Special Correspondent

COIMBATORE: The Aided College Teachers’ Association (ACTA) has urged the Central Government to bridge the four “great divides” in higher education.

It has asserted that if “quality divide”, “infrastructural divide”, “access divide” and the “digital divide” were not adequately bridged, the objectives of achieving quality relevance and inclusiveness would continue to be elusive and higher education would continue to operate in unconnected “concentric circles”.

This was one of the resolutions passed at the annual academic conference of the association on “State Funding in higher education: policies and perspectives” organised by the association in Chennai recently, according to A. Raja, conference convener.

The conference said the higher education policy perspective in the emerging global orders should necessarily take into consideration the specific requirements of the Indian masses.

“A sustainable, competitive edge must be provided for public-funded higher education institutions by strengthening them in terms of infrastructure, quality and inclusiveness and make these institutions strong and fit enough to be competitive with the much-praised private sector institutions.

“Strengthening Government-run institutions of higher learning was the need of the hour to offset and balance the excessively commercial and profit-motivated private sector education,” it said. It also thanked the State Government for the “pro-active” and “effective” steps taken in this direction which should serve as a model for the rest of the country.

Another resolution demanded that the budgetary allocation for higher education should be raised to six per cent “which is the only way to achieve necessary checks and balances in an increasingly privatised education scenario and to regulate the laissez-faire tendencies witnessed all over the country”.

While welcoming the announcement for a UGC Pay Review Committee, it wanted its functioning speeded up.