Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Discussing and approving a framework for the revision of the Acts and statutes of universities in the State would be high on the agenda of the advisory council of the Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) which will meet here on January 13.

According to the agenda note which would be discussed by the Council, the overall objective of the new legal framework should be to promote quality and equity in higher education ‘by injecting greater flexibility, efficiency, autonomy and accountability in the administration of institutions of higher education.’

The new laws should enable institutions of higher learning to participate in and contribute to regional and national socio-economic developments. The note argues for a system of mandatory social and academic auditing of universities based on the principle that accountability is integral to autonomy. “The administration of higher education institutions at all levels should be democratised through a system of participatory management in which teachers, students and representatives of the larger community should have a major role. The educational administration should be decentralised. The responsibility of decision making and implementation should be shared at different levels by making provisions for appropriate delegation of academic ,financial and administrative powers and provision for collective and democratic decision-making at different levels,” the note reasons.

Cluster institutions

Under the revised laws governing varsities, the affiliating system should be so reformed as to create small clusters of colleges under large universities with ‘sufficient academic, administrative and financial autonomy and accountability… which will promote diversification of courses and improvement of quality of education through creative collaboration among institutions.”

Government, aided and unaided streams should be separated from one another so that each is able to retain its identity and that the nature of social control is clearly spelt out. There should also be a clear demarcation of the roles of the government, universities and affiliating institutions so that there is no conflict of powers, the note points out and adds that provisions for periodic review of laws should be built into the legal framework of the higher education institutions.

Once the advisory council okays the policy framework for revising the university laws, the government would set up a committee to suggest specific revisions for each university. The advisory council would also discuss ways to document the history of higher education in the State. Based on these discussions, the higher education council plans to commission a study. The scholarship committee of the council — which would meet for the first time on Tuesday — would discuss ways to institute and operationalise the Rs.100-crore fund intended to ensure access and equity in the higher education sector.