From the beginning of 21st century, the country has been witnessing massive growth the in the higher education system as both the central government and states have been undertaking several initiatives to bring reforms in higher education. Considered as one of the prominent knowledge states in India, Karnataka is on top of the list in reforming the higher education system. Karnataka has now been globally acclaimed for its achievement in the high technology manufacturing service sector, particularly its IT sector, which has been recognized as the second largest in the world. Given this status, the State Government is now in the process of transforming the state as a global centre of excellence in education. Among the myriad initiatives from the State Government is "Vision 2020: Higher Education Karnataka" prepared by Karnataka State Higher Education Council. It is a well-crafted road map for the transformation of Karnataka into a vibrant knowledge society by 2020.
At present, the state boasts of national-level institutions in almost every discipline such as health, management, science and technology, law, social science, education, linguistics as well as an IIM, IISc, IIIT, TIFR, National Law School, NIMHANS, ISEC, RIE Mysore, Regional Institute of English and many more. The formation of quality workforce rests with one central university, 24 public universities, 12 deemed universities, 6 private universities, 207 engineering colleges, 61 medical colleges, 48 dental colleges, 280 management institutions and more than 60 international schools. Vision 2020: Higher Education Karnataka envisages a forward-looking higher education system for the State of Karnataka with a hope to build it as a model state in India for excellence in higher education.
The government of Karnataka believes that, with the guidelines of Vision 2020, the state can witness an increase in student enrolment with the actual numbers increasing from 12,60,038 (18.1 percent GER) [2012-13] to 22,58,000 in 2020, reaching a GER of 35 percent. This expansion is expected to be achieved either by increasing the capacity of intake of students of existing colleges and universities and/or by increasing the number of institutions. Thus, the system has to increase its capacity in terms of student enrolment. Alongside, increase in the number of quality faculty as well as infrastructure. The increase in student enrolment is possible only if opportunity is given to those who aspire for higher education, particularly for students from homes of first generation learners and those who belong to the under privileged sections of society. The report also shares thoughts on many other areas in which the state can improve its quality in higher education.
However, the project of introducing reforms in higher education poses several challenges and governments need a sensible road map to continue their journey, a clear-cut plan to work further and the commitment to accomplish the mission with a comprehensive vision. With "Vision 2020," Karnataka has introduced its roadmaps in higher education arena and it is the time for the whole country to look into it and act together for a better nation.