VCs Asked To Fill SC, ST Faculty Vacancies

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New Delhi, Nov 10 (UNI) The need to fill faculty vacancies-- especially scheduled caste and tribes-- was underscored as Indian academia were urged today to help provide disadvantaged groups an increasing access to high quality education.

Opening a conference of Vice Chancellors and Directors of Central Educational Institutions at Vigyan Bhawan, Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh stressed equity, inclusiveness and excellence.

Mr Singh pointed out that equity implied not merely a right to exist, but a right to flourish and grow.

He voiced hope that the deliberations would reinforce the collective commitment of all to meet the goals of bringing higher education to all along with equity, inclusiveness and excellence.

The HRD Minister also emphasised the need to focus on education of minorities.

The conference on the eve of India's newly declared National Education Day was attended among others by Minister of State for HRD D Purandeswari and Higher Education Secretary R P Agrawal.

Also present were University Grants Commission Chairman Sukhdeo Thorat and vice chancellors of central universities and other educators.

Mr Singh emphasised the need for all Central Universities and Institutions to scrupulously observe financial discipline and ensure optimum utilisation of funds.

He voiced hope that the universities would achieve 15 per cent gross enrolment ratio and meet the challenges of quality and high standards besides expanding higher education seats.

He expressed hope that the academia and the HRD Ministry would be able to provide increasing access to high quality education to the disadvantaged groups.

Mr Agrawal echoed the need for optimum and timely utilisation of funds for providing quality infrastructure and facilities for educational institutions.

He also enjoined upon the delegates the need to fill the vacant faculty positions, especially the backlog vacancies of scheduled caste, tribe and other backward class teachers and non-teaching staff.

It is a part of ''our Constitutional obligation,'' he reminded, stressing the need to submit Annual Reports and audited Accounts in time to facilitate their placement before Parliament.

Meeting behind closed doors, the participants went over such key issues as status of utilisation of funds provided to central universities and technical institutions, the backlog SC and ST teaching and non-teaching vacancies, a Ministry statement said.

They also discussed the Status of admission to higher learning seats reserved for Other Backward Classes and issues relating to international cooperation and academic exchanges with foreign collaboration.

In concluding remarks, Ms Purandeswari emphasised the need for excellence in higher education and suggested regular sharing of information to allow mid-course correction in norms and procedures.

A panel discussion on Issues Related To Higher Education In The XI Plan in the evening was presided over by Mr Agrawal.

UNI MJ NK RN1949

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