KOCHI: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Friday said that higher education institutions should be given autonomy to ensure unrestricted growth and development, and that the government should not interfere in their functioning.
He was speaking after inaugurating the ceremony held to announce autonomy to the Sacred Heart College here.
“Kerala is in the forefront of primary education, but when it comes to higher education the State lags behind. Granting autonomous status to colleges will only strengthen the higher education system in the State. The delay in granting autonomy to colleges has affected the development of the higher education sector. In Kerala, many students depend on foreign universities for higher education. We should ensure availability of quality education in the State itself. The success of the first set of autonomous colleges is likely to lay the foundation of the future growth of the higher education sector in Kerala,” he said.
Sheena Shukkur, Vice-chancellor in charge of the M G University, who represented the parent university, announced the autonomous status of the Sacred Heart College on behalf of the university to which it is affiliated.
“The college has been given academic autonomy, but administrative and financial autonomy has not been granted. With the autonomous status comes great responsibility. The college must remember that the autonomous status is not for ever. While basking in the glory of such a status, the college must do checks frequently to maintain the status,” said Sheena Shukkur
Fr Jose Cletus Plackal, Provincial of the Sacred Heart Province, Kochi, presided over over the function. Minister for Water Resources P J Joseph; Minister for Fisheries, Ports and Excise K Babu; MPs K V Thomas and Anto Antony; MLAs Hibi Eden, V D Satheeshan, Benny Behanan and Dominic Presentation; Mayor Tony Chammany; college manager Fr Jose Kuriedath; principal Fr Prasant Palackappillil; Prior General of the CMI Congregation Fr Paul Achandy; and staff secretary T O Alphons Ligori were also present.
The University Grants Commission had granted autonomous status to the college in June this year, along with two other aided colleges in Ernakulam - Rajagiri College of Social Sciences and St Teresa’s College. On Thursday, Maharaja’s College also received autonomous status.
With this, the colleges can take independent decisions in academic matters. They can also introduce new courses and prescribe the relevant courses. However, the autonomous colleges will be under the scrutiny of the parent university. The autonomous status must be renewed once in every five years.