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To improve ranking of state univs, Uttarakhand Guv lays focus on quality research

In a move aimed at improving the rankings of all state universities, Uttarakhand governor KK Paul has directed their vice chancellors to ensure quality research and education on campuses although the fund crunch remains the main issue dogging those 11 institutes of higher learning

dehradun Updated: Jul 20, 2018 21:53 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Governor KK Paul issued guidelines to state universities to ensure that the society at large was benefited by the academia.(HT Photo)

In a move aimed at improving the rankings of all state universities, Uttarakhand governor KK Paul has directed their vice chancellors to ensure quality research and education on campuses although the fund crunch remains the main issue dogging those 11 institutes of higher learning.

“Improving the rankings of state universities is the governor’s his main concern. In that connection, he has directed vice chancellors to ensure improvement in the quality of research and education,” said Ravinath Raman, the secretary at governor’s secretariat.

“They have also been directed to make the most of digitization by equipping universities with facilities like online libraries and also carry out online admissions.”

The governor also issued guidelines to universities to ensure that the society at large was also benefited by the academia.

“In that connection, all state universities have been directed to adopt five villages each,” Raman said.

As part of the process, he added, students during their regular visits to villages would tell them about the need for maintaining health and hygiene under Swachhata Bharat Abhiyan besides sensitising them to the need for adult literacy.

Elaborating on the guidelines issued by the governor to improve quality of research, Raman said state universities had been asked to stick to the researches relating to their core subjects.

“Engineering universities, or, medical colleges, for instance, have been directed to keep the focus of the research activities on subjects relating to engineering and medicine.”

Raman said the step was taken because some universities imparting medical or engineering education had shifted the focus of their research activities to other domains.

“The initiative was taken in view of the indiscriminate registrations that were happening in some universities imparting specialist subjects like medicine and engineering,” he said.

Besides, guidelines “clearly stipulate that no outsider, be it student or guide is registered for research”.

Universities had also been issued guidelines that merit would be the sole criterion for awarding doctorates.

“That means students enrolled in universities should be encouraged to generate research papers, so they may find place in prestigious and reputed journals brought out by reputed institutes,” Raman said referring to the reputed academic centres such as Indian Institutes of Science, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Biological Society of India and Physics Society of India.

“Research papers carried by reputed journals means they get frequently quoted, which will not only help enhance the rankings of state universities but will also take care of plagiarism.”

As part of his initiatives to improve the rankings of universities the governor had also instructed vice-chancellors to fill up the faculty positions most of which were lying vacant.

“As a result, 50% faculty positions have been filled…Efforts are also on at the level of vice chancellors to fill the remaining vacancies, although the process is held up in some cases owing to litigations going on in courts,” Raman said.

Academics appreciated the efforts being made by the governor to improve the rankings of state universities but said the paucity of funds was the main stumbling block coming in the way of improving the quality of research and education in academia.

“The efforts to improve quality of research and education are, no doubt, worth appreciating but it will be difficult to sustain such efforts owing to the fund crunch dogging state universities,” said MC Joshi, a professor of mathematics at Kumaon University’s Nainital campus.

“It is owing to the fund crunch,” he added, “we are not able to provide our students basic facilities like good library or quality laboratories to help them pursue quality research.”

According to him, the fund crunch is so severe that researchers enrolled at KU are not able to access ‘Science Direct’, an online page.

“They have to frequently visit IIT, Roorkee to make use of the online page as we don’t have enough funds to pay the desired fee to those running the online site,” Joshi said.

First Published: Jul 20, 2018 21:53 IST