My compliments to Krishna Prasad for the Article in Education Plus (supplement) of The Hindu (Mangalore) on Monday (22nd March). At a time when there have been sincere attempts being made by Kapil Sibal and Purandeswari (the two HRD Ministers at Centre) to clean up the Education portfolio, an analytical article of this kind is most welcome. Objective Journalism is highly essential in India - thanks to RTI in place too.
The article dealt with analysis on the delivery made by fifteen Private or Deemed Universities in Karnataka. It carried out the exercise on nine (I wrote on Power of Nine some days back in this blog, remember?) parameters viz., Consideration of the idea of a University, Performance, Compliance, Governance, Innovation in Teaching-Learning Process, Research Output, Doctoral Programs being offered, Faculty Resources.......... down to Admission Process and Award of Degrees. For each parameter Krishna Prasad used four-way scoring with A=5, B=3, C=1 and F=0. One observation made is that "Information given by some institutions about key parameters was inaccurate". This is not palatable. Universities are not like shops or factories - churning out students and degrees. They are like temples - learning centres developing individuals with a service of Knowledge Dissemination and Research Output for long term benefit to all.
The list is not surprisingly is topped by IISc, Bangalore for its research output and excellent performance in all parameters with A scores with an aggregate of 43 out of 50. Of course, it is a Century old Institution. Then follow the others like NIMHANS, JNCASR, IIIT-B, MAHE (Manipal University) in B category, with only SVYAS in C and remaining nine (again this magic number!) in F category. The F category institutions need to be closely looked at in the larger interest of the society and posterity.
To me, the article is well timed because it would bring a sort of stock-taking on the existing Private or Deemed Universities before the Centre or State Government embarks on adding a few more such new Institutions. For some years, there has been mushrooming of Engineering Colleges all across Karnataka, Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh. Every year, there used to be capacity under-utilisation. We are talking high about Capacity Building. But where are the standards? Where are world-class facilities? Where are excellent and committed (if not knowledgeable) teachers? Forget, sincere and willing to learn students!