Saturday, January 06, 2007

National Knowledge Commission recommends "real" universities

Urmi Goswami reports:

Even as the National Knowledge Commission suggests a five-fold expansion of the higher education system, it has argued for creating ‘completely new institutions that operate unconstrained by the current institutional and regulatory framework’. The Commission has recommended setting up of 50 national universities that can provide education of the highest standard.

As examplars for the rest of the nation, these universities shall train students in a variety of disciplines. The Commission has suggested setting up 10 national universities over the next three years.

Not all 50 of the proposed national universities need be new universities. Some of the exisiting universities could be converted into national universities after a rigorous process of selection “to act as examplars”.

I hope this great recommendation will get our government to dump the totally hyped up -- and ultimately, unsustainable -- IIT model (which has been aped slavishly for creating IISERs), and to start thinking seriously about our crying need for some real universities that combine research and UG teaching in a number of disciplines (as opposed to "just" technology or science).

I do have a grouse, though. Would it be too much for the NKC to host these interim reports (or notes -- such as this one) on its website? Such free access will give us NKC's views without being being coloured by the kind of framing used by reporters (for example, Goswami's story starts with statements -- quoted above -- that are intended to provoke the Left and the status-quoists). More importantly, it will also allow us to better appreciate the reasons behind its recommendations.