urban and male female disparities in access to higher education.
"The male and female enrolment percentage of northeastern region is 10.81 percent and 8.14 percent respectively. The national average as a whole is 15.56 percent for male and 11.46 percent for female."
He hoped that the state governments in the region would give special focus on the rural area and the groups with lower access to higher education.
Saying that the central government has accorded high priority to the promotion of higher education in the country, the UGC chief said: "Out of 42 central universities, 10 central universities, including central agricultural university, are located in the northeast region. This shows the priority that government has given to the region."
According to Thorat, the union human resource development ministry and UGC had constituted a forum of vice-chancellors of northeastern universities in April 2008, with the purpose to share experiences and collaboration to ensure better coordination, identify the area of expansion and develop them in focus manner.
"The vice-chancellors� forum had held five meetings so far and achieved a lot in different fields," he added.
Thorat said the central government and UGC would continue to their focus on the promotion of higher education in the northeastern region, comprising eight states.
"The vice-chancellors of the region must give leadership and make use of funds made available to them. The funds should not remain underutilise," he said.