Delivering a lecture after inaugurating some facilities at the University of Mysore, Prof. Prakash said there is no motivation or incentives for innovation in the field of higher education because of bureaucratic control. He said higher education in India is in a deep financial crisis and though the funding has increased over the years in absolute amounts, the proportion of funding to the overall plan size is on the decline.
The UGC chairman called for financial reforms to cope with the situation and said that though education cess is in place, it is meant only for promoting elementary education.
Prof. Prakash said modern higher education in India is hardly 125 years old, compared to educational institutions abroad that have evolved over up to 900 years. “Yet, there is no reason for us to be apologetic about the state of higher education as in a short span India has produced outstanding scientists and professionals,” he said.
However, he said the gross enrolment ratio and regional disparities were worrying factors. “While the gross enrolment ratio is as high as 42 per cent in some parts of the country, it is 6 per cent or so in some regions. The disparities are huge, with enrolment at 33 per 1,00,000 population in some areas, and 7.5 per 1,00,000 in others,” he said.
He said there are issues related to transition rate from primary to secondary and post-secondary stages. Some students making the transition are found to lack the competencies to complete higher level courses. He also said that there is a strong disconnect between academia and the industry and that there is a lack of leadership to haul higher education out of the crisis.
Earlier, Prof. Prakash inaugurated the renovated UGS-HRDC building at the Manasagangotri campus. K.S. Rangappa, Vice-Chancellor of the university, Registrar R. Rajanna, and other staff members and students were present.