Kerala panel proposes faculty recruitment board, law to curb corruption in higher education

Kerala University Reforms: The panel has also proposed raising GER to 75% and increasing higher education budget four-five times.

Kerala panel proposes faculty recruitment board, law to curb corruption in higher education Kerala Higher Education Reforms commission has also proposed a law to curb corruption in faculty recruitment (source: Shutterstock)
Atul Krishna | Aug 29, 2022 - 4:23 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Kerala Higher Education Reforms Commission, the seven-member panel in charge of bringing reforms to higher education, has recommended setting up a new faculty recruitment board to prevent corruption in teacher appointments.The commission has also called for a “comprehensive law” to prevent corrupt practices in higher education.

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Among other recommendations, the commission has also called for larger spending in higher education to achieve a gross enrollment ratio (GER) of 60 percent and 75 percent by 2031 and 2036 respectively. The National Education Policy 2020’s (NEP 2020) target is a more modest 50% by 2035 but that’s for the entire country.

The commission report, made public over the weekend, comes at a time when the Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan has accused the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) of conducting “backdoor appointments” for relatives of the party.

Kerala University Reforms: HEFRB, colleges

The Higher Education Reforms Commission, in its report, said: “We propose a comprehensive law on “Prevention of Corrupt Practices in Higher Education”. We recommend that all faculty appointments in the government-aided institutions be passed over to a Higher Education Faculty Recruitment Board (HEFRB). The HEFRB must also periodically conduct an eligibility test and publish a list of eligible candidates, only from which appointments may be made into private unaided institutions.``

The commission also suggests that the top 20 government colleges in the state should be categorised as “constituent colleges” and be given more autonomy including to recruit their own teachers. These constituent Kerala colleges will also have freedom to decide on their own courses and will avail special development grants from the government.

“As an important first step, we propose the elevation of top 20 government colleges in the state as constituent colleges. These colleges will not only have autonomy, but also will receive specific development grants from the Government, have a closer link with university departments, have freedom to offer their own courses, and have freedom to recruit their own faculty as per needs,” the commission report says.

Kerala Higher Education: Quadruple funds

The commission also proposed to achieve a gross enrollment ratio (GER) in higher education to 60 percent by 2031 and 75 percent by 2036. It also noted that a “major step up of public investment” is needed to meet these targets.

For this, the commission calls for the government expenditure on higher education to be increased to anywhere between Rs 15,629 crores to Rs 20,245 crores in 2031-32 to achieve a GER of 60 percent by 2031. The commission also calls for the government to spend between Rs 22,953 crores to Rs 32,771 crores in 2036-37 to achieve a GER of 75 percent by 2036. Kerala spent Rs 5,731 crore in 2019-20, the report says, implying an increase of four to five times is in order. To put this in perspective, the share of the higher education department in the Union Budget 2022-23 was Rs 40,828.35 crore.

The Kerala Higher Education Reforms Commission consists of three commissions, one on exam reforms, one on university law reforms and another one on overall reforms in higher education. The commission was set up by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan back in September 2021.

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