Industries should pump in at least one per cent of their profits into universities to fund student and faculty training programmes, says Vice-Chancellors.

Industry depends on human resources fine-tuned in the universities but rarely partners with them in actually shaping the products they want to grab.

But senior academics driving the institutions now want the industries, whether IT or conventional, to pump in at least one per cent of their profits into the universities.

These funds could be used for student and faculty training programmes and research and development that have become an integral part of academics in the wake of globalisation. The skills developed through these funds would in turn be useful to the industry. This was one of the recommendations made by Vice-Chancellors who debated and deliberated for three days at the South Zone Vice-Chancellors conference held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) Hyderabad. The theme of the conference was ‘Globalisation and Impact on Higher Education.’

Shortage of funds

JNTUH Vice-Chancellor D.N. Reddy argued that institutions were facing shortage of funds for adopting emerging models of teaching and research and industry has to share some of its profits in their own interest. At the same time, government cannot abdicate from its responsibility, felt the Vice-Chancellors and they wanted at least 1.5 to 2 per cent of the GDP towards higher education to meet the challenges like increased quality and quantity in higher education, integration of technologies, research and infrastructure development and meeting the societal requirements.

The Vice-Chancellors also preferred some radical changes in the system to meet the emerging requirements. Realising the importance of e-learning practices and related models, they wanted the government to give enough developmental grants to upgrade the infrastructure for these new models.

Capsule funding

They suggested that a capsule funding be provided for the universities in the south zone, on an experimental basis, for the promotion of innovation, quality assurance, entrepreneurship and global knowledge society perspectives.

An important aspect that came up for discussion was re-designing course structures and integrating the curriculum to effectively implement teaching-learning practices and making higher education ‘Learning Centric and Application Oriented’.

The 60-odd V-Cs agreed that it was time to effectively use the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to meet the challenges and demands of globalisation and competitiveness.

Allam Appa Rao, Vice-Chancellor, JNTU Kakinada, said internationalisation of campuses and communities is both an opportunity and a challenge. He said the emphasis should shift from teacher-centric paradigm to one of student-centric learning. However, on ICT he felt it can only complement a teacher and emphasised the importance of blended learning.

More autonomy

Arguing for more autonomy, the Vice-Chancellors felt universities should be permitted to introduce integrated courses, double degrees and twinning programmes in emerging areas of interest, especially in inter-disciplinary areas, with possible collaboration from industries and foreign universities.

Online education, which is picking up in the country, should be promoted by the universities before private players grab the market share, they opined.

To retain good talent and attract the same it was agreed that more incentives be offered to faculty and send them on exchange programmes or encourage them with awards or scholarships.