Special Correspondent

“Number of colleges under a university must be reduced”

MADURAI: A two-day conference on ‘social control on higher education’ began here on Saturday, with academics calling for effective government regulation of private universities.

Social control, the conference said, was necessary for the benefit of students from all walks of life. Higher education could not remain out of the purview of a strict regulatory authority, if the objective was to make education accessible and affordable.

In her inaugural address, Aruna Sivakami, Vice-Chancellor of Mother Teresa Women’s University, said the State universities should not be made ‘subservient’ to private or foreign universities. She was speaking at the 19th general conference of the Madurai Kamaraj-Manonmanian Sundaranar-Mother Teresa-Alagappa University Teachers’ Association (MUTA). Representatives of national associations, academicians, Vice-Chancellors and union leaders are taking part in it.

Dr. Aruna Sivakami said it was natural for any industry or private institution stepping into education to have vested interest, so they should not be taken at face value, but should be brought under the social purview. “Instead of allowing rich people to start higher education institutions, make them contribute to public institutions and allow them to have their name.”

She also felt that the number of affiliated colleges under a particular university must be reduced to prevent the administration becoming unwieldy.

Jandhyala B. G. Tilak of the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi, said the issue of social control was often “misunderstood and over-interpreted.” “Social responsibility on higher education and social responsibility for higher education are closely related. They must be properly understood.” .

G. C. Manoharan of the MUTA said the association was for more private colleges and universities if only they were put under the government’s vigil.

Earlier, N. Nanmaran, MLA (Madurai East), inaugurating an exhibition on the history of MUTA, said the Left parties would continue to pressure governments for affordable and quality education, starting from the primary level to college.

S. Vivekanandan, general secretary, MUTA; and R. Murali, Syndicate member of Madurai Kamaraj University, were present.