All India Vice Chancellors’ meet begins today at RNTU
The main theme for discussion during the meet will be benchmarking excellence in higher education: ranking, rating and research wherein its various facets will be discussed
A two-day all India Vice Chancellors’ meeting is set to begin on Thursday, January 10, 2019. This year, the meeting is being hosted by Rabindranath Tagore University (RNTU) in their campus. The main theme for discussion during the meet will be benchmarking excellence in higher education: ranking, rating and research wherein its various facets will be discussed.
Association of Indian Universities (AIU), an apex body of higher education in India, organises the zonal and national Vice Chancellors’ meet every year. The recommendations of zonal meets are taken up for discussion at the annual general meeting of the association. These meets provide a platform to member Vice Chancellors not only for discussing the various issues pertaining to higher education and the problems being faced by the universities, but also play a pivotal role in carrying the voice of the leaders of higher education to appropriate authorities.
Jitu Patwari, Minister of Higher Education and Sports and Youth Welfare, Madhya Pradesh will inaugurate the meet as Chief Guest. Neeraj Mandloi, Principal Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Government of Madhya Pradesh and Santosh Choubey, Chancellor, RNTU will be the Guests of Honour. The meet will be presided over by Professor Sandeep Sancheti, President, Association of Indian Universities and Professor Ashok Kumar Gwal, Vice Chancellor, Rabindranath Tagore University will welcome the gathering. Professor Furqan Qamar, Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities will address the gathering.
P C Sharma, Minister of Law and Legislative Affairs, Madhya Pradesh will be the Chief Guest of valedictory session and Akhilesh Pandey, Chairman, MP Private University Regulatory Commission will be the Guest of Honour on the occasion.
About 80 Vice Chancellors of universities in the Central Zone comprising Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Telangana will participate in the meet. Officials from UGC, MHRD, State Government and other apex bodies of higher education are invited to attend the meet.
Talking about the significance of this meet, RNTU officials said that, Indian universities are the nerve centres of the nation. MHRD has been mandated with the goal of building higher education institutions in India that are truly world-class. The Government reaffirms in its role as a ‘facilitator’ that once such institutions of potential are identified, adequate funding support will be given to them so as to enable them to compete to international standards. However, at the ground level, we are definitely not in an enviable position as far as the ratings of top-ranked ‘world-class universities’ are concerned. Indian universities significantly lag behind on parameters which are globally acknowledged and recognized such as academic and employer reputations, student-faculty ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty, etc. Meanwhile, our universities in race of rising up to globally valued benchmarks have to keep their inherent focus on nurturing young talent that can solve India economy’s mega challenges of excess poverty, shortage of energy sources, shortage of water and food and lack of health and education facilities to the masses. This equally demanding and challenging goal cannot be compromised and hold high relevance. Universities thus have to lead by example in the balancing act by cultivating a meritocratic culture, backed by resources and free from bureaucratic hiring constraints so that the multiplier effect can then spread to the rest of the society.
This calls for a major overhaul in the functioning of university systems. Keeping all these aspects in mind, the specific themes assigned for discussion are quality assurance for excellence and rating of higher education, global and national rankings in higher education.
The meet aims to deliberate on a plethora of issues keeping in view the global trends, national preparedness and regional requirements. This meet has stupendous significance as a large number of Vice Chancellors from the universities in Central Zone are expected to participate in the deliberations. From the galaxy of intellectuals we are expecting meaningful dialogues and deliberations and practical recommendations. Some tangible resolutions containing the measures to be adopted by Government, Chancellors, Vice Chancellors and other university functionaries will emerge out from the deliberations in this meeting.