Doing what we can to enhance Panjab University’s annual grant: UGC chairperson - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Doing what we can to enhance Panjab University’s annual grant: UGC chairperson

By, Chandigarh
Nov 24, 2023 09:36 AM IST

He was speaking on the sidelines of the second day of the North Zone Vice-Chancellor’s Conference, being organised by Panjab University to deliberate on the National Education Policy

University Grants Commission (UGC) chairperson Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar on Thursday said the commission was doing all it can to enhance the annual grant paid to Panjab University (PU) to help it tide over its financial crisis.

University Grants Commission chairperson Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar said they fully supported PU and will get whatever extra funds they can from the Centre. (HT Photo)
University Grants Commission chairperson Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar said they fully supported PU and will get whatever extra funds they can from the Centre. (HT Photo)

He was speaking on the sidelines of the second day of the North Zone Vice-Chancellor’s Conference, being organised by PU to deliberate on the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020.

Hindustan Times - your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

Kumar was asked about why the UGC grant had not been revised after the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission, even after the Union education ministry’s letter last month to review PU’s request for grant enhancement.

On this, Kumar said, “PU is a unique university in the way that it gets funding from both the state and the Centre. PU is a top university for research and we are engaged in dialogue with the Union education ministry regarding the grant issue. We fully support PU in this and we will get whatever extra funds we can from the Centre.”

Salary bill: PU facing 53-crore shortfall for 2023-24

With an annual increment of 6%, the UGC grant for the 2023-24 session is 294.8 crore. However, the varsity’s salary liability for teaching staff after implementing UGC’s 7th Pay Commission recommendations stands at 348.3 crore — leading to a 53-crore deficit.

Besides, PU is also staring at a liability of 266.5 crore to disburse arrears since 2016 as per the revised pay scales.

After multiple letters from the varsity for a hike in the annual grant and a one-time grant for arrears, the education ministry on June 15 this year had informed PU that there was no possibility of further increase in salary grant and forwarded PU’s request to the Punjab government.

But after more requests from PU and the Punjab government, now UGC has been asked to review the varsity’s financial position, examine grant enhancement and submit a report in this regard to the ministry.

‘UGC against centralisation of universities’

On centralisation of universities, Kumar said UGC was against this and wanted universities to be self-sufficient: “UGC doesn’t want to meddle and micromanage universities. Light but tight regulations will be put in place as envisioned under NEP.”

He also spoke on importance of NEP: “An engineer must know about social sciences to better understand the demographic of the people they’re trying to help. Those studying arts should have the option to also study artificial intelligence. This is what the NEP plans, giving students the flexibility to improve.”

He added that universities should also focus on recruitment of teachers: “In some state universities, up to 80% faculty posts are vacant. These must be filled up, but with regular teachers and not ad-hoc teachers.”

‘NEP focus on regional languages’

While speaking about the hue and cry earlier this year over Punjabi possibly not being a compulsory subject under NEP at PU, Kumar said UGC had formed an apex committee to make textbooks in all languages, including Punjabi. “We are currently talking to various colleges and universities in Punjab, and identifying experts to translate all books available into Punjabi. These will also be available for students to download on the e-Kumbh portal.”

He added that along with national history, regional history was also important. As such, under NEP it was envisioned that students in southern states should also read about the Sikh Gurus’ sacrifices, while students in the north should also be exposed to their historical and cultural writings.

Kumar added that the current eco-system in education was such that those unable to speak English properly felt inferior to those who can. “This is wrong. We should encourage all regional languages. The Top 10 countries with the highest number of Nobel prizes impart education in their mother tongue. It is scientifically proven that children studying in their mother tongue in elementary school learn English better later in life and it also enhances their creativity.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, March 01, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On