BANGALORE: With tremendous changes expected in the country’s higher education scenario, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has proposed the setting up of an autonomous Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education (CPRHE), which is supposed to frame policies for planning and development of higher education. While the proposed CPRHE has been given paramount responsibility, senior academicians have expressed concerns over such ‘isolated’ efforts in policy research.
Former Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor N R Shetty told Express,“I have reservations about this move. It is okay to have policy research. However, it has to be supplemented by actual work. Everyone is talking about Gross Enrolment Ratio, equity and quality in education. What can mere policies and statistics do without the government working on these immediate requirements?”
The CPRHE would be headed by an eminent scholar, and will consist of inter-disciplinary faculty of about 10 members, drawn from areas such as economics, sociology, philosophy, history, political science and public administration.
It would cover higher education policy analysis, improvement of governance of higher education, dissemination of comprehensive information base and bring out quality publications.
“How many institutions like this will the government float? In my opinion, the Centre should give more teeth to existing institutions to conduct policy research, and fill the loopholes in entities such as the UGC and AICTE,” opined B R Ananthan, Vice-Chancellor of Rani Chenamma University, Belgaum.
Dr M K Sridhar, member secretary of Karnataka Knowledge Commission, articulated his skepticism in personal capacity. He said, “No policy research in isolation could help us in any way. The real challenge is to convert this into some ground-level action, with evidence-based research.” Not everyone is doubtful of the CPRHE and its objective of providing a deeper understanding of the complexities in education. “While the universities are autonomous, they lack direction. The CPRHE will give the universities this very direction required to realize Vision 2020,” said Erasi K, chairperson of Foreign Languages and Postgraduate admissions at Bangalore University.