SHASTRY V. MALLADY
Our country has a vast education network but we still are a disadvantaged lot, says the vice-chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University.
“By customising the curriculum, you can maximise the effect.”
“If students are not coming to classrooms, it is time the classrooms went to the students,” said, R. Karpaga Kumaravel, vice-chancellor, Madurai Kamaraj University.
This view was also echoed by other academicians who attended the international symposium on ‘instructional designing for life-long learning of the disadvantaged learners’, organised by the Centre for Educational Research, Madurai Kamaraj University, recently.
Various issues such as access to higher education, increasing the student enrolment in colleges and universities, inclusive education and removing the disparities in access to education were some of the issues raised at the symposium.
“In India, the enrolment for higher education is just around 10 per cent while the overall literacy rate in the country is still below 70 per cent,” T. P. Padmanaban, vice-chancellor, Tamil Nadu Teachers Education University, Chennai, pointed out.
He gave a break-up of the higher education enrolment. Of the 10 per cent total enrolment, 45.7 per cent was for courses on the arts, 19.88 per cent for science courses, 17.99 per cent for commerce courses, 7.53 per cent for engineering and 2.5 per cent for medicine.
The B.Ed. course had an enrolment of 1.43 per cent, while it was 0.23 per cent for law. Enrolment for agriculture was 0.60 per cent and 0.16 per cent for veterinary.
MKU vice-chancellor Dr. Karpaga Kumaravel threw light on the gross enrolment ratio vis-a-vis the total number of universities/colleges in the country.
“We are still a disadvantaged lot in higher education. So, the Ministry of Human Resource Development and University Grants Commission have been giving focus to inclusive education,” he said. India has a total of 461 universities, of which 251 are State universities and 24 are Central universities. There are 104 deemed universities, 33 national institutes, 23 private universities and five institutions established through State legislatures.
Dr. Karpaga Kumaravel observed that there must be a deeper thought for increasing the enrolment to utilise the vast education network available. The total number of colleges under the UGC purview is 14,400. India has 35 agricultural universities, 14 technology universities, 11 language universities, nine medical universities, six law universities, four animal and fisheries universities, 11 open universities and one Teachers Education University (at Chennai).
The US Consul General at Chennai, Andrew T. Simkin, who delivered the inaugural address, said designing a curriculum to suit all sections would be effective in achieving the goals. “By customising the curriculum, you can maximise the effect,”