The Karnataka State Higher Education Council on Tuesday submitted ‘Vision 2020’, a report on the status of higher education in the State and recommended measures to upgrade the system.
The report was proposed by the Council with the assistance of Karnataka Knowledge Commission and the Department of Higher Education.
Educationists, representatives of teachers’ associations, student councils and members from reputed industries in the State together prepared the reportwhich was submitted to Higher Education Minister C T Ravi.
Karnataka has 24 State-sponsored universities, 16 deemed-to-be universities, two private universities and more than 3,360 undergraduate colleges.
According to the study, the State universities hardly function at the State-level true to their spirit, and most often, recruitments are made from within the university. It recommends for a broad-based recruitment policy.
Observing that in the next decade there would be an influx of both private and foreign players in higher education, the study speaks about building stronger assessment mechanisms, making both internal and external accreditation mandatory, apart from setting up a state-level body similar to the Association of Indian Universities.
It also seeks a State undergraduate studies board to regulate the curriculum and academic quality.
The Higher Education Council, in its study, mandates a special task force for ensuring use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in classrooms. It also calls for a state policy for distance education providing a clear framework for ensuring quality coursework in correspondence courses.
Its other recommendations are: enhancing the autonomy of universities, setting up an exclusive legal body for higher education and monitoring committees for colleges similar to school development monitoring committees.
Noting that the State lacks adequate mechanism for adult education, the Higher Education Council deems it necessary to start community colleges for continuous learning to cater to school dropouts and early career professionals.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor H R Bhardwaj lamented the fact that Mysore University is still not on par with a Cambridge or Oxford University.
He blamed the malaise on the government’s lack of investment in faculty recruitment and said that the vision of higher education in the State needs immediate review.
Bhardwaj said the quality of engineering courses in the State has gone down.
“We are looking at a memorandum with German universities to strengthen engineering courses in Karnataka,” he said and directed the minister to execute recommendations made in the study soon.
But a serious shortfall of qualified educators has hindered the progress of education in the State.
Higher Education Secretary Siddaiah told reporters that 8,000 posts are currently vacant in the teaching field.
“This is not a healthy trend. We hope to conduct recruitment within the next six months,” he said.