Government urged to have at least 50 per cent stake in higher education

Autonomous colleges have to be given special status and provided aid by the government. Quality higher education with equity is the need of the hour and this cannot be done by private institutes and hence there is every need for the government to retain a greater share in higher education, opined the Director of Indian Centre for Research and Development of Community Education (ICRDCE), Chennai, Rev. Xavier Alphonse.

Participating as chief guest at the valedictory of the two-day national conference on “25 years of autonomy: Experiences, reality and vision” at the St. Joseph’s College for Women (Autonomous) here on Saturday, Rev. Alphonse said that there were 32,500 colleges of which the University Grants Commission (UGC) control only on 7,500. This apart, there were 750 degree-awarding institutions like deemed universities.

He said that 80 per cent of higher education was concentrated in private hands. He felt that the government should have at least 50 per cent stake to ensure that the poor were not deprived of higher education. He also advocated a single regulatory body for all higher educational institutes in the country to avoid differences among the regulatory agencies.

More funds

The funding for autonomous colleges should be doubled from the present Rs.20 lakh, and based on their performance those doing exceeding well (NAAC A grade) should be given the status of degree-awarding colleges. He felt there were around 200 such autonomous colleges in the country and suggested they could be given block grants for development of the colleges.

Saying that political will power was required for this, Rev. Alphonse recalled how St. Xavier’s College in Kolkata, which was doing exceedingly well, was given autonomy by the Communist government in the past and the present Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had accepted the demand for its conversion into a ‘Minority Private Aided University’. He felt that autonomous status should mean academic, administrative and financial autonomy.

Principal of St. Joseph’s College Sr. N.D. Veronica presided. Former principal of Dr. V.S. Krishna Government College J.V.V.S.N. Murthy, former principal of St. Theresa’s College (Eluru) Sr. Theresa Cherian, former Controller of Examination and Education Consultant and Resource Person of St. Joseph’s College for Women (Autonomous) Suguna Kannan and Reader in Physics, Andhra Loyola College (Vijayawada) G. Srinivasa Rao spoke.

Earlier, during the technical sessions, K. Rama Mohan Rao, a professor in the Department of Commerce and Management Studies of Andhra University, spoke on “New approaches to meet changing social conditions” and a former Principal of Lady Doak College Nirmala Jeyaraj spoke on “Innovative academic initiatives through need based curriculum’.