Krishna stresses for greater autonomy

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Mumbai, Jan 4 (UNI) Maharashtra Governor S M Krishna today reiterated the need for greater autonomy in the functioning of Institutions of excellence and Universities.

Inaugurating a meeting of vice-chancellors from across the state at Raj Bhavan here, Mr Krishna said he had forwarded the report of a seminar, he had organised for Vice-Chancellors and various other stakeholders, on the theme 'Autonomy in Higher Education' to the government for examination and further action.

''I wish to hasten the process of autonomy and see that at least the institutions with potential for excellence, identified by the UGC, opt for autonomy,''he asserted.

The Governor noted that in the last few years, heads of some of the best known universities in the West are coming to India to attract Indian students to their universities. ''I believe that our universities can not only retain our own students but can also attract foreign students by creating infrastructure facilities and providing professional services. I appeal to vice-chancellors to take concrete steps and adopt such strategies that will enhance the enrollment of international students in their universities,''he said.

Mr Krishna said he has asked his office to plan interactive sessions on Internationalisation of Higher Education with the various stakeholders. ''Some of our universities are also entering into collaborations and are signing MoUs with foreign universities and institutions. Due care must be taken to ensure that the provisions of the Maharashtra Universities Act are followed and necessary permissions are obtained at the State and Central level,''he said.

Mr Krishna said recently at the meeting of the National Development Council held in New Delhi, the 11th Five Year Plan for 2007 to 2012 was approved. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has described the 11th Five Year Plan as India's Education Plan, presenting a comprehensive strategy for strengthening the education sector, covering all segments of the education pyramid.

The Government has increased the outlay on education from 7.7 per cent of the total Gross Budgetary Support in the 10th Five Year Plan to an unprecedented 19 per cent in the 11th plan. In absolute terms, there is a five fold increase in the outlay for this sector.

The Government aims to increase the proportion of students going to college and higher education up to 20 per cent of the population in the relevant age group.

Agricultural Universities should now focus more on developing crop varieties suitable for resource-poor farmers, since they constitute the bulk of the farming community in Maharashtra.

Necessary steps should also be taken to increase agricultural productivity. Universities having huge farm lands should generate funds to meet their own expenses rather than depending on the State government from time to time, Mr Krishna added.

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