Thursday, 25 June 2009

New tech university for state's premier colleges

New tech university for state's premier colleges
25 Jun 2009, 0506 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: In a move aimed at promoting research, the government has decided to create a dedicated unitary technical university comprising the four
premier colleges of Anna University (Chennai) and thus insulate their faculty from administrative chores relating to the running of other affiliated institutions. The technical university, which will begin functioning from this academic year, will consist of Guindy College of Engineering, Madras Institute of Technology, A C College of Technology, and School of Architecture and Planning.

Higher education minister K Ponmudy told the state assembly on Wednesday that 136 engineering colleges were affiliated to Anna University (Chennai), and hence the faculty was spending most of its time in managing affiliated colleges. Since professors were entrusted with duties of admission, conduct of examinations and inspection of infrastructure in affiliated colleges, they had little time to spend on research, he noted. Experts in technical education had recommended the creation of a unitary university to offer world-class master's programmes and research facilities. The government would float the new university this year itself, Ponmudy said.

The move, in a way, reverses the government's own decision some years back. Anna University had functioned as a premier unitary technical university till 2001 when the AIADMK government brought all engineering colleges under its purview in an effort to streamline and manage engineering education in the state.

When contacted, Anna University (Chennai) vice-chancellor P Mannar Jawahar said the creation of a unitary university would fuel high quality research. "The university's constituent colleges have highly qualified faculty with rich experience in research work, industrial consultancy and collaboration with funding agencies. We have research facilities, including sophisticated equipment which can be put to optimum use now. The faculty can focus full time on research, postgraduate technical education and industrial collaboration," he told The Times of India.

In the current academic year, Ponmudy said, the government would create more than 1,000 posts of lecturers in arts and science colleges and get them filled; in the process, guest lecturers teaching self-financing courses, which were later changed to general courses, would be phased out. The Teachers Recruitment Board would soon release the list of 1,195 lecturers, who were recruited recently. In government engineering colleges, 100 teaching posts would be filled.

Most students pursuing engineering courses in government colleges come from poor backgrounds and need accommodation to pursue their education. Because of this, Ponmudy said, the government was also planning to build new hostels or expand facilities in existing ones. New polytechnics would be opened in Theni, Madurai, Perambalur, Tiruvannamalai, Dharmapuri, Villupuram and Thiruvarur at a cost of Rs 12.3 crore each. The proposal had been forwarded to the Centre, and admissions would begin from the next academic year, he said.

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