Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar:  Teaching and Research constitute the centrality of learning and primacy of knowledge in a university. Almost all rankings use both these as benchmarks for assessing the quality of universities. The weightage given to research tends to be more in the rankings of universities recognising the importance of research. Our universities ought to become fertile avenues for innovation and generation of ideas through research and publications, said Governor and Chancellor of Universities Dr SC Jamir today.

Presiding over the conference of Vice-Chancellors held at Raj Bhawan here, Jamir said Odisha now has 15 state universities including four newly formed universities and one Unitary University in IIIT.

Stating that that the universities are confronting rising expectations and pressures, he said, "This is a call for action, to think seriously about what we are doing, to value research and quality education and to ensure that our institutional policies and practices are well aligned with our priorities".

Emphasizing on the need to recognise the role of faculties for fostering excellence he asked universities to support teaching development to create motivated teachers. He insisted upon them to take immediate steps for filling up vacant teaching posts on priority basis and to ensure that best minds and talents are recruited for teaching profession.

Expressing grave concern over campus indiscipline and violence and echoing with concerns of parents and students, he said university is an open and safe place for learning and intellectual growth and not a battle ground or safety hazard.

Stating that sanctity of education and the campus along with safety and peace of mind of students, faculty and staff matter a lot, the Governor asked university authorities to be strict and see that all persons on the campus, whether administrators, faculty, students or employees, are subject to the law and the regulations of the university.

Citing the challenge faced by universities in preparing students to face challenges in a real world, he urged upon establishing collaboration with the industry and business sector to bring in new ideas and thinking, developing skill and allowing students to learn about the practical side of things to enhance employability prospects.

To build world class universities the Governor said an inspiring vision and a mission is important. He further said leadership is central for providing an institutional vision and galvanizing academic consciousness among faculty and students. He sought dynamic leadership from vice-chancellors and taking responsibility and being accountable for one's decisions.

While urging upon the academic community to think globally and gain strength from the power of collective endeavour, Jamir sought more engagements in the future among all the stakeholders of university system to meet the challenges.

“Being the Chancellor, I reiterate my commitment on raising the standard of universities in the state by addressing the vital needs of curbing campus indiscipline, ensuring a study atmosphere, promoting quality education and fostering research in the universities,” he said, adding that the findings at the conference would be vital in furthering the cause of higher learning in the state and meeting the goals and objectives.

In his address, Finance minister Pradeep Kumar Amat highlighted the need of quality education and research in higher education. He emphasized on designing and introducing curriculum for the benefit of girls in exploring their potential. He also said the state government is committed to fill up teaching and non teaching posts soon.

Higher Education minister Pradeep Kumar Panigrahy said several proactive measures have been taken to enable the state’s higher education to meet emerging challenges. He also stressed upon activating grievance redressal system in universities to address student grievances and indiscipline.

“Discussions regarding filling up of vacant posts of teachers, maintaining discipline in universities, mode of placement for the students and introduction of students’ exchange programme were held at the conference,” said Ravenshaw University VC Prakash Sarangi.

VC of North Odisha University, Prafulla Mitra said to restore normalcy in University a proposal was given to ban students’ union elections for 10 years and conduct elections among the class representatives.

VC of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) Dr Surendranath Pasupalak said the Governor told the vice chancellors to make efforts to ensure quality education to make their university among top 100 universities in the country.