Is the much-belated reconstitution of the Kerala State Higher Education Council the last nail in the coffin of the United Democratic Front's own ‘expert committee' on higher education?

For many in the UDF, the answer is an emphatic ‘yes' given that the government favoured the former Ambassador T.P. Sreenivasan over the chairman of the expert committee and veteran educationist A. Sukumaran Nair for the post of the vice-chairman of the Council. Also, none of the 12 members of the expert committee has found a place in the reconstituted HEC.

According to members of the expert committee who spoke to The Hindu, what frustrated them more was the fact that the work they had done since 2009 had largely been ignored by the UDF and by the government. “The expert group on schools produced a report on general education. All of us worked hard for that. We handed over the report to the UDF convener. To the best of my knowledge that was the end of it,” a committee member pointed out.

The plight of the UDF expert committee's report on higher education is even more pitiable; though it is ‘ready', the report is yet to see the light of the day. The committee had originally planned to hand over the report to the Chief Minister. Now, the committee members themselves appear unsure when, if at all, their recommendations on revamping the higher education sector would assume the form of a report.

“So far the committee has not been consulted on any major policy initiative of the government in the education sector. I don't think that will change now. In 2009, when the committee was constituted there was considerable enthusiasm in the UDF. Now nobody even speaks about us,” the committee member added.

One remaining hope of some committee members is that the new higher education council would take on board at least some of the recommendations of the report on higher education.