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“Private, public institutions must promote higher learning together”

Staff Reporter



Acquiring knowledge:Former Vice-Chancellor of Pondicherry University

SRIVILLIPUTTUR: Private educational institutions in the country were being projected as aligns and the public ones as the angels, former Vice Chancellor of Madras, Bharathidasan and Pondicherry Universities, A. Gnanam, has said.

Giving away 534 post-graduate degrees at the first convocation of Kalasalingam University here on Saturday, he said it was unfortunate that the Governments themselves spear-head such vilification even as private units were also approved, controlled, regulated and affiliated to the neighbouring universities by the government.

Stating that higher education was the only way for upward mobility of the masses from low to middle and high income groups, he said access to higher education which was around 10 per cent at present was expected to increase to 30 per cent by 2030. In numerical terms, it would be around 35 million students. Public institutions that were mostly under funded, over regulated and succumbed to pseudo market forces, would not be able to meet this demand of the sector. Hence, private investment in education had to be attracted, he said.

Dr. Gnanam pointed out that China could effectively increase the access to higher education to 27 per cent due to private investments, encouraged with incentives and academic support from their government at all levels.

Hardly 50 per cent of the 1,607 post secondary institutions registered and functioning in Tamil Nadu were the university and university affiliates. The rest were in the non- university sector offering diplomas and certificates which were recognised world over. Few of them were known for the quality of education and training and were operating internationally.

Public or private contribution to the educational offerings was nothing unusual but there was no place for categories within the system as private and public units. “They should now converge and promote together the higher learning,” he said. They should be accessible to all and should be encompassing equity and inclusiveness. There should not be any thought that public providers are better than the private ones or vice versa. Both are needed in equal measures as the keys to the socio-economic welfare of the nation.

All the institutions, whether private or public, should be comprehensive to teach all the disciplines like liberal arts and sciences, engineering and technology, education, law, agriculture and medicine to enable the students to choose whatever they want to study matching their interest and ability. They should also be responsive to the emerging needs of changing contexts.

Chancellor K. Sridharan, presided over the function in the presence of Chairman T. Kalasalingam. Vice-Chancellor S. Radhakrishnan, welcomed the gathering. University Registrar T. Vasudevan, delivered vote of thanks.

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