Prof Ved Prakash, chairman of University Grants Commission (UGC), has said that there should be a substantial increase in the government funding of the higher education, in view of limitations of the private players.

Speaking as the chief guest at the 60th convocation of Maharaja Sayajirao University here last evening, Prakash said, "Good quality education still remains elite in nature as it is still not accessible by a large bulk of eligible population. "This is attributed to the policy shift in the mid-1980s," he said, when the growth of public institutions was "forestalled" and education sector was opened up for the private institutes.

"The government should realise the limitations of the private sector and strengthen higher education in areas which are very vital in improving nation's competitiveness through fundamental research," he said.

He also said that `austerity measures' in higher education had taken a heavy toll on the quality, and these trends in funding should be reversed; public funding for higher education should be increased substantially. Ved Prakash also pointed out that despite UGC having a provision of remedial coaching for SC/ST and minority students, the universities did not utilise these funds.

Keywords:Prof Ved Prakash, chairman of University Grants Commission ,UGC,higher education, private players,Maharaja Sayajirao University , private institutes,SC/ST , minority students.