Friday, October 16, 2009

New Indian central universities to hold common entrance test

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has asked the newly created central universities to conduct a combined entrance examination. Intent on making these universities into global centres of excellence, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has said that his ministry would take steps to ensure that foreign faculty could teach at these universities. The minister has also suggested a private-public partnership in academic activities of the universities.

At present, guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC) do not allow for foreign faculty. Mr. Sibal said that the UGC guidelines for recruitment of faculty will be amended to allow foreign faculty at these universities. Besides foreign faculty, members of the private sector and professionals would be encouraged to teach at these universities. The minister met with the vice chancellors of 15 newly formed central universities on October 13, 2009. Describing the meeting as ‘unique’, Mr. Sibal said it was important that all the VCs met together, as “we wanted each one of them to know what the other was doing”. The idea was to avoid “duplication”, which has been a problem with the Indian university system.

“We want these central universities to have a bottom up approach, and keep in mind the state’s ecosystem,” the minister said. “These universities will design courses keeping in mind the peculiar problem and ecosystem of the state. The courses will be unique to each university,” the minister said. Outlining the special courses to be designed by each university, Mr. Sibal said these institutions can explore courses on climatic conditions of the region to mitigate the impact of natural disasters like tsunami, cyclone, flood and glacier melting.

But this should not preclude greater interaction among the universities. The UGC has been asked to set up a panel of experts to coordinate the activities of these universities. “We want to create an eco-system that allows for the mobility of students and faculty”, Mr. Sibal said. It is as part of this effort, that the MHRD has suggested a common entrance exam. To begin with this would cover only these 15 central universities, “over a period of time we may bring in the existing central universities as well.” The single entrance would simplify the admission process for students, who would otherwise be required to appear for multiple exams for admission to the university of their choice.

Source: The Economic Times

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