India: Uttar Pradesh to have higher education policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sat Jan 3 14:17:38 UTC 2009

UP to have higher education policy
3 Jan 2009, 0406 hrs IST, Ashish Tripathi, TNN

LUCKNOW: After neglecting it for long, the state government now seems
to have realised the importance of higher education. If all goes well,
then by the start of the next academic session in July, UP will be
having a comprehensive higher education policy, focussing on
qualitative improvement by providing minimum infrastructure facilities
and financial support to state universities and government colleges.

As a first step in this direction, the state higher education
department has called a meeting on Saturday at Institute of Management
and Development, UP (IMDUP) in which leading brains of the field will
deliberate on key issues confronting higher education in the state.
Series of such workshops and meetings will be held for suggesting
measures which will be then part of the higher education policy likely
to be unveiled before the start of the next session.

The meeting will be attended by the Lucknow University vice-chancellor
Prof AS Brar, Manglayatan University vice-chancellor and educationist
Prof Bhoomittra Dev, former Lucknow University vice-chancellor and
educationist Prof MS Sodha, UGC-Academic Staff College director Prof
Nishi Pandey, director, state higher education directorate Miyan Jaan
and principals of IT, National and Maharaj Bijli Pasi Colleges.

The core issues on the agenda are providing minimum infrastructure and
funds to higher education institutes of the state to make them
equivalent to the standards prescribed by the National Accreditation
and Assessment Council (NAAC). It will also be discussing how to make
sessions regular, streamline exams system, proper admission norms, a
common fee structure, introduction of new vocational courses among
other things.

Another important element of the meeting would be the education of
scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the state. The policy will
address the areas like perpetual financial crisis faced by some
universities like Lucknow University. It will look into how much
universities can generate their own resources through self-finance
courses and how much through fee hike. The aim of the government would
be to pass on minimum possible burden on students but provide quality
at the same time.

For quality, the proposals include introduction of English language
labs in colleges, self-appraisal system for teachers, student feedback
on teaching and teachers, modern equipment for teaching, good
libraries, Internet network, strict norms for granting affiliation to
colleges. "A major shift would be vocational courses in colleges,
which will be now also known as vocational training institutes, so
that students can acquire skill for employment while pursing their
degree courses," said Umesh Sinha, secretary, higher education.

Significantly, higher education was not on the priority list of the
successive state governments so far. Secondary and primary educations
used to receive the lion's share of the education grant. So much so
that grants for varsities were frozen to the levels of 1998, resulting
in financial crisis. Lucknow university is reeling under 10 crore
deficit, forcing it to hike fees of self finance courses (SFCs) by

It was after TOI raised the issue, chief minister Mayawati and state
advisory council took notice of the problems faced by universities.
Even governor, who is chancellor of state universities, took up the
matter with the government. Thereafter, Mayawati convened a meeting of
top officials and directed to take measures for improvement in higher
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