In view the serious threats that higher education faces now, “the onus is upon the private institutions to function with social consciousness and responsibility. The private institutions offering higher education must implement bulk of the welfare schemes initiated by the Government in education”, G. Thiruvasagam, Vice Chancellor of Madras University, has said.

He was delivering the Graduation Day address at the Pioneer College here recently.

He lamented that in spite of providing quota for education, people living in interior villages, hilly areas and from weaker sections of the society were unable to access education.

Quoting a study, he said the state of education in India was improving only “slowly”. The literacy rates among poor households were low. “Be it urban or rural areas in India, the poor are not having access to higher education because of their economic insecurity and hand to mouth existence”.

Similarly, with the increasing emphasis on privatisation of education, the prospects of access to higher education for female students are getting bleak. Hence, Dr. Thiruvasagam said “free education to the economically poor and socially deprived is the need of the hour. Coupled with this, there is the need to restore gender equality in education by providing subsidised education to female students.”

Dwelling at length on what he described as the “sorry state of affairs in education”, he was certain that the “panacea” for the ills affecting the educational sector was that “every institution should have a road map of its own. It must have brand name and a culture of its own. This road map must contain vision and mission statement, quality of policy details, programmes of action supported by constant review and monitoring.”

He asserted that to ensure quality, every higher educational institution should have sufficient infrastructure, learning resources, academic environment, empowered, competent and dedicated teaching faculties with due status. Besides, he said, they should also have need-based curriculum design and planning with diversity and flexibility, and provision of appropriate teaching-learning experiences. The curriculum must support use of technology, provision of facilities to promote research and extension-related activities, assistance for student experiences on the campus and provisions to facilitate their progress.

“Above all, an effective system of management, coupled with performance appraisal according to a set of norms and suitable need-based effective intervention for capacity building of the teachers is the need of the hour”.

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