Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Manmohan for reconstruction of university system

Manmohan for reconstruction of university system

Special Correspondent

Underlines need to recognise private sector contribution in its expansion

  • Lays foundation for the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research
  • Universities have not grown commensurate with need
  • For evolving cooperative partnership to harness all possible resources

    Kolkata: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called for the "reconstruction" of the university system in the country and stressed the need to recognise the contribution of the private sector in its expansion.

    "We must evolve a cooperative partnership for harnessing all possible resources," he said here on Tuesday, after laying the foundation for the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research.

    "The deteriorating health of our universities in the past two decades has hobbled our scientific research base" which has not grown fast enough, commensurate with need. The reconstruction of the university system "must be a top priority and the issue has to be addressed comprehensively, not in a piecemeal fashion, he said.

    Dr. Singh said: "We will promote public-private partnerships to increase funding for frontier areas of scientific and technological research, de-bureaucratise science and technology institutions and ensure their academic autonomy.

    "We cannot have pretensions about being a leading `knowledge power' if we do not substantially upgrade our scientific and technological expertise — both in quality and quantity.

    "We will commit adequate resources for a massive expansion in our higher education system so that every section of society has adequate opportunities for fulfilling their educational needs." Referring to the findings of Rand Corporation which ranks India as a scientifically proficient nation, Dr. Singh said: "We must ask ourselves how we move from the `scientifically proficient' category to the rank of scientifically advanced nations."

    Increasing disconnect

    Regretting that the weakness of the Indian scientific system has been the increasing disconnect between teaching and research, he said "universities teach, national laboratories do research, this dichotomy must end."

    Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said the new institute would come up on 220 acres of land being provided by his Government at Kalyani. It is necessary to lay stress on higher studies and research in the basic sciences to accelerate the pace of economic development.Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, and Union Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Mohd. Ali Ashraf Fatmi, were among those present.

    A similar institute would be set up in Pune and another near Chandigarh next year, C.N.R. Rao, Chairman, Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, said adding two more were expected during the next Plan period.

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