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Friday, Dec 03, 2004

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Performance-linked promotions for teaching staff mooted

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New Delhi , Dec. 2

PERSPECTIVES on the status of higher education in India and the US today clearly demonstrated the wide divergence in the challenges facing the two economies.

Dr Kirit Parikh, Member, Planning Commission, speaking at the two-day `Higher Education Summit: Roadmap for the Future', organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here, called for performance-linked promotions for teaching staff.

Dr Parikh pointed out the current scenario in India was characterised by lack of quality and built-in inequity where only those able to afford higher education were privy to higher education both in India and abroad.

He made an impassioned plea for injecting meritocracy in the Indian education system whereby the quality of teaching and research became benchmarks in evaluating performance of teachers.

This alone would shake them off their complacency and make them accountable to students and society.

Meanwhile, Professor John Hennessy, President, Stanford University, in his address outlined the role of research institutions as creators and transmitters of new knowledge, which are critical economic drivers in society. Professor Henessey spoke of the benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach to university research programmes and suggested that the focus must be on areas where an in-depth research programme comprising faculty and students from multiple disciplines can produce new knowledge and new solutions.

Professor Arun Nigavekar, Chairman, University Grants Commission, stressed the need for enhancing access to higher education to the large student community, not just 3-4 per cent of the 200 million Indian families that aspire for higher levels of education and knowledge.

He regretted that the majority of private players in the country looked at higher education as a commercial proposition and called for a harmonious and equitable blend of public service and commercial goal.

Ms Sushma Berlia, Chairperson, FICCI Education Committee, impressed upon the need for access and equity of higher education, basing it on merit and desire and not economic, social and influential forces.

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