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Good colleges should become autonomous: IGNOU ex-director

Source : DNA

A seminar held by UGC highlighted the need to reform the affiliation system

Vice chancellors, college principals and academicians from across India highlighted the weaknesses of the present affiliating system and recommended autonomy as the way forward at a seminar organised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in the city.

To discuss the action plan on reforms of affiliating system and road map for its implementation, UGC, western region office (WRO), together with Symbiosis Arts and Commerce College, organised a two-day workshop on December 14-15 at Symbiosis Vishwabhavan Auditorium in the city.

Former vice chancellor, IGNOU and BRAOU and former director, NAAC (Bangalore), VS Prasad, delivered the keynote address at the inauguration of the seminar. At the valedictory function on the following day, chief guest for the occasion, Ram Takawale, former vice chancellor, University of Pune, spoke on the subject of discussion.

In his keynote address, Prasad expressed that good colleges should become autonomous but at the same time newly opened colleges need affiliation as they are inexperienced and require support from the university. "Measures like appropriate system to implement the action plan, good governance, mechanism to comply with the affiliating system and internal quality assurance would help in improving the higher education system."

Present on the occasion were WN Gade (VC, UoP), SN Pathan (VC, ICCR, New Delhi), Vidya Yeravdekar (principal director, Symbiosis), G Srinivas (joint secretary, UGC-WRO, Pune) and Hrishikesh Soman (principal, Symbiosis College of Arts & Commerce) and other academicians.

On how autonomy and decentralisation has helped Symbiosis, Yeravdekar said, "With the deemed status of Symbiosis International University, we realised how autonomy and decentralisation help in improving the quality of education, which was followed by Symbiosis Arts and Commerce College, getting an autonomous status."

In his introductory speech, Soman, shared his experience on how autonomy has helped him create various innovations in academics in Symbiosis Arts and Commerce College since the last six months. "It is for the benefit of students wherein the college gets operational freedom whereas the degree is from the university," he said.

Emphasising on the need of affiliation reforms and its implementation, Gade said, "The size of the universities does not matter, focus should be on good governance. Colleges must become autonomous and good governance in these colleges would help them for the betterment of education."

While mentioning the weaknesses of the affiliated system, Pathan, strongly recommended that it should be abolished and stressed on the need of restructuring the existing education system, revising syllabus and introducing need base modules.

Former vice chancellor, Goa University, Dileep Deobagkar, talked about the trends in higher education reforms and perspective changes in university functions, giving tips on what can be done and what are the limitations. However, MA Shaikh, former principal of DG College of Commerce from Satara, recommended forming clusters of autonomous inter-disciplinary colleges.

The feedback report of the Pune seminar will be discussed in the UGC meeting along with other reports from other regions.