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Quality of higher education, a key issue

Governor and Chancellor of Bharathidasan University Banwarilal Purohit presenting a degree certificate and gold medal to a graduate at the 35th annual convocation of Bharathidasan University in Tiruchi on Tuesday.M. Moorthy

While emergence of aspirational middle class in fast-growing India has put universities and colleges under pressure to expand, quality of higher education has become a key issue, Virander Singh Chauhan, Chairman, Executive Committee, National Assessment and Accreditation Council, said on Monday.

He was addressing the 35th convocation of Bharathidasan University presided over by Governor and Chancellor Banwarilal Purohit. Higher educational institutions are under great pressure to expand, change and adapt; digital technologies have completely changed the way knowledge is created and shared, influencing the very idea of university. Also, the institutions are required to not only provide the young generation specific knowledge in chosen areas of studies, but also skill them for job markets, Dr. Chauhan said.

Indian higher education, now the second largest in the world, has to expand fast since the British rulers paid no attention to establish any credible education system in the country.

India has, since Independence, nurtured democracy, ramped up food production and expanded health care since Independence, but was still facing challenges in the forms of poverty, malnutrition, inequality, prevalence of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and polluted environment in the cities. The younger generation will have to overcome these challenges to make India a great modern nation, he said.

While stepping into the highly competitive and complex world, carrying forward value systems of respect for others; sense of gratitude; awareness of culture, language and traditions; and rational thinking will stand the young generation in good stead to become worthy citizens, the NAAC EC Chairman said.

In his special address, Pro-Chancellor and Minister for Higher Education K.P. Anbazhagan said the start of several colleges in a short span had enabled Tamil Nadu to rank high in gross enrolment ratio in higher education, with a score of 48.6 per cent during 2017-18. The State’s performance in higher education was even better than the world average, the Minister said.

Presenting a report on achievements, Vice-Chancellor P. Manisankar said Bharathidasan University secured 60th rank among 4435 universities and institutions of science and technology that figured in the list of university ranking conducted by Webometrics in South Asia.

It was ranked 50th among 3,886 universities and institutions of science and technology in India. This was a big boost to the university that aimed for A++ NAAC ranking in the forthcoming cycle of re-accreditation.

Degrees conferred

Dr. Chauhan conferred degrees on 600 UG, PG, M.Phil, M.Tech, and Ph.D. candidates. As many as 79,887 candidates — 22,296 male and 57,591 female — received their degrees in absentia.

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