The Editorial Team of AMUCT  (Dr Norbert Lobo-Editor , Dr Denis Fernandes- General Secretary  and Mr Ummappa Poojary – President)  spoke to Prof. T.C. Shivashankara Murthy, Vice Chancellor of Mangalore University. The VC talks about a variety of issues including the various initiatives   and reforms that have been initiated during the last two years. - Editorial Team

 

Prof. T.C. Shivashankara Murthy was born in Talakad of Mysore district and had his early education at Talakad. He obtained M Sc degree in Botany with first class from the University of Mysore. He was awarded National Overseas Scholarship for Studies Abroad in 1980 and obtained Ph.D. degree from University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada. He served  the University of Mysore for 37 years as Lecturer, Reader and Professor of Botany Chairman, Dept. of Botany, Board of Examiners and Board of Studies in Botany. He was the Dean,   Faculty of Science & Technology, Member of the Senate, Syndicate, Academic Council,  Academic and Administrative Audit Committee and Chief of Employment Bureau & Foreign Students Advisor etc. of Mysore University. He has also served as Registrar  (Evaluation) and Acting Vice-Chancellor of University of Mysore from 19.02.2008 to 04.11.2008 A distinguished academician, strict disciplinarian and an efficient administrator, he has been the Chairman and Member of the Peer Teams of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) which assessed several colleges and Universities, and served as Chairman and Member of Selection Committees of various Universities in India. He has been the Advisor, UPSC and served either as a Chairman or a member of several UGC Expert Committees. He has been the Vice-Chancellor of Mangalore University from March 4, 2010.

 

Sir, thank you for speaking to AMUCT Bulletin. At the outset we would like to congratulate you on behalf of AMUCT members for restoring the academiccalendar as per the need of this region and executing several examination and academic reforms under your leadership.

VC: Thank you, the credit must go to the dedicated teaching and non-teaching staff and
also for the cooperation of AMUCT and its members.

You have been in the post for just over two years now. What can you tell us about your experience about the University?

VC: Job as a Vice Chancellor is not new to me. As in-charge VC , Registrar Evaluation and also working in various committees such as Academic Council, Senate, Syndicate at Mysore University I was aware of the responsibilities of VC's post. After assuming the post till date, I never felt any stress or tension in this responsibility. The last two years have been very smooth. I enjoyed my work and stay here. The teachers, students, managements and the public here are very cooperative and understanding.

What is your experience with the College teachers here?

VC: College teachers are here very well behaved and exemplary to others. Here teachers are very cooperative. Teachers Association is upright and dignified. They are always supportive to any progressive change and development. Teachers here do not protest for trivial reasons and they do not go against the rules and regulations. Here I am very comfortable with the teachers and with AMUCT.

Can you tell us the reforms introduced after you assumed the post of VC of Mangalore University.

VC: We now issue computer-generated examination admission tickets. Each such admission ticket contains a photograph of the student with his/her signature, signatures of the Registrar (evaluation) and principal of the college, and the time table of the course for which the student is appearing. We have done away with issuing multiple answer sheets to students. Instead, only one answer book is being issued. The answer books have bar coded stickers which ensure the confidentiality of a student who appeared for an examination. Coding, decoding and recoding are done using bar coded stickers. Form A (on which an evaluator enters marks after valuation) has been replaced with OMR sheets. There are no more ledger books having details of marks of students. They have been replaced with computer-generated ledger sheets. Computerization of entire examination process and restoring the academic calendar of events is another major initiative. Now we have been able to declare results within two to five days after completing the regular evaluation of a course. Revaluation of results is being announced in a month. Earlier, announcing revaluation results used to take eight to 10 months. A central valuation method has been adopted for evaluating answer scripts of postgraduate examinations. Under this, post-graduate teachers cannot take answer scripts home. Both internal and external evaluators have to evaluate them at a designated place in the University. Challenge valuation facility for the PG students is also introduced. The facility to apply online for exams will commence from this year wherein undergraduate and postgraduate students of Mangalore University can log on to the official website http://www.mangaloreuniversity.ac.in to apply for examinations. Colleges will upload internal assessment marks to the university's website from 2012- 13 onwards. This will eliminate the time-consuming task of sending internal assessment marks manually. The university will use common software for online admission and will install it, making it easier for colleges to make admissions online. Introduction of choice based credit system as a pioneering university. We are also the first university in Karnataka to frame the revised regulations for Ph. D. Programmes. The University is building a Pareeksha Bhawan, a building to house different study centres, a humanities block building and a building for commerce and management courses.


What are the key issues before the University?

VC: Reforming the examination process and declaring results in time, revamping the curriculum and syllabus once in three years and adhering to the calendar of events, and improving the infrastructural facilities in the University campus were the main challenges before me.

In terms of challenges faced by Mangalore University, one of the common ones is a lack of good faculty. There are new colleges coming up without the faculty required to back it up. Do you see any solution to this?

VC: Education does not take place only with buildings. Teachers are pivotal in any educational system. There is dearth of quality faculty both in University and colleges. Educational Institutions either suffer from lack of faculty or lack of quality faculty or both. 70 to 80 percent of the colleges under Mangalore University jurisdiction are managed by the private managements. Most of these institutions do not give the same importance to appoint quality teachers that which they give to buildings and other infrastructural facilities. Most of the colleges do not make any earnest attempts to recruit quality teachers. The salary paid to the staff is very low, in some institutions as low as Rs. 3000 to 5000 per month. Quality staff can be recruited only by offering a decent salary. For instance, for a beginner with just PG qualification, it should be at least more than Rs 16000 per month to begin with. The complaint of the managements is that they do not get quality teachers. They do not get quality faculty for the meager salary that they pay. Pay good and decent salary and attract quality staff who have research degrees and experience. Higher education requires both physical and human resources equally.

Do you think the syllabi at present is adequate to match with the present day requirements or are there any plans for upgrading the syllabus?

VC: Yes we have already changed the syllabi of all the PG courses which will be implemented from this academic year. For UG courses we have adopted a policy to revise the syllabus once in three years. I have directed the chairmen of all the BOS of UG Courses to revise the syllabus immediately if they have not done so for the last four years and the process is already begun.

It is the era of globalization. Is Mangalore University planning any collaboration with the foreign universities?

VC: We have already initiated MOU's for research programmes and teacher exchange programmes with some of the foreign universities. For PG and UG courses we are thinking of introducing twinning programmes wherein our students can go abroad and obtain certain credits or foreign students can come here to obtain a few credits. However this requires framing of statutes in this regard that will take some time.


Many of the graduates coming out of the university are unemployable. What initiatives MU has taken in this direction?

VC: The reason for this is that most of our courses are theory oriented. Our students lack hands on experience. At the PG level we have now introduced internships, projects as a part of the curriculum. This has increased the employability of the students and most of these students are already placed in various jobs. We are also thinking of extending this to other programmes.

The interest of the students towards the traditional subjects is lacking, especially courses like History, Sociology, Kannada literature or Botany, Zoology, Statistics etc... Your views?

VC: Unfortunately today the demand is more for applied subjects. However, the parents and the students must realize that without basic subjects, applied subjects cannot grow. The central as well as the state governments have established large number of scholarships to attract students for these courses. Moreover I feel that there is pressing need for career counseling for both parents and students. If a student is strong in basic discipline, he can survive anywhere. No doubt the applied courses like software may provide immediate job, good salary but majority of them worn out at a very young age and loose enthusiasm.

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