'State varsities should also select VCs from national registry'

Appointments should be ratified by NCHER

 The task force preparing the draft bill of the NCHER, to be tabled before the monsoon session of Parliament, had a few days ago exempted the State universities from the national registry provision, making it mandatory just for the central universities. The State universities, however, had to get their vice-chancellor appointment ratified by a collegium that would be formed to aid the NCHER, an overarching forum to replace regulatory bodies such as the UGC and the AICTE.

In an interview with Deccan Herald, Thimmappa said selection of vice-chancellors from the national registry would be apt, as it would help curb political and vested influences on such appointments. “The registry is compiled based on suggestions from academicians of merit. And vice-chancellors, who should be eminent educationists, should be selected by eminent educationists,” he said.

Thimmappa also welcomed the move to set up the NCHER, which would act as a quality control forum. According to him, the move was necessary as academic interests should govern all educational decisions and ‘educationists should form the backbone of academics.’

Such streamlining and entry of foreign universities could help India quickly double its enrollment percentage in colleges to match with the standards of developed countries, Thimmappa said. The enrollment in colleges across India now was a meagre 12 per cent, when the same was 80 per cent in the US, 85 in Canada and 20 in China. India should hit the 25 per cent mark at least by 2020, and foreign universities could help in this.

“The enrolment percentage cannot be improved just with the efforts of government universities. Foreign universities will bring in better quality and healthy competition. And worries of commercialisation of education are misplaced, as even now we have enough commercialisation with private institutions in the field,” he said.

However, whether it be foreign or private universities, there should be ‘transparent and well articulated regulations’ in place before granting them the go ahead, he said. And here, bodies such as the NCHER could play a prominent role, he said.

When it comes to weeding out influences that could hamper educational interests, political groups that use students for their benefits should also be discouraged, Thimmappa said. “Students are seen more as vote banks rather than as people who could work for social causes. The Telangana was a cause and the students were involved in a socio-economic movement. But it is just an exception,” he said.

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