CHENNAI: G Thiruvasagam has been appointed the 100th President of Association of Indian Universities (AIU), an apex inter-university organisation of the country. Thiruvasagam, who is presently the Vice-Chancellor (V-C) of AMET University in Chennai and former V-C of the Bharathiar University and the University of Madras, spoke to Express about his new assignment. Excerpts.
How do you see the new assignment?
In higher-education sector, teachers have their own associations, even administrative staff have their own union to air their grievances, but there is hardly any such platform for Vice-Chancellors to discuss their concerns. During my tenure as AIU president, I will try to address the issues of V-Cs and work for the interests of the universities.
What is your priority as AIU chief?
The top priority is National Education Policy (NEP), 2020. The policy is innovative and good. But, what about its implementation? There will be many challenges and difficulties faced by universities in implementing the NEP. Framing a policy is different and its implementation is different. The ministry drafted the policy but it is yet to divulge a strategy for its implementation.
I have circulated a questionnaire to all V-Cs, wherein they can fill the difficulties they will face in implementing NEP. The replies of the V-Cs will be consolidated and sent to the ministry and other stakeholders, so that we can find solutions to their problems.
Apart from NEP, is there any other major concern for you?
There is no uniformity in the tenure of V-C in the country. While V-Cs in North Indian universities are appointed for a five-year term, in States like Tamil Nadu, it is just three years. This disparity needs to end. Three years is too short a time for a V-C to make any impact. AIU acts as a link between universities and the ministry. After discussions, I will send a proposal to the ministry to bring uniformity across the country on V-C tenure.
Plans in your mind to improve the ranking of Indian universities?
Ranking of universities is a very complicated thing. We have some universities which are 100 years old while some 20 years old. It is unfair to judge all the universities with the same yardstick. Instead of conducting overall ranking, I think we need to chalk out a strategy to create categories like a separate ranking for 100-year-old institutes, 50-year-old institutes and so on.