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    Educationists dismayed at 12th Five-Year Plan

    BANGALORE: Vice-Chancellors, academicians and industry-watchers are not too excited about the approach paper of the 12th Five Year Plan. Participating at the Colloquium on Higher Education in 12th Five-Year Plan conducted by Centre for Educational and Social Studies and Karnataka State Higher Education Council on Friday, many expressed concerns over the lack of focus on higher education, planning and lacunae when it comes to issue of grants to upcoming universities. “We are trying to polish a house from outside when it is crumbling inside. Everybody is talking about establishing more IITs and IIMs. We need to focus on improving the lower level colleges which admit 90 per cent of the student population. It is good to have a direction, but I feel it’s a little far-fetched,” said R Govinda, Vice-chancellor of National University of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi“There is a focus on the 12 per cent Gross Enrolment Rratio (GER). It is unfortunate that we seem to focus only on this figure. There is a need to focus on the entire 100 per cent. The approach paper is prepared by bureaucrats and not academicians. The 12th Five-Year plan needs de-bureaucratisation,” said Prof B R Ananthan, Vice-Chancellor of Rani Chenamma University, Belgaum. Prof Ananthan believed that there were no statistics to measure the shortage of engineers or doctors. “We are blindly producing engineers and doctors, without realising how short we actually are. It is bad that students study something, and end up in a totally different field. They need right guidance in their field,” he said. “Our syllabus for conventional courses was prepared by the British to mould clerical staff. We have not moved away from that. Is the syllabus practical now? There should be choice-based curriculum, vocational education and polytechnic education should be linked to universities. Loans with special rates should be given to universities to build infrastructure,” said Lata Krishna Rao, Principal Secretary for Higher Education. H A Ranganath, director of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), said that the approach paper had missed important points, such as issue of grants to universities and affiliation processes. “There are 611 universities in the country, with 41 in Karnataka. About 150 universities are not receiving grants. How can we talk of growth in such circumstances? Also, the concept of affiliation has become a mundane matter of the richness of a University. More affiliations, more funds. This is wrong,” he said.