Prof. Deepak Kumar Behera
India has the second largest higher education system in the world and can do much to meet the global requirements for higher education, and especially the requirements of the developing world. The nineties of the last century has been a decade of transition during which education systems, the world over, have witnessed paradigm shifts, and have undertaken academic reforms and administrative restructuring. The major developments in higher education are a paradigm shift from teacher-centred instruction to student-centred learning, the acceptance of the concept of lifelong learning and the emergence of distance and flexible customised education as a viable, and in some cases the preferred mode of education. Above all, there has been an internationalisation of higher education characterised by numerous institutional linkages, dramatic increase in student mobility and the offering of a large number of programmes across international boundaries. In fact, the World Declaration on Higher Education, adopted in Paris has emphasised that partnerships, at national and international levels, based on common interests, mutual respect and credibility, should be the prime matrix for the renewal of higher education.
India, unfortunately, has been sluggish in reacting to the wave of internationalisation that is sweeping the world. The Indian universities have not been able to take advantage of the possibilities that global linkages in higher education offers for improving the quality of education, promoting Indian culture in different countries, and deriving political and economic benefits. Higher education in the twenty-first century promises to be not only demanding but also refreshingly different. Imparted under the all-pervading influence of the ICT revolution, it has to be student-centred, committed to the concept of lifelong learning and responsive to the needs of the society.
Today, the challenges confronting higher education for which innovative solutions have to be found are:
- Expansion of higher education maintaining high quality and increase of Gross Enrolment Ratio.
- Modernising and restructuring the existing higher education system.
- Training and retraining the existing graduates to meet the challenges.
- Evolving a modern need-based curriculum to accommodate the expanding knowledge and expertise.
- Make education effective, cost effective and reachable or affordable.
- Creating a proper and purposeful interface between the universities, industry and the community-society.
- Meet the challenges of internationalisation and make the Indian education system effective and globally competitive and establish institutional linkages with universities and institutes abroad.
Changes are inevitable in the educational system, particularly at the university level, to meet the challenges arising both from the complexities of educational process and the changing demands of the society. In today’s world, with the fast changing socio-economic conditions, the role of Vice-Chancellors has become extremely complex and a very demanding one. Not only are they required to possess administrative skills, a working knowledge in widely divergent areas ranging from finance to various academic disciplines, to sports and culture, but also requires an ability to be innovative in dealing with new and complex situations which perpetually emerge.
The first and foremost task of a university is to re-examine its role and responsibilities in the context of a fast changing socio-economic milieu and emergence of a globally competitive world. It is expected to ensure the quality and relevance of education to meet the emerging needs of the society.
My effort, therefore, would be incomplete if I do not dwell upon certain important aspects of the Vice-Chancellor’s leadership in the university administration. As the Vice-Chancellor of this University, I am dedicated to the task of facing the challenges, thereby acting as a catalyst to transform ‘Berhampur University’ as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in higher education.
MY VISION AND ACTION PLAN
- Achieve academic excellence through participation of all the stakeholders – students, teachers and employees and adherence to non-negotiable academic calendar.
- Special emphasis on student-centric customised learning and students’ welfare.
- Need-based reforms in the academic, administrative and examination systems of the University with a focus on excellence, equity and expansion in higher education.
- Networking and collaboration with Foreign Universities and Institutes for student-faculty exchange programmes and international fellowships and scholarships.
- Synergy of teaching, research and extension.
- Increase in Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education through proactive inclusive education particularly for the disadvantaged sections of the society.
- Preservation and promotion of rich cultural heritage of South Odisha in general and the tribal region in particular through teaching and research.
- Establishment of South Odishan Cultural Centre for the promotion of art, literature and culture of South Odisha in collaboration with zonal and national cultural organisations.
- Ensuring national and international recognition to the literary works of Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja through translation of his epic writings into English and other Indian languages.
- Conduct of memorial lecture series on eminent personalities of south Odisha.
- Emphasis on discipline and development.
- Creation of a Knowledge Society through networking for production, consumption and sharing of knowledge.
- Capacity building through infrastructure development.
- Contextualisation and prioritisation of research making it socially relevant and utilitarian.
- NAAC accreditation/re-accreditation for quality assurance and fund flow.
- Development of network with other institutions for knowledge sharing.
- Introduction of some innovative courses with orientation towards tribal culture and job opportunities.
- Capacity building through infrastructure development, upgradation and automation of laboratories and library, human resource development through updation of knowledge and training.
- Strengthening the Tutor-Ward system to establish a healthy interpersonal relationship amongst teachers and students.
- Strengthening of the infrastructure of the affiliated colleges; introduction of new courses in affiliated colleges keeping in view the regional requirements.
- Teaching-learning process to be made more effective through the use of audio-visual teaching aids and computer-aided teaching.
- Introduction of add on courses; emphasis on soft skill learning and capacity building like communicative English and computer basics.
- Modular-based teaching through continuous evaluation ensuring timely completion of courses.
- University-Industry interface for formulation of need-based curricula enhancing employability of students.
- Central Placement Assistance Cell for students.
- Motivating faculty to publish in peer reviewed/Impact factor journals.
- Strengthening the games and sports facilities and creation of additional sports infrastructure.
- Ensure transparency, impartiality and accountability in administration through democratic decentralisation.
- Strengthening of all statutory bodies.
- Regular updation of the University website – window to the outside world.
- Zero-tolerance for any evil design to destabilise the university system.
Prof. Deepak Kumar Behera