Prof G Gopakumar, who will be taking charge as the vice-chancellor of Central University of Kerala (CUK), Kasargod, on Thursday, has big plans for the fledging institution. In an interview over phone with Express from his residence in Thiruvananthapuram, he said the university would be student-centric and teacher-centric, and it would be a vehicle to bring in all-round development to the region. Excerpts.
What are your priorities for CUK?
A lots of things have to be done. Filling faculty positions, non-teaching staff positions and developing infrastructure will top my priority list. Of the sanctioned 83 permanent faculty positions, only 23 are filled. Adhoc faculty members and temporary staff are now filling the gap.
What are your plans for the university?
I have plans to set up university centres in less-developed areas such as Wayanad Palakkad, and Kozhikode. CUK has the potential for that. We already have a centre in Thiruvananthapuram (Centre of International Relations). That will be strengthened. I plan to start courses on Animal Husbandry, Agro-forestry and Tribal Studies. We are planning to set up a law college in Pathanamthitta and will take forward the proposal to start a medical college in Kasargod.
Since CUK is a fledgling university, will research take a backseat to infrastructure development, considering the limited funds available?
Like State universities, Central universities are not under-funded. Equal importance will be given to research and infrastructure. A university is known by its quality of research.
Where do you see the university in the next five years?
The university is only at the infant stage. In the next five years, I will be laying the foundation and stabilising the university. But also during this time, we will try to collaborate with top institutes, both in India and abroad, for research. We will sign MoUs with industry so that students will get the right exposure. My vision is to make CUK the best, at least in south India, by the end of my tenure.
Next year, that is in the sixth year of the university, will you be applying for NAAC accreditation as mandated by UGC?
I was with the NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) and let me tell you, this university is not ready for NAAC assessment. The first three years were lost in acquiring land.