Suggests it be tried out in a few colleges on a pilot basis

M. Abdul Salam, Vice-Chancellor, Calicut University, has made out a strong case for introducing zero-profit education in government and aided colleges as an educational strategy to bring quality education within the reach of more people at an affordable rate.

“Zero-profit education would ensure affordable education to a large number of students, minimise exploitation by the private sector, enhance quality of education and better utilisation of available resources,” Dr. Salam said in a paper. He has also suggested that this concept be tried out at least in a few colleges on a pilot basis.

Dr. Salam said such a strategy was necessary to achieve the national target set for Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), which was 30 per cent while the present GER in the country is only 19 per cent. The target had to be achieved in seven years.

More facilities

To achieve the target, the present student enrolment of 20.3 million in the nation should be enhanced to at least 32 million which would mean, the available infrastructure and other facilities would have to be enhanced by at least 70 per cent . At present, there were only 35,540 colleges.

While identifying lack of classroom space, inadequacy of good quality faculty members, and shortage of funds to create new infrastructure as major hurdles to achieving the GER target, the Vice-Chancellor said these could be overcome under zero-profit education programme by raising fee to a moderate level but keeping it less than in private colleges, and better utilisation of building space to run two shifts so that more students could be given admission.

The vacant labs, libraries, and other infrastructure that remained idle during the current non-working hours (after 5 p.m. and before 10.00 a.m.) in government and government–aided colleges could be brought into effective utilisation, Dr. Salam pointed out.

By introducing two shifts (a forenoon shift from 7 a.m-1 p.m. and an afternoon shift from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.), six additional hours could be effectively utilised, he said.

“The expense of employing additional faculty and other requirements for running two shifts can be met from the enhanced fees,” he said explaining the advantages of zero-profit education.

“The zero-profit nature will definitely make it acceptable to all. It is important to try this at least in a few colleges on a pilot basis,” the Vice-Chancellor said.

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