“Higher education system in the country is in deep crisis”

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Combining research with teaching would help in providing better education, said M.S. Ananth, Director of Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, here on Saturday.

Speaking at a conference on ‘DNA of Higher Education,’ Dr. Ananth said this was the system adopted in the IITs, due to which the students were able to excel in their profession. Talking about the problems in the IITs, he said even the premier educational institution went through fair amount of neglect by the Government for sometime. However, this did not deter the faculty members from providing the best quality education. Even now the entrance examinations of the IITs were very tough, he observed.

Choosing youngsters as faculty members would be another key to success. “Some of them could be academically irreverent, but socially very polite,” he opined. As far as financial assistance for projects, IITs were fairly well funded as lots of funding was available these days, he said.

Bringing unlike minds together would help in generating newer ideas. This is being followed in some of the foreign universities. The higher education should have a flexible syllabus system. The students should be allowed to choose the subject of their own choice, he added.

The higher education system in the country is in a very deep crisis, said Frazer Maccarenhas, SJ, Principal of St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. However, attempts have been made to address the problem. Despite all the crisis still students from India were prospering well in the foreign countries. Credit for this should go to their teachers, he said.

The number of students enrolling into arts, humanities and science subjects were falling day by day. The Government should do something about this. On its part the Government had announced increased allocation for higher education in the 11th Plan. With the funds, the aided colleges were able to improve their infrastructure, he said. Inter-disciplinary courses should be introduced at the colleges to attract more and more students. For example a course on environment should have inter-disciplinary approach, which would only help in finding solutions to environment related issues, he added.

The conference was organised by Knowledge Xchange and was inaugurated by Upamanyu Basu, Director, Union Ministry of Human Resources Development.

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