'China tops in higher edn enrolment'

India to set target of 30 per cent in 12th five year plan; to focus on quality education

new direction: Bishop of Mysore Thomas A Vazhapilly lights the lamp at the inaugural function to launch the autonomous status of St Philomena’s College in Mysore on Saturday. Pondicherry Central University vice chancellor J A K Tareen, University of Mysore vice chancellor Prof V G Talawar, former minister J Alexander and vicar general N S Marie Joseph are also seen.  dh photo

He was speaking at the inaugural function to launch the autonomous status of St Philomena’s College here on Saturday.

Enrolments at present in the country is 14 per cent. However, the global average is 23 per cent and China has surpassed other nations with 35 per cent. Compared to all these countries we are far behind. It is important to set a target and provide access to larger group of people in the country, he said.

The 11th five year plan had experimented with increasing the number of education institutions. But the plan didn’t succeed. The 12th five year plan would focus on strengthening existing educational institutions. The focus should shift on improving quality, he said.

Tareen, who is also working as a committee member for drafting the quality of higher education in India and increasing access of higher education in the 12th five year plan, said there are 31,800 colleges in the country with 12 million students. This means that each college has an average of 400 students.

Similarly, there are 518 universities in the country with 1.8 million students, which works out to 3,300 students per university. These figures alarm us and caution us to overcome the problem as a whole by taking a fast track approach.

Citing the example of University of Toronto, which he had visited recently, Tareen said it was spread over an area of 600 acres housing 70,000 students. It has produced 12 Nobel laureates. Indian universities should also expand in such a manner, he said.

Autonomy

The concept of autonomy was introduced so that institutions with innovation can excel and provide a platform for innovative ideas. The concept was encouraged because the existing academic institutions failed to encourage innovation. While a few colleges have made use of the talent by providing unique programmes, other colleges have failed to utilise the potential, he said. He called upon St Philomena’s College to increase the number of students in the campus within the next few years. He said teachers need to have a new mindset with fresh ideas. Faculty should also be involved in applying for research projects, he added.

Bishop of Mysore, Rev Dr Thomas A Vazhapilly, University of Mysore vice chancellor Prof V G Talawar, former minister J Alexander, vicar general Dr N S Marie Joseph and others were present.

First degree college in science

St Philomena’s College was started in 1946. It was the first college to offer degree courses in science. It had a strength of 425 students and 15 members of staff initially and now has almost 4,500 students studying PUC, degree and PG courses. The college has students from 20 different countries and 22 different states of India.

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