Staff Correspondent

New Year Awards 2008 presented to four eminent persons

Manipal: Pro-Chancellor of Manipal University H.S. Ballal said on Tuesday that the higher education sector in the country was in a dismal state. He was speaking after receiving the New Year Award 2008. The award, instituted by the Academy of General Education, Rotary Club and Syndicate Bank, has been given annually since 1941. The New Year Award 2008 was also given to the Chairman of Karnataka Bank Ltd. Ananthakrishna, Managing Director of Yenepoya Group Y. Abdulla Kunhi, and scholar Aerya Laxminarayana Alva, on the occasion.

Prof. Ballal said that India, with its population of about 110 crores had only 400 public and private sector universities to impart higher education. The enrolment rate was as low as 11 per cent compared to the UNESCO world average of 20 per cent. The country was nowhere near the millennium development goals with Central budgetary allocation for higher education being less than one per cent. The entry of foreign universities might provide some solution to the inadequate number of universities in the country, but the cost factor was certain to affect the students, he said.

Public-private partnership could play a vital role in imparting educational facilities to a large percentage of deprived people. The healthcare sector also needed urgent attention, he pointed out. The private sector should help the Government in providing healthcare to a larger section of population at affordable costs. NGOs and service organisations could create awareness among masses about diseases, their prevention and treatment, Prof. Ballal said. Mr. Ananthakrishna said the banking sector was at the crossroads. But the Karnataka Bank had been adapting itself rapidly to the winds of change.

It was the first private sector bank which adopted the Core Banking Solution (CBS) for improved customer service. Registrar of Academy of General Education K.K. Pai welcomed the gathering.