The Rajasthan University has taken a unique initiative for preparing a “vision statement” in association with the State Government for laying down a roadmap for academic excellence, administrative reforms, students’ welfare and sprucing up of the campus while expecting to create a renewed spirit for rejuvenation of higher education.
The vision statement is being formulated with a participatory approach involving the deans, heads of departments, Directors of various centres, research scholars and officers of the university administration. University alumni, who have made a mark for themselves in different spheres, will also be requested to send in suggestions for development of their alma mater.
Vice-Chancellor Furqan Qamar told The Hindu here on Friday that the vision, being looked upon as a landmark in the university’s history, would ensure cordial relationship with the State Government and help capitalise on the diversity of various streams of students coming from different socio-economic backgrounds. It will also set in motion an inclusive approach crucial for higher education.
Prof. Qamar, who took over as the Vice-Chancellor in September-end, said the novel concept would motivate the faculty members to work for excellence in education and impart academic and professional skills to students. “The vision will bring about quality improvement, conceptual clarity and better ambience on the campus.”
Resource crunch is one of the other major challenges which the university is trying to overcome while making new plans for research funding, modernisation of infrastructure and streamlining of administration. Prof. Qamar said he was examining the scope for Central funding under various schemes for e-content development and information technology applications.
Prof. Qamar – till recently an adviser to the Planning Commission and professor at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi – pointed out that the human resource development for the university would include capacity enhancement and evolving leadership skills among all employees whose role “has changed in the current knowledge economy.”
The university proposes to make research projects an integral part of learning and improve their quality to attract the attention of funding agencies. In the humanities stream, more research proposals will be sent to the Indian Council for Social Science Research, Indian Council for Historical Research and Indian Council for Philosophical Research.
As part of the initiatives for administrative and academic reforms, 1,200 nodes have been identified on the campus for computerisation, which will improve the disposal of work, and the university bodies such as Syndicate, Academic Council and Research Board will hold regular meetings for holding continuous dialogue with the teachers.
The V-C said a proposal to introduce entrance tests for Ph.D. and M.Phil. courses in accordance with the University Grants Commission’s guidelines had been referred to the Academic Council after a university committee submitted its report recently.
Prof. Qamar emphasised the need for imparting multi-disciplinary education in the institutions of higher learning in view of the social milieu in which they function. “Excessive decentralisation may not be advisable in a situation where the resources are limited and there are high expectations to maintain academic standards.”
Asked about his views on the recommendations of Prof. Yashpal Committee on Higher Education, Prof. Qamar said an educational system taking care of all aspects of academic pursuits should be designed in the country in addition to setting down of certain benchmarks and strict adherence to them.
“Excellence has to be a habit along with the drive for sustaining internal quality. The universities have to equip themselves to respond to the social context in which they function without isolation,” Prof. Qamar said while agreeing with the committee's proposal for full autonomy to universities. He was associated with the committee during its deliberations.
Referring to the recruitment of teachers against the vacancies lying for more than a year, the V-C said the process would be started shortly while adhering to the national policy framework on reservation. Besides, the university will partner with industries to enhance employment opportunities for students.