‘Autonomy, accountability vital for growth of higher education sector’

Staff Reporter

Systems should be changed periodically: IGNOU VC

KOCHI: Vice-Chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai has said that independent initiatives of individuals and institutions in the higher education sector in the State will not happen without providing autonomy to them.

Delivering the keynote address at a seminar on ‘making Kerala a major hub of quality higher education’ organised jointly by the Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship (XIME) and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) here on Saturday, Prof. Pillai said that institutional autonomy and accountability were vital for the growth of the higher education sector. There was not even a single autonomous college in the State, he said.

Pointing out that systems were becoming more rigid in the higher education sector, the Vice-Chancellor said they should be changed periodically to understand the new vocabulary in education.

Prof. Pillai said the State could be made a hub for higher education only by strengthening the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in colleges.

He said the State should also have prestigious research institutions that would help in stepping up the quality of higher education.

Explaining that there is nothing wrong in identifying credible private partnerships in higher education, Prof. Pillai said the stakeholders should ensure academic freedom and accountability to accelerate the pace of growth in the higher educational institutions. Stating that there was a lack of linkage between school education and vocational sectors, he stressed the need to extend certification of the workforce in the country. This would help in improving business and entrepreneurial skill development, Prof. Pillai said.

R. Natarajan, former Director of IIT Madras, who was the guest of honour, said that factors like access, inclusion and equity should be ensured in the higher education sector.

Suggesting that the sector should have a balanced environment, Dr. Natarajan said that Kerala needed to step up its e-governance programmes.

He said that States like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had been successful in carrying out several e-governance initiatives. Recommending that the centres of excellence in higher education should continuously innovate, Dr. Natarajan said that Kerala’s potential had to be converted into performance.

K.T. Thomas, former Supreme Court judge, was the chief guest. J. Philip, president of XIME, and Murali Gopalan, president of TiE Kerala, spoke.

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