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`Education should produce entrepreneurs'

By Our Staff Correspondent



K. Balaveera Reddy, Vice-Chancellor of Visvesvaraya Technological University

BELGAUM, JULY 22. The "Conference of vice-chancellors on Edusat,'' to be held in Bangalore on Friday, appears to be limited in its scope since it is mainly to discuss the networking of institutions of higher education for e-learning, particularly satellite-based distance learning system. But, the occasion could well be used to reflect on the challenges before higher education.

K. Balaveera Reddy, Vice-Chancellor of Visvesvaraya Technological University, which is based in Belgaum, seeks to draw the attention of policy-makers to issues related to higher education in the country which has 300 universities, 12,600 colleges and 9.10 million students (enrolled in institutions offering higher education). Here, he gives his views on various topics:

Relevance of education

Although the numbers of universities and students are impressive, higher education, in the words of the Union Department of Education is "warped, disoriented and dysfunctional, producing a number of unemployable men and women." There is no proper linkage between what is taught in universities and what makes a person employable. Instead of producing employees to work for the government or corporations, the focus has to be on producing entrepreneurs who can provide employment to others.

A new vision

Inadequate infrastructure, formulation of academic norms by individual institutions, interference in academic administration in universities, and the demoralising influence brought about by wrong recruitment and promotion policies have contributed to the situation. There are wildly divergent admission standards, academic regulations, examination and valuation procedures and lack of accountability and transparency among those managing institutions. Faced with global, national and institutional pressures, higher education must develop a new vision.

Privatisation

Besides modernisation and upgrading of institutions, large amounts has to be invested in the system.

Privatisation will help generate resources. However, it should be done keeping in mind the social objective.

Opportunities

Many students passing out of institutions every year are unemployable. There is a need for a critical appraisal of curricula and introduction of modern and job-oriented courses. Education should produce professionals who can meet emerging needs.

Linkage

A time has come to redress the complaints of unavailability of qualified, especially skilled manpower that high-tech sectors require. The subjects should serve as tools for enhancing quality and skills cognitively, to make up core competencies in individuals in a new working environment. A `linkage' is beneficial not only to universities and industries but also to students.

The third dimension

Every university should evolve a viable and effective extension education and should have strong linkage with the rural community. Let every citizen, whether urban or rural, feel that they are linked with universities. That the University Grants Commission has recognised extension work as the `third dimension' of higher education institutions is welcome.

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