State sets its sights on a knowledge society

The State Budget provides thrust of transforming Kerala into a knowledge society through various means including improving quality of higher education, integrating new techniques, including digitisation across avenues.

Setting the State on a path to achieve excellence in higher education, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac proposed a six-point strategy. This involves increasing enrolment ratio by 75% (from the existing 37%) to accommodate 20,000 more students this year, filling 886 existing faculty posts and creating 150 more.

Centres of excellence

Thirty autonomous inter-university centres and schools, which will be named after scholars such as M.G.K. Menon and E.C.G. Sudharshan, will also be established within universities. These ‘centres of excellence’ have been proposed to focus on translational research, digital transformation, disaster resilience, nanotechnology, data science, social entrepreneurship and other scientific disciplines.

The Budget also moots transforming existing university centres, schools, and departments into centres of excellence. While a special aid of ₹100 crore has been earmarked for establishing such centres, an allocation of ₹500 crore has been made from the KIIFB to create infrastructure facilities in these new institutions.

Research priorities

A scheme will be introduced to provide 500 ‘Nava Kerala’ post-doctoral fellowships that range from ₹50,000 to ₹1 lakh per month. An additional grant of ₹50,000 will be provided to set up laboratory and other facilities. The sectors that will be given priority for research under the scheme include disciplines that relate to Ayurveda, agriculture, cyber physical digital technologies, genetics and genomics, climate change, and culture.

Infrastructure of universities will be enhanced and classrooms of affiliated colleges will be digitised. The Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) will be entrusted for the digitisation drive. An amount of ₹150 crore has been earmarked from the KIIFB for the purpose.

The Higher Education Council will implement the e-journal consortium project for which ₹10 crore has been allocated. The council will also receive a grant of ₹5 crore for establishing its headquarters.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 8:47:20 AM |

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