Published: 11th October 2018
University annual budgets announce new Study Chairs but they disappear soon after
One of the major concerns expressed by the committee in its report is that the study chairs or centres are not serving the purpose
At every annual budget, the state government announces either a 'study chair' or a 'study centre' at state universities and sets aside some funds for it. Unfortunately, a majority of the varsities that have these study centres and chairs don't care to maintain accounts of the expenditures of these funds.
These centres are set up in the names of historical people such as Mahatma and Ambedkar. For instance, if a centre is named after Gandhi, students enrolled in these centres will learn about Gandhian principles and at the end of the course will receive a diploma certificate.
This was revealed by the university review committee headed by former Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University Prof N R Shetty. The panel was constituted by Karnataka State Council for Higher Education (KSHEC) to look into the functioning of various study centres or chairs set up at state-run universities. After a detailed study, the committee submitted the report, which was placed before the recent governing council meeting of KSHEC chaired by State Higher Education Minister G T Devegowda.
One of the major concerns expressed by the committee in its report is that the study chairs or centres are not serving the purpose. "Most of the study chairs or centres are set up in the name of a historical person. For eg, the highest number of chairs are in the names of Gandhi and Ambedkar. There are proposals to set up more chairs in the names of Basava and Buddha. What we observed during our study was that most of these chairs were not working for the purpose they were set up for," one of the committee members said.
A copy of the report, which is available with The New Indian Express, states that of the 16 state-run universities which have study centres, only Mangalore University has maintained the accounts. Interestingly, there are universities that have at least 10 study centres, but have failed to keep tab on the expenses.
The report states that Karnataka University in Dharwad and Mangalore University in Mangalore have the highest number of study centres or chairs which comes to 15. These are followed by Hampi Kannada University, Tumkur University and Gulbarga University with 10 each.
As a solution, the committee asked the government to conduct an audit of these study centres and chairs. It even suggested appointing a standing committee to monitor the functioning of these centres.
What the report states that most universities don't have information about the banks in which the account of the study chair is opened, there are no details about the utilisation of funds and there should be a ban on study chairs