'Free varsities from govt control'

They should be given operational freedom to design their courses, says Sibal

In a distinct departure from the policies of his predecessor, Sibal advocated that universities should be given operational freedom in designing their own courses and having disciplinary focuses.

In order to make the proposition attractive, he proposed an incentive benchmark based on performance for the universities as also for faculties.

“We need to free the education system. We require an internal freedom to allow the Indian universities to grow. We intend to change this system,” Sibal said at the University-Industry Council Symposium organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU) here.

“I think the education system should not be so static. But in our country it has been so just because of the faculties we have in our educational institutions,” he added.

“There are various new educational models emerging in India. And, I can say there is no better place than India in the world where people can get such enormous human capital to build their intellectual assets”, he said.

According to him, only 12 per cent of students in India make it to the college after passing twelfth standard.

Target set

The global average is 27 per cent and in Europe and USA, it is 50 and 70 per cent respectively. The UPA government has set the target at 30 per cent by 2020.

Talking about the reforms the HRD ministry plans to set in motion, he said that a notice will shortly be issued to every university and educational institution across the country to develop their own websites.

This initiative would bring transparency in the system and people would get to know about the faculty and other infrastructure available in that particular institute.

A huge surge in the number of doctorate and fellowship programmes is likely in the country in the next five years. Without directing naming the CPM led Left Front regime in West Bengal, Sibal said: “But few state governments are opposing the proposed uniformity of the education system on the plea that this would hamper the diversity of the standard.”

Pointing out that there is a dearth of excellence in the country to meet the industry requirement, Sibal said altogether 14 universities of innovation would come up in the next five years. Building proper infrastructure in various universities is equally important to carry out research and development activities.

While stating that his department has earmarked Rs 30,000 crore for state universities, Sibal suggested that industry players must come forward to promote more industry-university collaborations in the near future. Sibal announced that starting 2010, a University Industry Congress will be organised to take this partnership forward in a more structured way.

A MoU was also signed between CII director general Chandrajit Banerjee and M D Tiwari of Association of Indian Universities with an objective of taking various steps to enable universities, colleges and industries to evolve joint research projects.

It will help in establishing a mechanism for institutionalising joint University Industry Research at the national level.

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