Jan 19, 2007, The Hindu
HYDERABAD: University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Sukhdeo Thorat said on Thursday that expanding existing institutions and establishing new ones was the only way to widen the access to higher education.
Delivering the 15th convocation address of B.R. Ambedkar Open University (BRAOU) here, he said even while widening the access it should be ensured that quality was maintained. "But there is a need to improve physical and academic infrastructure to improve quality," he said. He reminded that only nine universities and 97 colleges had been identified as having the potential for excellence and only 12 universities out of the 350 in the country as centres of excellence due to lack of adequate infrastructure.
Asserting that huge investments were needed to improve higher education, he said if enrolment was increased by five per cent as envisaged by the Planning Commission, allocations need to be increased from the present Rs. 47,000 crores to Rs. 74,000 crores.
Prof. Thorat was of the view that State universities were languishing due to lack of adequate financial support and recruitments and there was a need to revive the State university sector in order to make higher education accessible to the downtrodden sections and women.
Despite enrolment increasing several folds India had a long way to go in achieving the world average of 23 per cent.
Earlier, Governor and University Chancellor Rameshwar Thakur presented gold medals.
As many as 10,413 candidates including five Ph.Ds and two M.Phils received degrees, diplomas and certificates this year. Three inmates of Cherlapally prison who completed their graduation in the study centre attached to the jail also received their degrees.
M. Narayana Reddy, convicted for murder, said that he realised the importance of education in jail. University Vice-Chancellor D. Ramachandram was present.