IITs are glorified engineering colleges,varsities more important: UGC chairman

The University Grants Commission chairman Dr Ved Prakash today said that the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) were no more than “glorified engineering colleges”.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Amritsar | Updated: March 14, 2014 11:53 am

The University Grants Commission chairman Dr Ved Prakash today said that the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) were no more than “glorified engineering colleges”.

Addressing a meeting of principals of affiliated colleges of Guru Nanak Dev University,Deans of various faculty and heads of various departments in Amritsar,Prakash while emphasising upon the importance of universities,said he was miffed at not receiving any research proposals for Singh-Obama initiative from the universities and the same had to be awarded to an IIT.

Prakash said since universities were not coming forward so the initiative had to be awarded to IIT (“IIT ko majboori mein dena pada”) for execution in the wake of country’s “prestige”. “IIT. Kya hai IIT. (What are IITs?). Glorified engineering colleges. University aur IIT mein zameen aasman ka antar hai (University and IITs are poles apart),” Prakash said.

After his address,in response to a question on the comparison,Prakash said that Universities were far more important than IITs. Universities had a higher intake of students,he added. On reports that UGC may lose funding powers amid UPA government having cleared the Rs 22,000 crore Rashtriya Uchchtar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) to revive and strengthen India’s higher education sector,Prakash evaded a direct reply and said,“It is not an issue. The idea is that universities should get the funds.”

The HRD ministry is reportedly working on a plan to gradually divest the apex higher education regulator — University Grants Commission (UGC) — of funding powerss.

He was all praise for RUSA and said Punjab stood to gain hugely from it. “I am sure you are going to pick up a major chunk,” he said .

The UGC chairman also impressed upon the need to focus on first generation learners,pointing out that they should not only be embraced by the faculty but also guided to choose their streams. Such students should not be told just to join the Arts stream. Instead,they should be encouraged to join other streams also depending upon their talent. He drove home his point about first generation learners by saying that such students hailing from poor families needed to be encouraged as they feared asking questions,searched seats on the back benches and avoided eye contact.

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