Saturday, Oct 02, 2004
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By Our Special Correspondent
Arun Nigavekar, Chairman, University Grants Commission( left), being welcomed by S.P. Thyagarajan, Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras, to a lecture in Chennai on Friday. Photo: V. Ganesan
CHENNAI, OCT. 1. The University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman, Arun Nigavekar, today stressed the need for a fast track mode for taking judgment on quality in flexible higher education and ensuring an environment for sustenance of quality.
Delivering the decennial year lecture of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) on the quality of higher education and sustainable development in the University of Madras, he said social access and social equity in education had become a central agenda in many of the developing countries, as higher education ``brings social acceptance and credibility at a personal level to those who acquire a degree.''
Referring to the rapid changes in education world over, he said developed nations were using their advanced educational structure and access to technology for making their economy strong through commercialisation of education.
But developing nations, which were at a disadvantage on both counts, continued to deploy the existing face-to-face education system and distance education to make higher education more accessible. They were also getting familiarised with technology ``and the reduction in the cost of technology is encouraging them to adopt new strategies in delivery mechanisms'' to achieve a better access and quality education.
For both the developed and developing nations, the delivery mechanisms in the integrated higher education system projected a new challenge with regard to taking ``judgment in quality.'' It gave a new dimension to creation of a ``responsive assessment and accreditation processes'' for judging quality in flexible higher education. He made it clear that the NAAC or National Board of Accreditation, while undertaking quality assessment and accreditation process, never gave a ``perpetual stamp'' to any institution, which might undergo metamorphic changes. ``What is more important for us is to trigger a pro-active approach to improve the academic credibility'', which became the core in terms of life long learning-a continuous process creating confidence in the minds of the learners, he said.
Prof. Nigavekar later inaugurated a classroom complex on the Marina Campus of the university under the `University with potential for excellence scheme' of the UGC and launched the UGC Innovative Centres.
He highlighted the role played by the UGC in providing connectivity to dispense knowledge across the nation in the globalised scenario. In this connection, he commended the University of Madras for launching M.Sc. (Actuarial Science), M.A. (Corporate Sociology) and M.Sc. (Photonics and Biophotonics). E. Balagurusamy, S.P. Thyagarajan and E. Sundarmoorthy, Vice-Chancellors of Anna University, University of Madras and Tamil University spoke.
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