Special Correspondent

Bangalore: Should there be corporate funding for institutions of higher learning?

Should faculty members be given time for research work only for their own career advancement?

Should intake into professional colleges be enhanced even if there are not enough jobs for graduates?

These questions figured in the interactive session that followed the keynote address on `Government's perspective of higher education' by Minister for Higher Education D.H. Shankaramurthy at the national summit on `Quality in Education' organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on Thursday.

Corporate funding for technical institutions would assure them of skilled staff, the Minister said. As for providing jobs, it could not be the responsibility of the Government.

Economic growth would take care of that. The conditions were right for young and technically skilled people to start their own enterprises, he said.

Earlier, Mr. Shankaramurthy pointed out that the national average spending on higher education (including technical education) at 8 to 9 per cent of the GDP was far below the 20 per cent spending by most developed countries and even some other Asian countries.

"In Karnataka, it is 10.2 per cent but still inadequate. Only 8 per cent to 9 per cent of those in the eligible age group are getting higher education. While 40 per cent of students in colleges and universities are women, only 11.3 per cent of Schedules Castes and 3.6 per cent of Scheduled Tribes have access to higher education.

Unless these figures go up, there cannot be socio-economic equity," he remarked.

While the number of universities and colleges had increased dramatically since 1950, there was still too much importance given to quantity than quality, he said.

"India, with its rich heritage in teaching and learning, should try again to reach a position when students from other countries come to our universities," he said.

S. Sadagopan, director, International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, who chaired the session, said even in terms of number of graduates, Indian institutions were far behind their Western counterparts.