New University of Madras V-C to focus on poor and rural students

G. Thiruvasagam  

Priscilla Jebaraj

He also wants to set up a Centre for Basic Science Development

CHENNAI: A focus on poor and rural students and increasing the attractiveness of basic science are top items on the agenda of the University of Madras’ new vice-chancellor G. Thiruvasagam.

The former Bharathiar University vice-chancellor took charge on Tuesday after an announcement by Governor and Chancellor Surjit Singh Barnala. He will hold the post for three years. He succeeds S. Ramachandran, who retired on September 6.

“I want to establish more colleges in rural areas in Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur districts,” said Dr. Thiruvasagam. He also planned to give encouragement, concessions and grants to existing rural colleges under the university.

Clear focus

“Madras University is one of the oldest universities in the country and all along, it has gained a good name for academics and research. My aim is now to extend this knowledge and all these good programmes to poor and needy people. My focus is to bring inclusion in higher education for the oppressed and downtrodden.”

He felt that the poor were denied access to higher education not only for financial reasons, but also because there were not enough good colleges in rural areas and he will seek to remedy that.

Dr. Thiruvasagam also wants to set up a Centre for Basic Science Development at the University. “Colleges need to offer attractive basic science courses. These days, it is vital to have interdisciplinary programmes.”

Fruitful tenure

During his time at Bharathiar University, he had overseen the introduction of 94 new courses designed to make basic science more attractive to students and increase their employability potential.

Teaching methods must also change to become more participatory, practical-oriented and relevant to community needs.

The Centre would help to design new courses and recommend new techniques. It would also host monthly workshops for science students and faculty, with participation from national and international scientists, he said.

Dr. Thiruvasagam also want to introduce training in research methodologies at the undergraduate college level itself, and destroy the myth that research is only for PhD students in the universities.

Dr. Thiruvasagam has served as a professor of Commerce and Management for 34 years, and has had experience as an educational administrator as principal of Yadava College, Madurai for ten years.

During his time at Madurai, he also served as a member of the Syndicate of Madurai Kamaraj University. For the last three years, he has been vice-chancellor at Bharathiar University, Coimbatore.