Varsities badly governed: Ansari - Vice-President voices resource concern at Utkal University convocation

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By SHILPI SAMPAD
  • Published 3.03.12
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Bhubaneswar, March 2: Vice-President Hamid Ansari today said state universities and affiliated colleges were most neglected in terms of resources and government allocation.

Addressing the 44th annual convocation of Utkal University here, Ansari said: “Our universities remain one of the most under-managed and badly governed, with constricted autonomy, internal subversion within academia and multiple, opaque regulatory systems. University education is no longer viewed as a good in itself but as the stepping stone to a higher economic and social orbit.” In saying this, he was referring to the findings of the Yashpal Committee Report, 2009.

Extensively quoting the report, Ansari said: “The structure and quality of these (higher education) institutions, and their output was the subject of critical scrutiny in the Yashpal Committee Report, 2009. It noted that most instrumentalities of our education harm the potential of human mind for constructing and creating new knowledge.”

The Vice-President said higher education in the country was affected by low enrolment and poor quality. To battle this situation, the 12th Five Year Plan calls for “a strategic shift from mere expansion to improvement in quality in higher education” for which “the focus should not be only on larger enrolment but also on the quality if expansion”.

Underscoring the trend of attending coaching classes, he said the tuition industry stands as a monumental reflection of the institutional and systemic failure of education, which must be reversed.

Ansari also offered a few suggestions to revamp higher education in the country such as focusing more on learning outcomes than infrastructure, teaching faculty and staff employed, and resources available.

“We also need to move away from the lure of branding and elitist education. State universities and the 30,000-strong college system must obtain greater funds, create new infrastructure and enrich their existing academic programmes,” he said.

Further, education must be an arena of choice, not of elimination, since there is an adverse ratio of demand and availability of seats, he said adding that avenues must be created for skill training and vocational education.

In another development, university authorities said that last evening chancellor and governor M.C. Bhandare decided to put on hold the conferment of the honorary degrees on the former president of Servants of People Society, Manubhai Patel.

The honour was suspended after the governor’s office received several petitions against Patel, including a criminal complaint registered in Cuttack.

A copy of the same was also given to Ansari. Patel was among the seven personalities to receive the honorary doctorate degrees at the convocation today.

Of them, Supreme Court judge Justice A.K. Patnaik, special public prosecutor U.U. Lalit, scientist Bansidhar Panda and cardio-thoracic surgeon Ramakanta Panda were present. Solicitor general of India Rohinton Nariman and lawyer Harish Salve could not make it to the event.

On the occasion, 91 gold medals and nine cash awards were given to students of different departments of the university while 192 PhD degrees in different disciplines were also awarded.

Bhandare advised the university authorities to include rural visits and projects from undergraduate to research levels, keeping students abreast of national and global issues, value education and enhancing skills to ensure employability. Utkal vice-chancellor P.K. Sahoo highlighted the university’s achievements and initiatives towards ensuring quality education.