The new Vice-Chancellor of Rajasthan University, Furqan Qamar, on Thursday emphasised the need for adopting an “inclusive approach” in higher education by focusing on the underprivileged sections and called for promoting innovative ideas to meet the challenges of the current knowledge economy.
Talking to reporters after assuming office at the Vice-Chancellor’s Secretariat on the university campus here, Prof. Qamar said an equitable distribution of the gains of education would help remove imbalances in the society and ensure the delivery of “demographic dividends” from the young population of the country.
“I firmly believe that scientific development, innovation and removal of imbalances are crucial for our knowledge economy, in which the institutions of higher learning can make a significant contribution,” said Prof. Qamar, till recently an advisor to the Planning Commission and professor at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
Forty-nine-year-old Prof. Qamar – who is the youngest Vice-Chancellor of Rajasthan University – pointed out that the Planning Commission had fixed an outlay of Rs.85,000 crore for education during the 11th Five Year Plan with a view to ensuring faster and inclusive growth that could be achieved by expansion and access to education.
While affirming that he would use his experience with the Planning Commission in the performance of his duties as the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Qamar said the higher education had come out of the “elitist club” and was now available to the poor students, residents of remote villages and children of daily wage-earners on equal terms.
“As the head of an institution of higher learning, it is my responsibility to ensure that the interests of students as primary stake-holders are protected and the education imparted to them is relevant for their future pursuits,” affirmed Prof. Qamar, who specialises in educational planning, finance and management.
The Vice-Chancellor said the university administration would adhere to certain norms to strike a balance between the expectations of society and the need to evolve a workable academic atmosphere on the campus: “The university cannot function in isolation. It is our responsibility to impart quality education to the students.”
Prof. Qamar pointed out that Rajasthan would benefit immensely from the Union Government’s recent decision to establish a central university, an Indian Institute of Technology and an Indian Institute of Management in the State. He said the State should also get advantage of the Planning Commission’s scheme for quality upgradation of education.
Prof. Qamar said he would try to improve the university’s financial health by getting Central funds for research, academic activities and information technology applications. Asked about the scope for allowing elections to students’ union stayed on the court orders, he said a “collective decision” would be taken on the issue after studying the judgment and the Lyngdoh Committee’s recommendations.
Born in 1960 at Ghazipur, a small town in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Prof. Qamar obtained doctorate on “financial management in residential universities” from Lucknow University in 1989. He was a professor at the Centre for Management Studies in Jamia Millia Islamia since 2002 and was appointed advisor to the Planning Commission this past year.