Delivers address at 47th convocation of Madurai Kamaraj University

The rapid rise in the number of universities and colleges in the country had brought in its wake issues such as the proliferation of substandard institutions, drop in the quality of teaching, failure to maintain the academic calendar, outdated curricula, poor management and lack of motivation and accountability at various levels, said H. Devaraj, vice-chairman, University Grants Commission (UGC).

In his address at the 47th convocation of Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) here on Wednesday, he said the number of universities and varsity-level institutions had risen from 523 to 573 over the past year. The number of colleges had grown from 32,964 in March 2011 to 35,539 in March this year. Enrolment had risen as well with 20.37 million students enrolling in various courses in the academic year 2011-12, as against 18.7 million in 2010-11.

"However, such growth has brought several problems. Tremendous effort is needed to rectify the situation," he said. He pointed out that there was no dearth of recommendations for improvement and reforms in higher education. A number of committees and commissions constituted by the Centre had already given exhaustive reports on the ways and means to streamline the education system.

He listed out steps taken by the UGC to improve the quality of teaching in universities and appreciated the MKU for implementing almost all UGC projects.

Vice-Chancellor Kalyani Mathivanan said the UGC had sanctioned Rs. 10 crore exclusively for granting scholarships to those pursuing M. Phil. and Ph.D. programmes in the varsity. Guidelines for distribution of the scholarships had been framed and they would be advertised shortly. "Currently, 165 research projects with an outlay of Rs. 34 crore are being operated by the faculty of the university and many more are in the offing… The UGC has identified MKU as one of the 15 universities in the country to facilitate the Connect to India programme for undergraduate students drawn from universities and colleges in the United States," she added.

Later, Governor and Chancellor Konijeti Rosaiah distributed degrees and medals to the students.

The Vice-Chancellor informed the gathering that a total of 54,178 people had become eligible for obtaining degrees this year. Of them, 36,082 passed through the semester pattern of examinations, which included 14,613 men and 21,469 women. There were 9,876 men and 8,220 women in the non-semester pattern. The other awardees included 331 Ph.D. scholars, and a scholar each in D.Sc. and D.Litt. Seventy meritorious students were awarded medals.

Prominent among the successful candidates was Inspector General of Police M. Ravi, now serving as Chief Vigilance Officer at the Aavin. He was awarded a Ph.D. in economics for his research paper on ‘Impact of globalisation on agriculture.’

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