Karnataka

Want to be rated? Then pay up, says Karnataka govt. to all universities

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State universities to be charged ₹1.5 lakh, private institutions ₹2.5 lakh for annual rating exercise

Several State-run universities that are scrambling for funds to improve their infrastructure will now have to set money aside for an annual rating exercise. The Karnataka State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) has decided to not only ask them but also their private counterparts to fork out funds for the Karnataka State Universities Rating Framework.

The rating exercise for 2018-19 was released in September this year. The KSHEC had outsourced it to a private agency at a cost of ₹65 lakh. The ratings for two years has been completed and the private company has an understanding with the council to conduct it for another three years.

However, the KSHEC has now decided to mobilise these funds from the universities themselves. While State-run universities will be charged ₹1.5 lakh, private and deemed-to-be universities have to shell out ₹2.5 lakh.

Vice-Chancellors are unhappy with this decision. “We would rather use the money to provide scholarships to students from lower economic and disadvantaged backgrounds, or improve the infrastructure of our classrooms. After all, ₹1.5 lakh is a huge amount of money for us,” said a VC of a State-run university.

‘Waste of resources’

The move has also been criticised by the Former Vice-Chancellors’ Association. M.S. Thimmappa, former V-C of Bangalore University, questioned the need for the ratings. “The Union government releases the National Institutional Ranking Framework. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) also visits colleges and universities and conducts an assessment to know where institutions stand against each other. This is just a duplication of work and waste of financial resources,” he said.

What has also not gone down well is that ₹1.5 lakh was spent to release the 2018-19 ratings at an event in a well-known hotel in Bengaluru. As many as 43 of 60 universities in the State had been ranked. At the time, several officials of State-run universities questioned the authenticity of the ratings as they felt it showed a bias towards private and deemed-to-be institutions. Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) bagged the first position for the second time in these ratings, with a score of 841 out of 1,000, in the category of established universities (10 plus years of being established). KLE University, Belagavi, came second in the same category with a score of 745.

M.S. Ganachari , Deputy Registrar and PRO, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research, said, “This is the second time we have been ranked by the KSHEC. We were ranked high two years ago too. We have not paid any money to the ranking agency or anyone else, neither this year, nor two years ago. We are a century-old institution. Our goodwill is built on factors like the quality of education, excellent human resources and infrastructure, and use of state-of-the art technology.”

(With inputs from Belagavi Special Correspondent)

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 10:49:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/want-to-be-rated-then-pay-up-says-govt-to-all-universities/article30054987.ece

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