Prakash Javadekar for more autonomy to premier institutes

Chandigarh: Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday stressed on the importance of research and innovation and said the Centre wants to give more autonomy to premier institutes of higher learning where the government’s role will be that of a facilitator, not controller.

Stressing on more autonomy to premier institutions of higher learning, based on their performance, the Union HRD minister said, “We want to give more autonomy to all institutes of higher learning, which are Centres of Excellence and the government’s role will be that of facilitator.”

“We don’t want to control institutes, we want to promote them to choose their own path to become real research and innovation centres,” he said at a press conference in Mohali.

“Those institutes which are doing a good job, will get more autonomy and those which are not doing a good job or about whom we receive negative feedback, will have be more regulations,” Javadekar said.He chaired the review meeting at IISER, here with the Directors of five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research in Pune, Kolkata, Mohali, Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram and the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

The Union Minister said the Prime Minister’s scholarship for research is being envisaged for IISERs on the same lines as for the IITs and IIMs.

“We have also decided to ensure a joint effort of all IISERs, IITs and IIMs so that the real strength of our institutes gets reflected in the international ranking,” he said.

Although many Indian institutes have more quality, it doesn’t get reflected in the international ranking because the feedback mechanism and the perception issues were not addressed earlier. But we have decided to do it jointly with all these institutes of higher learning, Javadekar said.

Asserting that the Narendra Modi government wants to give more stress on research and innovation, which are key to its ‘Make in India’ scheme, he said, as sustainable progress is achieved only by those nations which innovate.

“Sustainable progress happens in those countries which innovate and India wants to be an innovative nation. We have talent, we have ability, we have good institutes, we have good infrastructure, we want to strengthen it further give more impetus to this,” the Union Minister said.

Javadekar also interacted with the students and faculty of IISER, Mohali and got feedback on improving the performance of these institutions. He was accompanied by the Union Minister of State for HRD Mahendra Nath Pandey. IISER Mohali’s Director N Sathyamurthy was also present on the occasion.

We need to be cost effective for which we need to be more productive, which can happen only when we innovate, Javadekar said, adding, “Now more companies are focusing on research, I hope that these firms promote research and innovation not just for their own benefit, but for the country’s benefit also.”

About his interaction with students, he said, “They gave so many ideas about their research, passion. Their intent was very visible. Therefore, we will continue our dialogue with students and teachers and the education community.”

The Union Minister is also scheduled to meet the Vice Chancellors of 41 Central Universities at Banaras Hindu University on October 6.

The meeting will focus on actions taken and proposed for improvement of quality of education, research, internal resource generation, infrastructure, student-centric initiatives, and e-governance initiatives.

About private educational institutions mushrooming in various parts of the country, with some allegedly compromising on the quality of education, Javadekar said, “We are going to hold a meeting of education ministers of the states and this is going to be a big issue.”

“Only a few indulge in malpractices, but most provide quality education. We remain committed to improve the quality of education and check any malpractice,” he said.

On the proposal to make NCERT books online, Javadekar said, “I have assured that I will look into it, and after reviewing, I will take a call.”

About scholarships granted to students from Jammu and Kashmir this year, he said, “Under the Prime Minister’s scholarship Yojana, 3,800 scholarships have been granted this year.”

“We have increased number of engineering colleges. Around 1,800 students of J&K got admissions in engineering colleges with this scholarship. Students have also gone in medical, hotel management, nursing and general education stream,” Javadekar said.

About the New Education Policy, he said, “Suggestions will come till September 30 and then we will have a one-day workshop of the MPs, where they will give their suggestions. We will scan all these and come up with a formal draft.”

“I hope within the next three to four months, the main draft will be ready,” he said.

About the fund crunch in Punjab University, the Union Minister said, “If the Centre has to play a role in this, we will see.”

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