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30 more colleges get Bangalore varsity affiliation
BANGALORE:As many as 30 new colleges under Bangalore University (BU) have been granted affiliation for the year 2014-15.

The decision was announced at the Syndicate meeting of the university held on March 27. Briefing reporters after the meeting, BU vice-chancellor Prof B Thimmegowda said the colleges would receive their status by the end of the month.

A total of 550 colleges had applied for affiliation for 2014-15, out of which 48 comprised those that applied for fresh affiliation and 502 for renewal of affiliation. In the former, as many as 30 colleges got their affiliations approved while 500 colleges in the latter category were approved.

In addition, Thimmegowda said the affiliation request of a number of colleges located in rural areas will be judged on more flexible grounds to increase their chances of improving. “We have to be liberal in case of these colleges as most of them are in rural areas and they still need access to better education.” A number of parameters such as infrastructure, faculty, and results are used for granting affiliation with each criterion denoting a certain amount of points. A minimum combined point of 40 of all the parameters is needed to be eligible for affiliation.

Prof Thimmegowda also announced a scholarship of Rs 500 for ten months for 163 blind students.

B’lore varsity LLM to be of one-year

BANGALORE: The postgraduate law course (LLM) offered at the University Law College here will be of one year from 2014-15.

The move is part of an initiative to bring legal education in the country on a par with global standards.

University Law College Dean and Principal K M Hanumantharayappa informed on March 22 that the present two-year LLM course will be discontinued.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) had directed all universities to switch to the one-year LLM course from 2013-14 onwards, on par with programmes offered across the world.

While several other institutions have already adopted the new module, the University Law College will introduce it from 2014-15.

The UGC directions are based on a recommendation by the National Knowledge Commission, which had suggested several measures to revamp legal education and research in the country. Following these recommendations, the Ministry of Human Resources Development constituted a round table on legal education. Based on its instructions, in 2010, the UGC set up an expert committee that proposed the one-year module.

Prof Hanumantharayappa said the details of the programme will be finalised at the Syndicate meeting on March 25. At present, the law college offers five specialisations at the postgraduate level, which include: Criminal Law, Labour Law, Environmental Law, Constitutional Law and Business Law.

The principal said there might be a few changes in the classification of these specialisations. As per the UGC’s Guidelines for introduction of One Year LLM Degree Programme, 2012, the PG programme should comprise specialiations in legal pedagogy and research, international and comparative law, and family and social security law.

The guidelines emphasise dissertation work and practical knowledge, asking institutions to evaluate students based on grades and divide the course into trimesters. The guidelines also stipulate a 5:1 studentteacher ratio, based on the advanced nature of the PG programme.

Entrance test

While the UGC has asked universities to adopt an All India Admission Test for the course, Bangalore University is yet to take a stand on conducting an entrance test, as seats at present are allotted based on merit. BU Vice-Chancellor Prof B Thimme Gowda said earlier attempts to introduce an entrance test received cold response and several people expressed concern that students from rural areas would be at a disadvantage.

“We will consider such a test in the future. This academic year the admissions will continue as usual since it is already too late to tweak it now. We will design the admission system based on the needs of our university.”
 

 

 K'nataka med seats to be filled as per 2006 law

BANGALORE : Karnataka Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash R. Patil said here on November 7 that from next academic year, seats in medical colleges will be filled as per the Karnataka Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fee) Act 2006.

The government has written to the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka to appoint retired High Court judges to the Fee Regulation Committee and the Admission Overseeing Committee.

Speaking to reporters here the Minister said that he was expecting a response from the Chief Justice in a few days. “Once the appointments are made, the committees will start functioning. The Act will help regulate the fee structure and bring in transparency in seat allotment,” he said.

Besides, the law would ensure reservation for students from different categories in private medical colleges too. The colleges had to follow the Act and any violation would attract legal provisions. “Of course, the private colleges may refuse to offer seats to the government after the Act comes into effect. We are trying to find an alternative by setting up government medical colleges in all districts,” he said.

The Minister said that the intention is to ensure quality education for poor students at affordable prices. As per a Supreme Court direction, medical colleges should not function as profit-making ventures. The fee structure should be based on the expenditure incurred by the managements in running their colleges.

The State government has sought the Medical Council of India’s approval for medical colleges in Gadag, Madikeri, Karwar, Chamarajanagar, Gulbarga and Koppal. A sum of Rs. 30 crore each had been allotted to these new colleges. The government will make rural service compulsory for all medical graduates. Those who obtain MBBS degree will have to work for a year in primary health centres and those who obtain post-graduation degree will work in community health centres. “Once this mandatory policy comes into effect, rural people will have access to health,” he said.

To a question on the delay in inaugurating the hi-tech hospital of the Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences, the Minister said that he would look into it and take action to complete the work soon.

Later, the Minister visited the institute and reviewed construction work.

The former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and MLA H.D. Revanna accompanied the minister during his visit to the hospital.

Pai prescribes 4-year UG course for Karnataka

From B. Harishchandra Bhatt
BANGALORE: 
A top-level 11 member mission group headed by technocrat T V Mohandas Pai has recommended four year undergraduate courses for Karnataka universities -- a recommendation precisely in consonance with the Washington Accord of which India is a signatory.

The suggestion has been made in the exhaustive “Higher Education Vision 2020” report submitted by the Mission Group on Higher Education Policy” constituted by the Karnataka Knowledge Commission (KKC) to provide a roadmap to the State government to achieve excellence in higher education.

