Governor MK Narayanan gives a postgraduate certificate to a student at the convocation in Vidyasagar University. Picture by Samir Mondal
Midnapore, Nov. 20: Governor M. K. Narayanan today said Bengal needed “new thinking to restructure” the higher education system.
“In terms of higher education, Bengal clearly needs a boost. It needs a new way of thinking to restructure the higher education system. The state requires better institutes and an improvement in student-teacher ratio in colleges,” the governor said at the 16th convocation of Vidyasagar University in Midnapore.
Narayanan added that most universities stressed on the number of research works rather quality.
“Wherever I go as chancellor, I find the university authorities are busy highlighting how many research papers have been published and on how many topics. They are focusing on quantity, not quality,” he said.
According to the governor, “quantity is a matter of fact but quality is a matter of judgement”.
He said there was a “huge gap between perception and facts” that needed to be bridged by advice from senior teachers.
The governor also expressed concern over the little impact the high number of research works was having on the nation. “National research output seems awfully insignificant,” he said.
He cited an example, saying a UK-based foundation had in a recent survey on research works published in India said that 21 universities had published over 200 papers in a year. The study found a few “quality research work carried out only by Jadavpur University”.
On the need to improve higher education in the state, Narayanan said: “We must understand that primary or secondary education gives a literary base. But higher education means knowledge base. How can a nation prosper globally if its people are not properly educated?”
Narayanan said both the state and the Centre should stress on “innovation” in the higher education sector.
The governor added that universities should not solely depend on government funding but explore ways to garner resources on their own. He, however, did not elaborate.
At the convocation today, degrees were awarded to two batches of graduands. Over 2,500 postgraduate students and around 33,000 graduate students were given degrees. Altogether 90 research scholars completed their PhD.