Dr M G SETHURAMAN
Educational institutions should focus on quality. The academic autonomy should be conferred after careful scrutiny of student admission, curricular design, introduction of programmes. Accreditation bodies may also have to revisit the quality indicator framework so that the aspects of new education policy are reflected in the institutional functioning
The philosophical goal of education is man-making and character-building so that the larger goal of nation-building can be accomplished. But education has become too much focused on economics. India which was once teaching the principles of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and Swadesho Bhuvanatryam, has been passing through a phase of unprecedented expansion in the number of institutions, volume of students and the level of funding. With nearly 42,000 colleges and 1,000 universities across the states,we see a number of types of institutions such as Central universities, State universities, Deemed to be universities, Institutions of National Importance, etc. Though a few States like Tamil Nadu have registered a gross enrolment ratio of 52 per cent, the country as a whole lags behind the global threshold very much in student enrollement in Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs). Education does not ensure workplace success. In global ranking, our institutions do not figure in the list of top 200 institutions. With the change in the education system from gurukula to the present-day online mode, we witness a change in the attitude, calibre of the students, commitment and competency of the teachers. The HEIs should deem it their responsibility to impart quality education to the youth, groom them to be self-reliant, resourceful and assist them to realise their potential. Autonomy Towards this purpose, institutions aspire for autonomous status.
Even in pre-independent India, we had colleges like Hindu College (Kolkata), Pune College, Agra College and Presidency College, Chennai which were autonomous. While Radhakrishnan Committee (1948) and Kothari Committee (1964) advocated the concept of autonomy until recently not many colleges were made autonomous. Many colleges are unable to fulfil the criteria like academic reputation, academic attainment of faculty, quality support system, innovative teaching learning process, inclusiveness, responsive administration for getting autonomous status.
Justice Gajendra Gadkar, the former Vice-Chancellor of Bombay University, has described the concept of autonomy as an ethical concept and not a legal or constitutional concept. Under the affiliated system, the role of colleges is reduced to mere coaching centres for university exams. Education is certainly not limited to coaching for examinations. The new National Educational Policy 2020 has rightly envisaged the autonomy to the colleges by removing the affiliated system. The degree awarding status for a college, of course cannot be given just like that. Caution should be exercised for granting overwhelming powers to the HEIs. The UGC regulations on autonomy insists on a minimum NAAC score for the extension of autonomous status for a college. It is necessary that we come out with light but tight regulations in granting autonomous status. Only such colleges which have good governance, adequate infrastructure, qualified and experienced man power and sound financial resources which have commitment to the cause of education can be granted autonomy. The academic autonomy conferred after careful scrutiny will give freedom to the HEIs on student admission, curricular design, introduction of programs which are relevant to our nation, course regulations, choice of teaching methods, student evaluation, teacher recruitment and promotion. It should be made known to the institution that market force should not indeed be the driving force for the autonomy. Thus, it is imperative that graded autonomy is to be given to the institutions in the coming years, while implementing the NEP 2020.
Language of Engineering
Addressing policymakers in the domain of education and skill development, students and teachers, across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said 14 engineering colleges of eight States are starting to impart education in five Indian languages Hindi, Tamil, Telugu. Marathi and Bangla. A tool has been developed for translating engineering courses into 11 languages. This emphasis on mother tongue as the medium of instruction will instil confidence in the students from poor, rural and tribal backgrounds. Even in elementary education mother tongue is being promoted and Vidya Pravesh progamme, launched today, will play a big role in that.
National Accreditation and Assessment Council, celebrating its Silver Jubilee recently, has been able to sensitise the institutions on quality parameters. The NAAC accreditation may be made mandatory and institutions may be given timeframe for the accreditation till 2025. All institutions which are in existence for more than five years have to necessarily subject themselves to the accreditation and National Institution Ranking Framework (NIRF) may also be made a mandatory exercise. There is a tendency for institutions to aim for higher NAAC grade without making any effort in the improvement of quality aspects. Even after the introduction of Revised Accreditation Framework by NAAC, the institutions have not imbibed the required quality culture. Multidisciplinary milieu foreseen in the NEP 2020 may perhaps force the system to adopt the changes in the curricular design, implementation and assessment systems. Accreditation bodies may also have to revisit the quality indicator framework so that the aspects of new education policy are reflected in the institutional functioning. Based on NAAC score and NIRF ranking the institutions may be given graded autonomy. Such institutions with higher credentials may be freed from affiliated system. The statutory bodies like HERA may bring out the required regulations at the earliest. Thus, graded autonomy and changed accreditation norms will certainly enable the HEIs to live up to the expectations of the society and industry so that the grooming of effective citizens does take place in HEIs.
(The writer is Professor at the Gandhigram Rural Institute, Dindigul, Tamil Nadu)
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Shri Guruji Golwalker who became the second Sar Sanghchalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 1940, during his extensive organisational tour from 1940 to 1942, gave a call to the youth activists at every place to come out as pracharaks to spread the work. He said: “Today for Bharatmata pooja, we require flowers which are untouched, not smelled, not dried up, and not worn in the head; at the same time filled with fragrance, honey and charm.” Shri Guruji adopted an aggressive organisat ...