State universities of India need to have greater freedom: Kapil Sibal

July 27, 2010 at 5:31 pm Leave a comment

Following is a report from http://economictimes.indiatimes.com:

How will innovation universities change higher education?

We have not adopted a top-down approach, ours is a bottom-up one. So far we have spoken of inclusive agenda of development, we are now thinking in terms of an inclusive education agenda. The idea is to empower institutions at the base of the pyramid. State universities are the foundation of higher education segment. State universities need to have greater freedom so confirm to realities of 21st century. The Centre is willing to give a helping hand.

Is that all required to improve institutions?

There is proposal to help state universities, which make up bulk of higher education segment. The Centre can help by giving more funds to strengthen these universities. This would help build infrastructure and quality. But state governments need to step up and provide policy framework. This framework will give universities more freedom. UGC can make grants beyond what it already does. But state governments must allow for more freedom so that state universities can transform themselves.

Are state only expected to provide for a more liberal policy framework?

Over the years, the Centre’s share of expenditure in public education has increased, while states’ share has come down. This mismatch should be corrected.

Many institutions suggest quality can be improved with freedom in admissions policy…

There should be democracy. An institution should have the right to decide on what basis it wants to admit students. At the same time there should not be unnecessary pressure on students. So some institutes can decide to admit on the basis of Class XII results — on the basis of merit. While other institutes could admit on the basis of the national aptitude test, or look at the aptitude test as an add on. There is also the option of add on subject tests. So the class XII results determine subject knowledge, aptitude tests will assess raw intelligence, and add on tests will assess special knowledge.

So each institute can determine the basis on which they admit, rather than doing so through individual entrance tests. The idea is to reduce tests, while still giving each institute the freedom to admit students that fit in with the specific focus of the institute. Let me give an example, what is the difference between Yale and Harvard law Schools. Yale is focused on research while Harvard is more business minded, so corporate law is a focus. So in their admissions policy they would show a preference for those who fit in to their respective focus areas.

Will this make the education system more inclusive?

Right now we have entrance exams to exclude students, to keep some people out. I want to reduce stress for students, but also exclude exclusion. If we were a more mature system, I would say that interviews would be the final basis of deciding who gets admitted and who doesn’t. But we are not mature enough. Allowing for discretion would not help. So I want to put in place a system that doesn’t give space for discretion.

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Entry filed under: BPUT Rourkela, Central Govt. Grants, Educational Policy, Existing Universities and Institutes, Higher Education, Higher Education Zone, India, Sambalpur University, State Watch-Monitoring the Odisha State, Universities, Upcoming University, VSSUT Burla.

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