There is a need to encourage “model” public-private minority institutions of higher education in the country, Union Minister of Water Resources and Minority Affairs, Salman Khurshid, said on Friday.

Speaking during silver jubilee celebrations of B.S. Abdur Rahman University at Vandalur and also while inaugurating a conference on ‘Challenges and opportunities for minority higher educational institutions,' Mr. Khurshid sought greater autonomy for minority institutions.

“Minority institutions, including Wakf Board, may have land, but still have to depend on the government for other help and assistance. There is need for setting up a model public-private institution that has to be different from the regular minority institutions per se and it has to be encouraged,” he said.

Apex court order

Referring to the 11-judge Bench order of the Supreme Court in 2002 on 50 per cent reservation in minority institutions, Mr. Khurshid said it had to be re-examined as different minorities had different needs. “What works for one minority may not work for another.”

Touching upon the Allahabad High Court's ruling on the status of Aligarh Muslim University and the subsequent order of the Supreme Court, he said the order of the Supreme Court was from a five-judge Bench.

Stating that he had the greatest respect for judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, he said that the judges should also read a little about education and its concepts, philosophy and quality.

The history and the context in which universities were created should be studied. The vision of the founders should be preserved and protected till the successors decide to change it.

Mr. Khurshid said that he was hopeful that the issue surrounding Aligarh Muslim University would be resolved soon. They were talking with the Law Ministry.

He suggested creation of a “national grid” among Muslim minority institutions so that there was increased interaction for ensuring greater access, variety and exposure.

G. Viswanathan, Founder-Chancellor of VIT University, Vellore, who offered felicitations, said the economic reforms initiated in 1991 gave a death blow to the “licence quota permit raj.” While it helped in the growth of the industry, the education sector had nothing to gain.

“When I wanted to open the Chennai campus of my university, I was asked to obtain 14 No Objection Certificates. There is so much of corruption that the NOCs can be obtained only after paying money. I can assure that there is no corruption in my university, be it appointment of staff or anything else. Can the same thing be said about government institutions?” Mr. Viswanathan asked.

He said a university in south India with just 50 faculty members had awarded 8,000 Ph.Ds in a short span of time.

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