A high-level panel on higher education has recommended the present three year under-graduate degree programme in arts and science by universities be extended by one more year incorporating a general course offered in the first year wherein students are exposed to a variety of academic topics.
 
The recommendation is part of slew of measures suggested by a “Mission Group on Higher Education Policy” constituted by the Karnataka Knowledge Commission (KKC) to provide a roadmap to the State government to achieve excellence in higher education.

In its report, the 11-member mission group headed by technocrat T V Mohandas Pai, has recommended that the second, third and fourth year in the extended UG programme should be designed to have 70 per cent mandatory courses in a subject of specialisation and 30 per cent electives.

“The undergraduate degree will have one major and one or more minors, thereby enlarging the skills set of the students. Students should have the flexibility to take courses of their interest across all years of study and should be able to choose subjects across the disciplines of natural science, humanities and the social sciences,” the report states. The report was submitted to the State government on December 27.

The panel has also incorporated in its recommendation a blueprint to double the present Gross Enrolment Ratio (GRE) of 18 per cent in higher education by the year 2020. The State government is already in possession of another report “Vision 2020” on the status of higher education in the State submitted by the Karnataka State Higher Education Council during September this year.

The present report submitted by the mission group on Thursday has 63 recommendations across six sectors covering student and faculty aspects, pedagogy practices, vocational education, besides governance and administration in higher education.

The mission group has suggested that while formulating the curriculum for UG programmes, the Board of Studies of an university could design 75 per cent of the syllabus while the remaining 25 per cent could be designed by academic bodies of affiliated colleges based on local needs, students’ expectations and societal trends.

The panel has suggested that all State universities build a database of subject experts who can actively participate in the exercise of curriculum review.

To move away with rote learning and memorisation, the panel has recommended that a large part of the curriculum at the UG level be devoted to developing problem solving skills, application of knowledge and project work.

It has also suggested to amend and overhaul the Karnataka State Universities Act 2000 with regard to autonomy, fostering creativity among students and encourage research and innovation.

“The Act must promote innovation, experimentation and flexibility in the governance structure of universities. Otherwise, it will become an obstacle for growth and development of higher education,” the report states.

The mission group was cochaired by Prof Sundar Sarukkai, Director, Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities with KRS Murthy, former director, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, H A Ranganath, director, National Assessment and Accreditation Council, Bangalore, Meena Rajiv Chandawarkar, vice-chancellor, Karnataka State Women’s University, Bijapur, Shivashankara Murthy, vice chancellor, Mangalore University among others as its members.

K'nataka plans tough rules for private varsities

BANGALORE : Karnataka State Cabinet has approved the establishment of three more private universities. At least, three more established educational institutions have sought permission to establish private universities. The State already has two private universities.

The Cabinet recently approved the proposals of M S Ramaiah Group, Manipal Academy of Higher Education and Jain Group for opening private universities in the state. Azim Premji University and Alliance University are already a reality in Bangalore.

Interestingly, those varsities which are in the pipeline are also going to be in or around Bangalore, while there is a dearth of good colleges and universities in tier-II and tier-III cities.

On May 26, the state Cabinet cleared the proposal of Vellore Institute of Technology to open a private university in Bangalore, while a draft bill pertaining to M S Ramaiah University was cleared.

Amrita Education Group, Sri Devaraj Urs Educational Trust and Dayanand Sagar Institutions are among those who have submitted applications seeking permission to open private universities, according to H Siddaiah, Principal Secretary, Higher Education Department.

Draft rules

The State Higher Education Council has come out with a draft rules document, which is yet to go before the executive committee of the council. The council has also prepared a draft Act which can serve as a blueprint for preparing legislations for each private university.

Council executive director Prof K M Kaveriappa said there should be a set of rules for becoming eligible to seek permission to open a private university so that there will be no provision for ad hoc decisions. Also, certain standards could be set for educational institutions to become eligible.

A body which sponsors a private varsity should own not less than 10 to 15 acres in urban area and not less than 25 acres in the rural sector, where it proposes to establish the university. If the sponsoring body already has established institutions in an area not less than 10 to 15 acres, it can apply.

But there could be some relaxation in minimum land possession in exceptional cases. The draft rules say that while following the UGC guidelines to submit the form, they should pay fees to the Higher Education Council which is non-returnable.

The project proposal should be explained as per the prescribed 12 heads. The title of ownership of the land owned by the sponsors and the master plan of the existing and proposed buildings should be submitted.

It should establish its financial credentials, including possession of sufficient funds, and create a permanent statutory endowment fund.

The proposal of the sponsoring body should be put before a search committee which has members nominated by the Higher Education Council and a nominee of the UGC or Vice-Chancellor of a central university.

The search committee after physical verification of the university site, if satisfied, will advise the government to consider the proposal.

If the proposal is rejected, it will not be eligible to apply for the next one year. In the model draft Act too, the Council has stipulated that a private university will have to comply with the norms of not only the University Grants Commission, but also of various statutory bodies. The admissions and fees should also be in accordance with UGC rules.

Why uniformity?

To a question as to why all private universities, like the State universities, should be modeled on a single Act, Kaveriappa said, “Each private university will function in a different way, because they are created through a separate Act. The draft bill will only serve as a blueprint as to how the bills should be.”

Former vice-chancellor of the Bangalore University, M S Thimmappa, said it was unfortunate that so far private universities had been allowed to come up, without a policy.

“There should be least government interference in private universities. When autonomy comes, responsibility comes automatically.

“But there should be transparency in the management of universities. If the government controls private varsities too much, they too will end up like many state universities which are in the news for the wrong reasons,” he said.

 

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