‘Varsities are needed to increase GER in higher education’

Some student organisations and academics may oppose the setting up of as many as 17 new private universities in the State, but a few former Vice-Chancellors (VCs) have pledged their support for their establishment.

Speaking at a seminar on ‘Establishment of private universities in Karnataka’, organised by the Forum of Former Vice-Chancellors’ of Karnataka (FVCK) here on Saturday, S.N. Hegde, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mysore, said when the government is finding it difficult to maintain the existing universities, there was no question of establishing new ones to cater to the need to enhance the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER). “It appears that the policy decision of the State government to permit private universities is in consonance with the changing dynamics of higher education system,” he said.

N.S. Rame Gowda, former VC of the Karnataka State Open University, Mysore, who is also Chief Executive Officer of the Sri Adichunchanagiri Shikshana Trust (which has been approved as a private university), said the establishment of private varsities was necessary to increase the GER in higher education in India from the present 15 per cent. The present affiliation system, he said, would eventually have to be eliminated, and colleges should be converted into autonomous institutions and further, into private universities.

Commenting on the regulations, M. Khajapeer, former Vice-Chancellor of Karnatak University, Dharwad, said the decision of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to revisit the regulations laid down in the UGC (Establishment of and Maintenance of Standards in Private Universities) Regulations, 2003, would make the survival of the universities dependent on their efficiency, credibility and adherence to the stipulated norms.