Published On: Fri, Dec 16th, 2011

Resources and Fund Mobilization hot issues at AIU meet

EduShine Academic Search
Association of Indian Universities

Association of Indian Universities

Raising resources and fund mobilization were the major issues of discussion among vice-chancellors at the general body meeting of the Association of Indian Universities in Kochi. The participants were of the view that when
the Ponnaiah Committee in 1993 suggested that universities themselves should mobilize funds up to 25% of their budget in 10 years, it was presumed that it would be easily achieved. However several years later it still remains a distant dream for many universities.

“In states like Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the government has almost moved out of the higher education sector. But that has given rise to the issue of ethics of financing in this sector,” said Dr MS Valiathan, former vice-chancellor, Manipal Academy of Higher Education.

Educational system in India has always been a state-funded activity. From the first Five-Year Plan to the 11th Five-Year Plan, the growth of the universities has been several fold. From 27 universities in 1950-51 to 20 central universities, 215 state universities and 100 deemed universities with 16000 colleges functioning under them.

He said there was no proper regulatory mechanism to monitor the fund flow and the financial burden on students. “In most European countries, it is the government which funds the educational sector and hence monitors it too,” he said.

Dr Valiathan said the National Knowledge Commission had proposed that 20 per cent of the fees should be collected from students and the rest through public-private partnership.

Jadhavpur University vice-chancellor PN Ghosh called for radical changes in the education system, including reducing the graduation period for different disciplines, digital distance education to cut expenses, fee rationalization based on courses, etc. He also questioned the rationale behind the semester system, and added that it was the rigid system left behind by the British that we were still following.

“We should look into the German system of delinking jobs from education,” Ghosh said.

He also said the percentage of women in gross enrollment ratio (GER) remained poor in the country though it had exceeded the target envisaged in the 11th Five Year Plan.

Cochin University of Science and  Technology vice-chancellor Ramachandran Thekkedath put forth the idea of ’employer tax’ or ‘graduate user tax’, which is a modified version of the graduate tax implemented in many Western countries.

“Graduate user tax is an education-specific tax levied on those who use educated manpower. It helps us resolve the paradoxical situation where the expenditure on education is borne by the government and the produces of the system is used largely by the private sector.”

Participating in the discussion, Kannur varsity vice-chancellor Michael Tharakan said a majority of the problems had begun when the government decided to cut down its role in the education sector. “The system of appointing guest lecturers instead of full-timers is one such move which affected the quality of education,” he said.

Others who participated in this discussion were Dr. N. Ravichandran, director, IIM Indore and AM Pathan, vice chancellor, Central University of Karnataka.

Several vice-chancellors who participated in the interaction which followed after the panel discussion on Resource Mobilization and Financing of Institutions of Higher Learning mentioned the ironies of financial crunch and the issue of fund reaching late, which would, in effect, lead to its non-utilization.

The three-day meet of the Association of Indian Universities and a UGC-sponsored national seminar on Reforms and Innovations in Higher Education is being hosted by the Cochin University of Science and Technology in Kochi from December 15.