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Degree Semester System to be Revised in 2013

A revised Choice – Based Credit – and – Semester System ( CBCS ) for degree courses will, in all likelihood, be implemented in the State’s universities in the next academic year, Vice – Chairman of the Kerala State Higher Education Council T.P. Sreenivasan said Thiruvananthapuram on 16th October, 2012.

Addressing the media after a day – long meeting the council had with members of the Syndicates of the universities, Mr. Sreenivasan said all but five of the Syndicate members who attended the meeting endorsed the recommendations of the B. Hridayakumari committee on revising the system. The annual two-month vacation would be reinstated in Mahatma Gandhi University, which now has two one – month vacations.

He said the council would work closely with all universities for making the revisions. .

He said the council would shortly convene a meeting of the chairmen of various Boards of Studies in the universities to discuss ways of shoring up their functioning.

Earlier in the day, five Left Democratic Front Syndicate members of the University of Kerala – K. L. Vivekanandan, S.P. Deepak, P.S. Sreekala, Mohanachandran Nair and Raghunath — staged a protest at the venue, alleging that the discussions were a sham. Their protest came shortly after council officials distributed a Government Order issued on 16th October, 2012 in which it was said that the government had accepted in principle the Hridayakumari committee report.

Amid the bedlam, Mr. Sreenivasan could be heard repeatedly asking everyone to sit down so that the meeting could continue. Though he offered to answer any query on this issue, the angry Syndicate members walked out of the hall.

A press note issued in Thiruvananthapuram by the LDF Syndicate members said the council had forgotten that it was just an advisory body.

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Higher Education Council to ensure Level – Playing Field

The first task of the newly reconstituted Kerala State Higher Education Council ( KSHEC ) should be to promote the implementation of the reforms suggested by the first council “after critically examining them in the light of past experience, and applying the correctives as necessary.”

This was stated here on November 2, 2011 by the Vice – Chairman of KSHEC and Former Ambassador T.P. Sreenivasan. He was delivering the inaugural address at the first meeting of the KSHEC executive council. The role of the KSHEC council would be to facilitate a level – playing field in the arena of higher education.

The scholarships scheme, the clustering of colleges, the Erudite scheme, combating of ragging on the campuses, the teacher – exchange programme, and the publication of a journal have broad acceptance and should be pursued vigorously.

The reforms on which there may be difference of opinion in the academic community should be examined with the realisation that the pursuit of perfection should not endanger the existing good.

“The advice we give to the government on policy formulation should be well considered, they should reflect the consensus in the academic community, and they should be practical and beneficial. Effective monitoring of the programmes and utilisation of funds should be one of our important functions,” he told the executive council.

“Allow me to pay a tribute to my predecessor, Dr. K.N. Panikkar, and his team for building up KSHEC council from its very beginning, and for laying the foundations for making higher education in Kerala purposeful and relevant to the demands of modern times,” he said.

Kerala’s student community should not be subjected to “needless experimentation and change,” he said. Though lofty ideals of a broad education that will elevate the society should be upheld, Kerala’s education system – at the end of the day – would be judged by the extent to which it equips the State’s youth to compete nationally and globally for careers.

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Boost for higher education scholarship fund

The efforts of the Kerala State Higher Education Council to set up a ₹ 100 crore scholarship fund to aid brilliant but financially disadvantaged students received a substantive boost on 16 February, 2011 with the Bangalore – based Prathiksha Trust agreeing to donate ₹ 50 lakh a year for the next 10 years to the fund.

A memorandum of understanding to this was signed between Prathiksha trustee and Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Infosys Technologies Kris Gopalakrishnan and council vice – chairman K.N. Panikkar here.

Education Minister M.A. Baby was present on the occasion. Mr. Gopalakrishnan later handed over to the council the first cheque for ₹ 50 lakh.

Scholarship schemes

The MoU says the trust will give the money from its ‘Anandam Senapathy’ and ‘Saraswathy Vaidyanathan’ scholarship schemes.

The money is to be utilised by the council for scholarships in science, social science and humanities courses.

The funds given by the trust are to be used only for giving scholarships. Any associated administrative expenses will be borne by the council.

Periodic review

The MoU also provides for a periodic review of the scholarship scheme by the trust and the council. The agreement itself will be reviewed after 10 years.

Mr. Gopalakrishnan told the meeting that the declared intention of the State government that each deserving student should be able to get quality education was a laudable one.

Those who were able to get good education and later a good job should ensure that they support the education of at least one person, he said.

Criteria formulated

Mr. Gopalakrishnan later told The Hindu that he was fully satisfied with the criteria formulated by the council for identifying students eligible to receive the scholarship.

“The review is only intended to check whether the money is reaching the right people,” he said.

The robustness of education in basic sciences was very critical to the industry, including the information technology (IT) industry. Instead of just blaming the IT industry for luring good people away from basic sciences, it was vital to make the study of such courses more attractive by investing more money in them and paying good salaries to those who worked in them, he said.

Addressing the meeting, Mr. Baby said many individuals had made contributions to the scholarship fund. More than the quantity of the contribution, it was the willingness to contribute to a noble cause that mattered, he said.


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