Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Sep 13, 2004
Industry & Economy
`Grants to varsities should be based on performance'
Mangalore , Sept. 12
FINANCIAL assistance to universities should be based on the assessment of their performance, according to Dr K. Venkatasubramanian, former member of Union Planning Commission.
While delivering the silver jubilee foundation day lecture on "Financing of higher education" at the Mangalore University,he said that the present "covering the deficit" approach of university funding discourages saving or generation of internal funds.
The improved performance of the university should be rewarded in terms of increased grants, and the poor performance or deterioration in it should lead to cuts.
"If this strategy is operationalised, the institutions will compete in improving quality and efficiency of work in order to attract increased funds," he said. Private sector participation in higher education needs to be encouraged in view of demand for higher education and the inability of the State-funded universities and colleges to cope with the pressure.
However, this should not lead to rampant commercialisation of education, he cautioned.
There is a great demand by foreign students for many programmes of studies. Universities may create supernumerary seats up to 20 per cent to enrol foreign students and students sponsored by NRIs on the basis of full cost fees, Dr Venkatasubramanian said.
He urged the universities to open their campuses abroad, or to have agreements with universities and institutions to offer their programmes for mobilising funds.
Universities may also rent their premises during vocations or after-class hours on commercial and semi-commercial basis.
After meeting all the costs, the balance could be put into the university corpus fund.
The University Grants Commission may consider a matching grant to the tune of amounts saved in revenue/current expenditure so that the corpus fund of the university is built up over a period of time and the interest earned thereon could be used in the long run for maintenance and development of universities.
Dr Venkatasubramanian said that other sources of income will have to be boosted up by encouraging private donations and endowments, strengthening community participation and establishing industry-university linkages from which both the universities and industrial sector benefit.
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