"We can be reasonably proud of the achievements of the alumni of our premier institutes of higher education. They have done exceptionally well in a diverse range of areas all over the world," the prime minister said at the diamond jubilee celebrations of the University Grants Commission (UGC) here.
Raising the issue of shortage of faculty in institutes of higher education, the prime minister said: "This problem is likely to become even more acute with the expansion (in higher education) that is planned in the coming years."
"I would urge the UGC and other stakeholders in the higher education system to urgently consider the issues of quality and shortage of faculty and find innovative methods of resolving them," he said.
Manmohan Singh said the process of change (in higher education) has accelerated particularly in the past 10 years, which have been marked by an unprecedented expansion of facilities.
He said the rapid changes of recent years have also meant greater challenges for the UGC.
"As the principal regulator of higher education, the UGC has done very well so far. However, the tasks that lie ahead require fresh thinking and innovative ways of doing things. I am sure the commission will utilize the occasion of its diamond jubilee to reflect on how it should evolve in the future to be able to do full justice to its onerous responsibilities," the prime minister, a former UGC chairperson himself, said.
He suggested that the UGC plays the role of a national 'think-tank' and organizes professional and purposeful discourse about issues that have a close bearing on the sound management of higher education system in the country.
Manmohan Singh said: "Our university system needs to put much more emphasis on research and more specifically on enhancing the number and quality of the doctoral programmes".
--IANS (Posted on 28-12-2013)