Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Change V-C selection process

Change V-C selection process

Dr J D Bapat

The Maharashtra Governor S C Jamir—as the chancellor of state universities—has called for a systemic overhaul in the appointment process of university vice-chancellors. Instead of a selection process he described as "politicized'', Jamir recommended that a group of eminent academicians must select vice-chancellors. The Governor was in Chandrapur on, 19 Jan 2009, Monday to inaugurate a state level principals' forum.

The quality of governance of many educational institutions in the state is a cause for concern. In many states, university appointments, including that of V-Cs, have been politicized.

Currently, a university vice-chancellor is appointed by the chan
cellor on recommendations of a committee consisting of representatives from the government, from the university academic council and management council, among others.

When the scholars choose the vice-chancellor, universities would see a qualitative difference in their functioning. We do not have a dearth of talented people for the posts in our uni
versities. To ensure that we get the best persons to run our universities, it is necessary to take a re-look at the composition of the appointment committee.

There are growing concerns about the large number of teaching faculty positions that remain vacant in the universities
and colleges. This has considerably paralysed some of our reputed institutions. The recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission have made teaching more attractive, offering good pay scales to the teachers. If the young and bright minds are to be attracted to join the profession, enough opportunities should be made available for growth. One of the reasons for the vacant teaching positions in the higher educational institutions is the perpetual reservations. When the teachers are not available in the "reserved" category, the vacancy should become "open" after certain time period. The qualified teachers draw job satisfaction, when teaching is accompanied by the research (as in IITs). Therefore research funding for the universities need to be increased substantially.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Stanford University to Create Green Energy Research Institute

Stanford University to Create Green Energy Research Institute:

The Stanford University is establishing a research institute to focus on energy issues and work toward development of more affordable and efficient ways to capture the power of the sun and store, deliver and use energy, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The proposed investment is US $100 million

The University President John Hennessy announced the launch of the Precourt Institute of Energy. The three lead donors whose contributions are financing the creation of the institute are Stanford alumni. Energy executive, Jay Precourt, the namesake of the new institute, donated US $50 million and the University trustee and managing partner of Farallon Capital Management, Thomas Steyer and spouse Kat Taylor gave US $40 million.

The balance was contributed by Douglas Kimmelman, senior partner of Energy Capital Partners, Michael Ruffatto, president of North American Power Group Ltd. and the Schmidt Family Foundation. The institute will work on the university's Global Climate and Energy Project.

Lynn Orr has been named the director of the new institute. A professor in energy resources engineering, he previously was director of Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project.

Source:, 14 January 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Youth must lead science and technology

Youth must lead science and technology

Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's address at the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Hamirpur

Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam today called upon the youth to work towards building a creative leadership in different disciplines and achieving new goals for the country.

Delivering his convocation address at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Hamirpur, Dr Kalam said the time has come for a drastic change in the traditional roles from a commander to coach.

He also highlighted issues of infrastructure development, energy generation and the need of safe drinking water for the masses in the country. Kalam asked the educational institute to focus on emerging as a technical human resource provider for the state.

The NIT, he recommended, should adopt all local 20 senior secondary schools for quality education and also create a 'energy independence plan' for the district through micro-hydel plants, solar energy systems, bio-mass plants and wind power, besides dense afforestation to make it fossil fuel free.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who also spoke on the occasion, asked the engineering fraternity to respect the environmental requirements and come forward to help find quality alternatives for development of the country.

Source: Indian Express, Jan 4, 2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Age no bar to lead scientific institutions

Age no bar to lead scientific institutions

Gist of PM's address to 96th Science Congree, Shillong

Contending that the government has laid down the foundation to foster research, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked scientists to promote younger talent and strengthen leadership in universities and research institutions.

"The best science is done by young people. Our institutions must be receptive to the needs of the young people. They must promote younger talent and allow youth to lead," he said inaugurating the 96th Indian Science Congress at the picturesque North Eastern Hill University campus in Shillong.

Singh said the government can at best ease the supply side constraints on teaching and research and the demand side stimulus must come from institutions and the industry.

"India is lagging behind not just developed western nations, but also the newly industrialising economies of Asia," Singh said adding that while the government is doing its bit to ensure quantitative development, the leadership for qualitative development must come from the scientific community.

"Our universities must do more to foster a research environment. We need strengthening of institutional leadership in universities and research institutions," the Prime Minister said.

Seniority and age may be relevant in the bureaucratic system, but scientific institutions must be led by intellectual leaders, irrespective of age, he said. Singh asked the industry to invest more in R and D and boost the demand for science and technology graduates and researchers.

Source: Indian Express, Jan 3, 2009