THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) has scrapped the recommendations made by its earlier panel, during the previous government’s term, to set up private universities in the state. Reason: The LDF government feels such a move would undermine the quality of higher education in Kerala.
Sources said 12 applications were submitted last year by various institutes to set up private universities in the state, but the government did not respond to the requests and put them on hold. A high-level KSHEC committee, headed by MG University former vice-chancellor Cyriac Thomas, had made the recommendation and also sought public’s opinion on a suitable model.
“There’s a need to encourage private participation with adequate social control through appropriate incentives in higher education with a view to enhancing access by increasing capacity, supplementing government funding and making higher education closer to the job market. This would also facilitate healthy stimulation through competition,” the recommendation had said.
KSHEC member secretary Rajan Varughese told the present panel did not favour setting up private universities as they would not ensure students' quality education. “Our universities are very much established and have good academic records. So there’s no need for private universities here and we won’t recommend it,” he said.A private university can be established only by a separate Act or by one compendious Act, where the Legislature specifically provides for the establishment of the said university.
Thomas said there is no logic in scrapping the recommendations made during the previous government. “One can’t say private universities can harm students’ productivity. There’re hundreds of private universities in the world, including in our country. Many of them are functioning well. In my report, I’ve also clearly mentioned the measures to be taken if quality is compromised. So I stick to my report,” said Thomas. “The present KSHEC panel should appoint a commission to study the prospects of setting up private varsities. Let’s not mix politics here. Upgradation of the education system is the need of the hour”, he said.