Despite the Opposition’s criticism of the flag issue, Thursday’s decision is understood to be reflective of the government’s resolve to adopt an aggressive posture on the issue.
Despite the Opposition’s criticism of the flag issue, Thursday’s decision is understood to be reflective of the government’s resolve to adopt an aggressive posture on the issue. The proposal for hoisting the national tricolour atop a 207-foot pole was put forward by Ms Smriti Irani and unanimously endorsed by all 46 vice-chancellors, HRD ministry sources said.
The minister also put forth a proposal for hoisting the first such flag at JNU, which too was backed by all V-Cs, they said.
Officials in the HRD ministry said as per the resolution all the Central universities, including JNU, will have to fly the tricolour and the decision was taken to “symbolise a strong and united India” in higher education institutions.
Ms Irani had called the meeting of VCs after widespread protest over the suicide of Hyderabad University dalit scholar Rohith Vemula.
The government has come under attack after the arrest of JNUSU leader Kanhaiya Kumar and the subsequent attack by lawyers on students and mediapersons at the Patiala House courts in the national capital. Protests also erupted in many parts of the country, including at Jadavpur University in Kolkata.
“Nationalism just doesn’t mean hoisting the flag and singing Vande Mataram. It is about showing your belief in the Constitution, it is about showing respect to the institutions which have made the country a democratic setup,” Congress leader R.P.N. Singh said.
The vice-chancellors’ meeting also discussed several important aspects related to higher education, including the implementation of the 2012 UGC regulations by all universities for promoting equity and addressing the grievances of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students.
It was also decided at the meeting that there will be a one-week course on leadership and management at two select IIMs for VCs, pro-VCs and registrars. According to the resolution, all universities will take steps to appoint an anti-discrimination officer, besides adopting a transparent proactive mechanism for grievance redressal for the university community, including students, staff and faculty.
They will also institutionalise peer-assisted learning through active mentoring system for students involving senior students and faculty.
In order to keep pace with the emerging knowledge society worldwide, new courses were also proposed, including on foreign languages, new media and youth, inter-faith studies, dialogue of cultures and civilisations, women and entrepreneurship, epidemiology and public health, gerontology and diaspora studies.
In the science, technology and agriculture stream, new courses like nanotechnology, converging technologies, applied science and maths, farming technology, rural supply chain management and renewable energy development have been proposed.
To ensure that no student is deprived of higher education due to language limitations, it will be ensured that the medium of instruction is English and an Indian language, as applicable to the state.
It has also been decided that to increase cost-effective and transparent access to higher education online admission process will be started. The VCs also resolved to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) to 30 per cent in higher education and, to increase access to education, start holding classes in double shifts to overcome infrastructure and human resource bottlenecks. GER, calculated for the 18-23 year age group, is total enrolment as a percentage of the eligible population.
It was also decided to set up a professional system of comprehensive guidance and counselling by experts. The meeting resolved to institutionalise a suitable redress mechanism to ensure a healthy and safe work environment for women and other students.
To motivate students to be socially aware and responsible citizens and to inculcate a spirit of dignity of labour among the youth and commitment to social uplift, it was decided to strengthen the village adoption programme already in place under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan. For ensuring transparent and speedy delivery of services administrative reforms coupled with e-governance will be taken up on a priority basis, the resolution added.