INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
TO BE USED IN A BIG WAY FOR EXPANSION OF HIGHER EDUCATION: DR
UNIVERSITIES ASKED TO COMPLY WITH UGC REGULATIONS WITHIN THREE
COMMITTEE OF HRD MINISTRY MEETS
Information and communication
technology will be used in a big way to expand higher education
and improve the quality of teaching in colleges spread all over
This was stated by
the Union HRD and S&T Minister Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi while
addressing the parliamentary Consultative Committee addressed
to his Ministry, here last evening.
huge financial resources would be required to cater to the future
needs and to create infrastructure for quality education and research,
Dr. Joshi said that the only alternative available is to use modern
technologies such as satellite communication, internet and electronics.
He informed that a large number of initiatives have been taken
in the recent years towards this, with promising results. Out
of 309 universities, 124 have already been connected with the
UGC Information Network and the rest would be connected by March
next year. All over-15000 colleges will eventually become part
of this network. To facilitate research and multi-media communication,
the communication backbone is being expanded manifold from the
present 8 mbps level. From 1st January this year, 120
journals in science and technology disciplines and 250 in humanities
and other disciplines have been made available electronically
to the universities at a low cost. A satellite devoted exclusively
to education is proposed to be launched within the next few months
to make quality study material available through television and
other communication channels.
Dr. Joshi also informed
that keeping in view the requirements of the globalised economy
and also to provide employment to the rising population of educated
youth, a dual education mode is being introduced at the under
graduate level. Under it, UGC is asking universities and colleges
to introduce utility-oriented programmes along with the traditional
degrees. This will enable students to have utility-oriented certificates
along with their undergraduate degree, or two degrees in a span
of four years. While this would make higher education relevant
and productive, it would also lead to better utilisation of available
infrastructure, he said.
The meeting was also
informed of the steps initiated to improve the quality of teaching
and research. It was informed that at post-graduate level a credit-based,
modular approach is being introduced. UGC has recently upgraded
monetary support at individual, group and department levels and
has opened for colleges such incentive schemes as were earlier
confined to universities. While five universities were identified
this year, with potential for excellence, viz. Chennai, Hyderabad,
Jadhavpur, Pune and Jawaharlal Nehru Open University, five more
universities will be identified next year to promote excellence
among universities especially in matters of research. Four national-level
institutes are also being established at Bhubaneshwar, Chennai,
Pune and Allahabad.
It was informed that
UGC has started monitoring the health of universities using parameters
for academic performance, research performance and governance.
It intends to provide incentives to universities and colleges
scoring high on these parameters.
Stressing that despite
many recent initiatives, the quality of research still remains
a matter of concern, Dr. Joshi asked UGC to promote scientific
excellence in teaching institutions at a fast pace. While welcoming
the exchange of students among countries, he said that if the
quality of teaching and research in Indian universities is brought
to top global standards, such exchanges of students would be economically
beneficial to the country.
Dr. Joshi also expressed
concern at the low interest shown by students in basic sciences.
Arguing that todayís technologies are the outcome of fundamental
research undertaken in the past, Dr. Joshi called upon UGC to
see how studentsí interest in basic sciences could be rejuvenated.
He informed that the Government has decided to observe 2004 as
the year of scientific awareness and a vigyan rail, i.e.
science exhibition on wheels, is being flagged off by the Prime
Minister next week.
In the presentation
for the Members of Parliament, it was informed that a large number
of private universities have come up in the recent past, especially
in Chhattisgarh. Members expressed concern over mushrooming of
institutions of learning without requisite infrastructure and
faculty. UGC informed the Members that it has recently issued
regulations for establishment and maintenance of private universities
and the Council has asked the private universities already established
to comply with the regulations within three months failing which
their degrees would be de-recognised.
Dr. Joshi also emphasised
the need for promotion of sports in universities. He also agreed
with the members that the working of UGC needs to be reviewed
in the present context and informed that an amendment to the UGC
Act is being drafted to give more teeth to the Council to enable
it to usher in reforms in the higher education sector.
The following members
were present from Lok Sabha : S/Shri/ Ms. Sharad Pawar, Savshibhai
Makwana, Dr.Beatrix DíSouza, Vinay Kumar Sorake Ananta Nayak and
Ramseth Thakur. The members present from Rajya Sabha were: S/Shri/Ms.
Savita Sharda, Chandra Kala Pandey, Dr. A.K. Patel, Dr. Kumkum
Rai, Dr. Faguni Ram, K.Rahman Khan, Jayantilal S. Barot and Dr.