state varsity to be developed to int’l standards: CM

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Wednesday asked the vice-chancellors of government universities in Karnataka to prepare a detailed report to develop one university to international standards as a pilot project.

The chief minister was interacting with vice-chancellors (VCs) of state-run universities and educationists at a session on “Qualitative Higher Education in Karnataka: New Possibilities and Challenges” organised by the University of Mysore at the Rani Bahadur Auditorium here. Kumaraswamy said the government would identify one university for the pilot project.

Higher Education Minister G T Devegowda, Tourism Minister Sa Ra Mahesh, Suttur Mutt seer Shivaratri Deshikendra Swami and Nirmalanandanatha Swami of Adichunchanagiri Mutt were also present.

The chief minister said quality education is one of the top priorities of the coalition government and full support would be extended for the development of the varsities in the state. Kumaraswamy called on the vice-chancellors to take initiative with regard to the development of their institutions.

During the interaction, several VCs and educationists said though there is a good opportunity, not a single government university matches international standards and none figured in the world rankings. The chief minister agreed and urged the VCs to visit foreign universities to bring in changes.

On the occasion, the VCs aired their problems such as lack of permanent and qualified teaching faculty, insufficient funds, lack of skill-based education and infrastructure.

VCs air grievances

B Suresh from the JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research said while state-run universities have qualified human resources, the private institutions have good infrastructure. “Collaboration and faculty exchange between the private and the public universities could help in offering quality education,” he said.

The VC of Vijayanagara Sri Krishnadevaraya University, M S Subhas, said, gross enrollment ratio is very low in Hyderabad-Karnataka region due to lack of hostels.

In Ballari and Koppal districts, the enrollment ratio is just 10 to 12%. The government provides Rs 1,400 scholarship for hostel facility and it is not sufficient. Majority of the families are poor. Proper hostel facilities in the region can definitely help in improving access to education, Subhas said.

Kuvempu University VC Jogan Shankar felt adopting villages by the varsities would help in developing the farmer community and the education system.

The VCs pressed on providing skill, knowledge and value-based education.

Varsities Act

Former National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) director H A Ranganath said that there are several drawbacks in the Karnataka State Universities Act. Ranganath suggested the chief minister amend the Act after holding a discussion with educationists as the legislation was drafted and introduced without their consent.

While requesting the chief minister to convert the Karnataka State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) to a policy research centre, Ranganath also asked the authorities to frame a timeline to appoint vice chancellors, registrar and members to the statutory bodies. This is the time to introduce revolutionary changes in the education system, Ranganath added.

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state varsity to be developed to int’l standards: CM

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