In a remarkable step to enhance higher education, HRD minister Smriti Irani would be meeting 39 vice-chancellors of central universities in Chandigarh on 12 and 13 September 2014. The meeting is scheduled to discuss the vision of the ministry and its plans to tackle with the problems in higher education for the students. The meeting is not new as the HRD minister Smriti Irani has done a similar meeting earlier with directors of IIM and IITs. The ministry is concerned with providing a cordial relationship and balance between the higher and school education so that the students do not end up caught in the net of unemployment after completing their programmes.
The report presented by AM Pathan Committee is one of the major agendas that are going to be discussed in the meeting. The committee has earlier suggested that there should be a single legislation to govern all the central universities functioning in the country. At present the universities are free to govern on their own, as the law passed by parliament suggests. The report presented by AM Pathan was criticized last year in the HRD ministry as well, and this year the recommendations are getting revisited for discussions with the other VCs of the central universities.
The proposal to integrate all the universities and tie them up to central control would result in loss of autonomy of the universities and might affect their historical age old character. The report had also further demanded the abolishment of Chancellors in the universities and replaces them by a council of VCs (CVCs) that would get headed by the HRD minister. In the report there is also a mention of a separate recruitment board that would be responsible for the appointment of teachers and non-teaching staff in these universities.
The HRD ministry would also try and push the universities to go through and accept the accreditation from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council. The HRD minster is also keen on implementing technology-enabled higher education to these universities and for the same she would insist on to the directors of the central universities to consider the SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) programme. Under this programme which is soon to get launched on 25 September, the professors from IITs/IIMs and other central universities would provide free online courses.
Another point on the meeting would be to discuss about the national e-library, the first of its kind with the VCs of the universities. Under this programme there would an online portal to completely democratize the sphere of knowledge. The portal would contain content from NCERT, CBSE, IITs, IIMs and various other study materials from central universities.
Along with all these top notch programmes the ministry is expected to discuss about the new programme, UNITE ( University Network Initiative to Enhance Education) under which the ministry is planning to make 20 classrooms in 21000 colleges Wi-Fi enable and providing 600 universities a full-campus Wi-Fi Local Area Network to connect them globally.