The probability of implementing the agenda for action as proposed in the Professor Yashpal’s report on “Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education” against certain impediments were deliberated upon at an interaction session held at PSG Institute of Management here on Thursday. It was jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Coimbatore Zone, and Kural, a citizen’s group. The report submitted by the National Knowledge Commission to the government was discussed by R. Natarajan, former Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), and S. Subramanian, former Vice-Chancellor, Bharathiar University.
Mr. Natarajan pointed out the main points of the agenda and how their implementation could be affected by corruption, influence culture, recommendation culture, complacency and populism. “Changes in higher education like abolishing of AICTE, creating more universities, change in system of over regulation and under governance, regulating the appointment of heads of institutions, etc., have been called for. As regards engineering education, regional imbalance in location of institutions and integrating science and engineering education are imperative,” he said.
The setting of up of central universities, world-class universities, Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management and Indian Institutes of Information Technology, was also mentioned. Mr. Subramanian listed out the limitations plaguing the higher education system in India. “The main causes of concern are the absence of creativity in the curriculum, erosion of importance for research, archaic governance structure of institutions, academic calendar no longer being sacrosanct, autonomy being given freely to as many institutions as possible, etc..”
He lamented that those institutions that deserved to be given autonomy do not ask for it and those who do not deserve get it easily. The fee structure should cover at least 20 per cent of the course expenses. Access to education for deserving students should be ensured. According to him, legislation, finance and education being in the Concurrent List are viewed as major roadblocks towards rejuvenation of higher education.