The Kerala State Higher Education Council has constituted a committee to review the University Acts. A close look at the new plan.

The Kerala State Higher Education Council has set the ball rolling for the review of the University Acts. A committee has been constituted to review the Act of each university, keeping in mind the need for maintaining the uniqueness of each university that would take care of its special needs and local requirements.

The governing body of the council met on December 9 and approved the constitution of the committee led by M. Anandakrishnan, Chairman, IIT-Kanpur. The other members include N.K. Jayakumar, Vice-Chancellor of National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS); R.V.G. Menon, former Principal of College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram; Debashish Chatterjee, Director, IIM-Calicut, Joy Job Kulavelil, syndicate member of Cochin University of Science and Technology, K.V. Kunjikrishnan, former Registrar of Cochin University; A.R. Rajan, syndicate member of Kerala University, and M. P . Kannan, member of the Higher Education Council (convener of the committee).

Stating that all the universities in the State would be governed by the certain common principles, Thomas Joseph, Member Secretary of the council, said that the overall objective of the legal framework should be such a way that it would promote quality and equity in higher education by injecting greater flexibility, efficiency, autonomy and accountability in the administration of institutions. The governing council also came up with general principles that would form part of the terms of reference of the committee.

The principle that accountability is integral to the concept of autonomy should be reflected in the administration of higher education institutions at different levels through a system of mandatory social and academic auditing.

The educational administration should be decentralised. The affiliating system should be reformed in such a way as to create smaller clusters of colleges under large universities, with sufficient academic, administrative and financial autonomy and accountability that will promote diversification of courses and improvement of quality of education through creative collaboration among neighbouring institutions.

Adequate provisions for broadening the linkages between the higher education institutions and other economic and social institutions and centres for planning, research and social service should be provided for.

The government, aided and unaided streams should be separated from one another in such a way as to retain their distinct identities and the norms for social control of each category of institutions should be clearly spelt out and made enforceable.

Provisions for the financing of educational institutions, government, aided and unaided should be defined. Prof. Joseph said that the task of the committee would be to suggest appropriate amendments to each University Act, with a view to incorporating necessary provisions in accordance with the above principles, without diluting the unique character that should inform the governance of each university.


“University Acts archaic”December 16, 2009

Initiatives in higher education January 2, 2010