Bill tussle with Governor:JD(S) minister blames Cong

Higher Education Minister G T Devegowda on Wednesday pointed fingers at the previous Congress regime for Governor Vajubhai R Vala’s refusal to clear the Karnataka State Universities (KSU) Bill, which seeks to give the government greater control over universities, especially in appointment of vice-chancellors.

The KSU Bill was passed in the February 2018 session of the legislature when the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government was in power. The comprehensive legislation was hailed as a solution to end corruption in public universities due to interventions prescribed to check spending, among other revamp measures. 

Devegowda conceded that the governor had some reservations about provisions in the KSU Bill, especially on the appointment of V-Cs where the government has sought to exert greater say. “The Bill was brought by the previous minister and government,” Devegowda told reporters. “The governor should tell us in writing specifically the changes that need to be made in the Bill. If he does, we will sit and discuss,” he added.

The previous Congress government’s decision to give free laptops to engineering, medical, polytechnic and first grade college students will continue, Devegowda said. “Laptops weren’t given last year due to problems with tenders. So I’ve directed officials to finish that first. Laptops for this year and next will be included in the upcoming budget and given together in a transparent way.”

The government will constitute a committee of experts to revamp the syllabus of degree courses to make them more relevant, he said.

Devegowda lamented that degree courses were not in tune with the real world or market expectations. The minister has convened a meeting of vice-chancellors of universities on Thursday where this will be discussed.

“Syllabus hasn’t changed for many years. At a recent meeting, I asked when the B.A course started. Apparently, it dates back 100 years. But some more subjects can be inserted to make the course more relevant, given the advances being made in technology and other industries,” Devegowda said.

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Bill tussle with Governor:JD(S) minister blames Cong

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