Check influx of private varsities: Jaleel

Higher Education Minister asks State universities to address inadequacies in their functioning

Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel has urged State universities to plug inadequacies in their functioning to prevent the influx of private universities into the State.

Speaking at a conference on ‘Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions’ here on Thursday, Dr. Jaleel pointed out that private universities planned to set shop in Kerala.

“Their efforts were boosted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations which enabled such institutions to function without adhering to any guidelines laid down by the State governments,” he said.

Private universities would seek to exploit the various problems that affected the academic system here, including those pertaining to the conduct of examinations. Under the circumstances, the State universities should make concerted efforts to address such issues, the Minister said.

Uniform calendar

Dr. Jaleel said that the steps that were under way to introduce a uniform academic calendar for universities had started to achieve the desired results. While the classes for postgraduate courses in almost all universities would commence on June 17, those of undergraduate courses would get under way on June 24.

These were at least a month ahead of the earlier schedules.

The Higher Education Department had set a target to ensure that the commencement of undergraduate and postgraduate classes coincided with the school reopening from next year.

He added that the government would soon introduce definite service conditions and eligibility criteria for the faculty of self-financing colleges. Besides addressing the lacunae in their functioning, the move would also ensure accountability while teachers were delegated responsibilities.

Qualitative assessment

Delivering the keynote address, Kerala State Planning Board vice chairman V.K. Ramachandran said that the proposed State Assessment and Accreditation Centre (SAAC) should focus on qualitative assessment of institutions. It should also take into account State-level concerns and fill the voids that existed in the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) assessment system. Besides, the prime objective of SAAC should not be to rank institutions, but to improve their quality.

Dr. Jaleel launched the web portal of SAAC.

Council vice chairman P.M. Rajan Gurukkal, member secretary Rajan Varughese, Planning Board member B. Ekbal, Vice Chancellors, heads of various institutions and teachers’ representatives took part.

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