At Himachal University Convocation, Pranab Mukherjee advocates reforms for preserving autonomy

Pranab Mukherjee conferring medals to HPU scholars Shimla: For universities to become a hub of research, Pranab Mukherjee, the union finance minister asked them to effect reforms in the structures of their governance that presently fail to preserve autonomy and do not promote accountability.

Speaking at the 17th convocation address of Himachal Pradesh University here today, Mukherjee said, “the size and composition of various university bodies, such as university courts, academic councils and executive councils, slowed down decision making processes and sometime constitute an impediment to change.”

The minister said that he was in favour of establishing smaller universities that are responsive to change and easier to manage. “It is only thus that universities would become a hub of research to capture synergies between teaching and research that mutually benefit each other,’ he said.

To create skills commensurate with requirements of industry, the central government has initiated a National Skill Development Mission, he said, adding that based on the National Knowledge Commission report high priority has been placed on education for achieving rapid and inclusive growth.

Proposed allocation of Rs 3 trillion in the 11th plan, a fourfold increase over the 10th plan, showed the government’s commitment towards achieving the targets, said Mukherjee. Share of education in the total plan would increase from 7.7 percent to 20 percent representing a credible progress towards the target of 6 percent of GDP, he added.

Calling upon young scholars to steer the country’s future course, the minister said that India was well on its way to become a economic power to reckon with and country needed young people to take charge of affairs.

He said that with 65 percent the current population below 30 years of age, this large mass was both an asset and a threat. The daunting task before governments and educationists was to turn this population into an asset through the instrumentality of education, he said.

On corruption, he said, to build a strong and prosperous nation, there was need to fight corruption in all walks of life, especially so, in public life.

Governor Prabha Rau conferring degreesEarlier Governor Prabha Rau presided over the convocation where PhD scholars were awarded their degrees. Toppers of post graduate and undergraduate courses were awarded gold medal by the union minister and ID Dhiman , the state education minister.

As many as 415 degree’s, medals and prizes were conferred and decorated, which included one D.Lit, 187 Ph.D.’s and 227 Medals and Prizes, during the convocation. Girl students beat their male counterparts in both the degrees and medals awarded.Mukherjee handing out merit certificat and medals

Vice-chancellor Sunil Kumar Gupta in his concluding speech said that convocation would be held annually and all the previous years backlog of awarding the degrees stood cleared.

Incidentally this is the second time that Pranab Mukherjee has been the chief guest at a HPU convocation. It was in 1982 that the minister was chief guest at the convocation, revealed vice-chancellor Gupta.

Photo by Amit Kanwar

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  1. says: Devinder K.Sharma

    As long as the higher seats of learning in India are not rid of politics and are allowed full autonomy in their administration, it is difficult for us to excel in academics. How many Nobel laureates have been produced by our universities while they work at the campuses? Why is it that only a handful of institutions of higher learning contribute largely to civil services? The proof of the pudding will be in its eating when the nation sees the outcomes of an initiative like the National Skill Development Mission. The Universities clamour far autonomy but at the same time drive their fiscal responsibilities to the doorsteps of the Governments. Autonomy without accountability is a funny situation.

    The reform menu should begin with appropriate pricing of the university education. It should further go to the area of recruiting the vice chancellors and other statutory officers of the universities by freeing it from the influence of the State Governments. Fiscal reforms at large should also be high on the reform agenda. The alumni who excel in their lives should undertake to interact with and contribute to the development of the institutions. The present workload of the teachers needs to be revisited keeping in view the need emerging out of larger enrollment expected in the years to come.

  2. says: Puran chand

    Our Leader has been become a Buisnessman
    One Side they are promoting Private Institutions ,on other side the Government employing Teachers ,PTA,Vidya Upask. .
    Whereas the realty is that in our state strength of Teachers are more than its institutions .When there will not be students in Govt.schools then How the existence of schools can be imagined . And another side Bania’s exploiting teachers in Private Sector.Thus Govt. is try to make weak to the teachers itself by making money through Pvt Institutions . Govt is fail to preserve the standrad of Govt Education as It had . The Finance Minister’s Statement is right as the Commercialization of education has been become way of money outsourcing .

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