UGC should urgently look into faculty crunch: Manmohan Singh

Prime MinisterPrime Minister said the university system also needs to put much more emphasis on research. (IE Photo)

With faculty crunch impacting the quality of higher education in the country, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the UGC and other stakeholders should "urgently consider" the issue and find innovative methods of resolving it.

The Prime Minister also noted that premier institutions of the country do not figure among the best in the world and that quality in general remains a "huge concern in the higher education sector".

"I would urge UGC and other stakeholders in higher education sector to urgently consider the issue of quality and shortage of faculty and find innovative methods of resolving them," he said at the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of the University Grants Commission.

As per statistics, the IITs alone face a faculty shortage of close to 32 per cent and almost all the central universities in the country are confronted with shortage of teachers.

The Prime Minister said the university system also needs to put much more emphasis on research and more specifically on enhancing the number and quality of doctoral programmes.

"It is important to note that inter-disciplinary perspectives are the cornerstone of present day research. We must ensure that inter-disciplinary research takes firm roots in the culture of our universities. We must reverse to today's situation where individual department largely operates as islands," he said.

Singh also stressed on an environment of academic freedom in the university system, saying abilities to promote innovation and excellence in teaching and research require that institutes of higher learning have freedom to chalk their own course.

The Prime Minister, who himself headed the Commission as an academician in 1991, said though its contribution to higher education has been widely acknowledged over the last 60 years, "the best is yet to come".

In the coming years, he said, the country needs to increasingly focus on employability along with three other Es such as expansion, excellence and equity as the government was committed to carry forward the work of strengthening the higher education system with "even greater energy and sense of purposefulness in the future".

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