Transforming universities into cutting edge research institutions

The three-day VCs’ conference on research and innovation in higher education noted the necessity to improve the employability of the students by providing them market related skills, apart from the subject related knowledge

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New Delhi: Vice-Chancellors from across the country have reaffirmed their commitment to improve quality of teaching learning process and achieving the UGC Quality Mandate in Universities and the affiliated institutions by 2020 and NAAC accreditation for all institutions by 2022.

In a 10-point resolution adopted unanimously on the concluding day of the 3-day Conference of Vice-Chancellors, chaired by the Minister of Human Resources Development, Mr Prakash Javadekar, the Vice-Chancellors belonging to Centrally-funded Universities, State Universities, Deemed to be Universities and Private Universities, also committed themselves to transforming the Universities into institutions engaged in cutting edge research blended harmoniously with quality teaching for creating and disseminating new knowledge.

The Conference noted the necessity to improve the employability of the students by providing them market related skills, apart from the subject related knowledge. It also noted that improving opportunities to the students in backward areas can best be improved through digital learning platforms like SWAYAM. The Vice-Chancellors also affirmed to create awareness about ethics in research and provisions for checking plagiarism and to weed out predatory journals.

The one-of-its-kind 3-day Conference on “Research and Innovation” for the Vice-Chancellors & Directors of Higher Educational Institutions was organised from July 26-28 and inaugurated by Mr Prakash Javadekar, the Minister for Human Resource Development with Dr Satya Pal Singh, MoS for Human Resource Development as Guest of Honour. The Secretary (Higher Education), MHRD, the Chairman, UGC, Chairman, AICTE, officials of MHRD and the UGC and the Vice-Chancellors of Central Universities, State Public Universities, Deemed to be Universities, State Private Universities, Directors of Central Institutions such as IITs, IIMs, IISc, NITs, IIITs, IISERs and other central institutions participated in the conference.

More than 600 Vice-Chancellors and Directors attended the conference, which coincided with the auspicious occasion of “Guru Purnima”. The significant feature of the conference was that it was plastic free and eco-friendly. This was the first conference of its kind on ‘Research and Innovation’, where all universities and institutions such IITs, IIMs, IISc, NITs, IIITs, IISERs and other central institutions participated, under one roof.

On Guru Purnima Day on July 27, the HRD Minister honoured Dr Vijay Bhatkar, an architect of development of India’s first supercomputer PARAM in 1990. On this occasion, all the Vice-Chancellors were also honoured. The HRD Minister also released the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) report 2017-18, Higher Education Profile of All India and States for the year 2017-18 and Swachh Campus- A manual for Swachhta Ranking of Higher Education Institutions.

The Conference had six sessions on themes ‘promoting research and innovations’, ‘quality mandate and teachers training’, ‘digital initiatives’. The conference had open forums where all delegates freely interacted with the HRD Minister on the issues of higher education and deliberated over the actions required to achieve quality education. The 65 universities/institutions made presentations on achievements and best practices related to the themes of the conference.

Mr Prakash Javadekar said that all research projects of MHRD including IMPRINT will be opened to teachers and students of all Universities. The selection will be strictly on merit, on competitive basis. In order to check Plagiarism, Turnitin software will be made available at no cost basis to all Universities in the country.

The Minister also informed that e-Shodh Sindhu mass bargain journals will now be available for all Universities at affordable cost. He further said that from now onwards apart from government funded universities, private universities / deemed to be universities can also participate in GIAN initiative, however, the expenditure in case of non-government institutions will be borne by the respective institution.

Dr Satya Pal Singh, MoS for HRD in his speech said that research & innovation is the key factor in revolutionising the higher education scenario of the country. He further said that in order to improve quality of the education ‘Guru’ must be respected more than any staff in all the educational institutions. He also pointed out that Indian higher educational institutions apply very less number of patent applications; it must be increased especially in Indian knowledge systems if we want to become a World leader (Vishwa Guru) in the field of education again.

The Vice-Chancellors appreciated this initiative of MHRD and UGC for enhancing the quality of higher education and having all inclusive approach for planned and coordinated development of higher education in the country.