Kerala: Attempts to tinker with challenges in higher education sector draw criticism

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Protests are mounting within the left against the manner with which the state higher education department tries to bring in drastic reforms in the undergraduate and postgraduate courses without proper consultations with the stakeholders.

SFI national president V P Sanu said the attempts to thrust upon decisions taken by government appointed committees comprising of a few experts in limited areas of knowledge were unwelcome. “SFI is not against reforms in the education sector. But any policy decision with far reaching consequences should evolve from discussions among the stakeholders. The practice of taking decisions first and getting it approved by universities later cannot be accepted””, Sanu said.

A committee headed by M G University vice chancellor Sabu Thomas set up on 10th June by the government has submitted a hardly 30-page report in 10 days after its formation with recommendations to revamp the structure and design of degree and PG courses in universities in Kerala. The committee was asked to report to the government about the new programmes to be introduced in colleges affiliated to universities in the state. In its report, the committee has suggested a four-year degree honours course so as students aspiring for doing MS in foreign universities would get a chance. Ironically, the decision to start a similar four-year degree course in Delhi University had resulted in protests by the left student union during the UPA government.

“Our approach against four year honours degree courses remains the same. We are against it. We are not against five year integrated courses in colleges. Introduction of new courses are also welcome, but such decisions cannot be forced on the students, teachers and parents. While introducing a course, the universities will have to ensure proper infrastructure facilities and should have clarity on the availability of teachers capable of handling new courses””, Sanu said. The attempts to introduce new courses within days or months after a committee submitted its report were not acceptable practices, he added.

Meanwhile, the state government has approached the state governor who is also the chancellor of universities for his assent to introduce new courses from the upcoming academic year itself. Terming this move a vile attempt to undermine the supremacy of universities and academic bodies, Save University Campaign Committee has submitted a memorandum to governor Arif Mohammed Khan requesting him to note his consent to introduce new courses without discussions in the universities and all stakeholders concerned.

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