THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: State governments should be given adequate supervisory powers to regulate mushrooming of private universities that are paving way for ‘complete commercialisation’ of higher education sector. This is one of the major suggestions the state will put forth to the Centre on the draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019.
The 15-point suggestions list, prepared by the Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) on behalf of the state government, noted that performance of private universities in the country was dismal except for a handful of them.
“In several cases, self-financing institutions are elevated to the level of universities. This complete autonomy to operate as a university-level institution may pose a big threat to quality education in the country,” said the council.
The state has also stressed on the need for a regulatory mechanism to check proliferation of self-financing colleges. “Proper legislation to ensure quality and equity, based on proper consultation with the state government, should be brought forward to regulate new-age educational entrepreneurs in this sector,” suggested the higher education council.
The UGC’s decision to disallow retired faculty to act as research supervisors has adversely affected research in the state’s universities, the council pointed out. “In Kerala, teachers superannuate at the age of 60 in universities and at 56 in affiliated colleges. This has compounded the problem compared to the national scenario, where teachers only retire after 65,” said KSHEC member secretary Rajan Varughese.
The modification issued by UGC in PhD regulation should be withdrawn or amended in the larger interest of research in the country, suggested the council.
Strengthening of state-level public agencies of assessment and accreditation such as the newly-set up Kerala State Assessment and Accreditation Centre (SAAC)- the first institution of its kind; establishment of more higher educational institutions of multidisciplinary nature and increasing devolution of funds from Centre to state to achieve the targeted Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) are some of the other suggestions.
The state has also sought Central funding for socially productive research and for implementing the concept of cluster colleges. Ensuring greater access to higher education among the marginalised sections, protecting autonomy of higher educational institutions, reducing faculty shortage and formulation of faculty development plan are the other suggestions which the state is expected to put forth to over to the Centre soon.
What are the objectives of NEP 2019?
The Centre’s National Education Policy 2019 is expected to reshape the government’s funding policy on education, structure of school education, curricular design for school and higher education, the nature of teacher training and recruitment, among others.