The focus of Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani’s two-day meet with Vice-Chancellors of 39 central universities this week will be to bring in greater professionalism in the management of these universities including outlining the role of alumni in their development and management, on the lines of IITs and IIMs.
Mobilising external sources of funding through corporate social responsibility initiatives and making communication between the universities simpler and more efficient through a web portal will also be discussed at the meet, scheduled to be held in Chandigarh between September 12 and 13.
The NIC is already working on such a portal.
According to sources, the HRD ministry has felt the need to stress on a strong alumni network for central universities after observing their benefits in the IITs and IIMs. Therefore, the meet will discuss ways to strengthen alumni networks, institutionalise a structure for it and create an exhaustive database of them. Possibilities of fleshing out a common strategy for all central universities will also be explored and suggestions will be sought from the V-Cs, sources said.
Another key area of discussion will be “internationalisation strategy” for the universities with respect to academic collaborations, faculty and students. According to the officials, HRD ministry will take stock of how many foreign students seek admissions in these universities and will seek V-Cs’ suggestions on how to increase their numbers. Setting up special hostels for international students is being explored as an important solution. The universities will also be asked to lay out their strategy for scaling up their research efforts and will be asked to ensure that more research papers get published.
Other issues on the agenda include mandatory accreditation with the NAAC, developing a national ranking framework, a single Act for central universities based on the AM Pathan committee report, online learning strategies, teacher vacancies as well as integration of skill development and vocational education with higher education.
UGC chairman Ved Prakash will also attend the two-day meet.