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Expert faults top-down approach in education

Special Correspondent
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‘Policy reforms through legislative action will not bring much relief’

Chancellor of D.Y. Patil University K.B. Powar speaking at a seminar at Andhra University in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.— photo: C. V. SUBRAHMANYAM
Chancellor of D.Y. Patil University K.B. Powar speaking at a seminar at Andhra University in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.— photo: C. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Chancellor of D.Y. Patil University K.B. Powar on Sunday said policy formulation in education in India was based on top-down approach without taking the stakeholders into confidence.

Stating that policy reforms through legislative action would not bring about much relief, he said the realities relating to financial requirement, manpower availability and social demands should be looked into seriously.

Prof. Powar was speaking at the international seminar on ‘policies, institutions, governance and contemporary disarray’ conducted by the Department of Political Science & Public Administration, School of Distance Education, Andhra University in association with PG Department of Public Administration, Sri YN College Narsapur, West Godavari District, and Association of Policy and Public Awareness, Visakhapatnam.

Touching upon various issues that need attention to provide access to socially-relevant higher education to all, he said access, equity and relevance were important factors to be considered at the time of policy formulation.

Speaking on metamorphosis of higher education in India, he said at the time of Independence there were only 18 universities with 591 colleges and enrolment of 0.2 million. Now it had grown to 700 universities with over 35,000 colleges and 20 million students and a million teachers. Expressing concern at deterioration of quality and disrespect for value system, he called for convergence of formal education, distance education and skill oriented training. He said presently the private sector accounted for 55 per cent of educational institutions with over 30 per cent of students.

Higher education should focus on teaching and research but unfortunately the private sector-dominated institutions were concentrating only on teaching. Numerous commissions and committees and slew of legislations would not bring about the much needed reforms in the system, he said and underlined the need for a holistic approach to reforms in higher education.

Assistant Director of Gandhian Centre (New Delhi) A.D. Mishra said after 1980s, higher education had miserably failed due to crisis in quality of leadership not only in India but in the entire world. He observed that ‘intellectual poverty’ was increasing in India and opposed the education system which was driving man to become a machine instead of teaching him on character-building and human values.

Former director School of Distance Education, AU P. Hrushikesava Rao presided.

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