Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Maintaining the State’s place as a higher education hub

Maintaining the State’s place as a higher education hub

M. Veerappa Moily



To mark Suvarna Karnataka, The Hindu will run a series of articles, beginning with this one, on different facets of the State’s economic, educational and developmental experience over the past 50 years, to culminate on November 1, the State formation day. We will have articles by experts and committed individuals who have been major forces in shaping policy and moulding opinion.


Bangalore: Till the mid-1950s, the demand for professional education in the State was met by colleges established by the Government. Gradually, the clamour for professional education grew in intensity.

Social awakening and the spread of literacy made people realise that professional education led to social and material advancement. The demand for seats in professional colleges grew by leaps and bounds. Before long it became plain to everyone concerned that the State, with limited resources available for expenditure on professional education, could not fulfil the spiralling demand.

In this background private initiatives came in handy to extend professional education to those who wanted it. The pioneering effort in implementing this self-financing concept was made in Manipal in 1953. Many others followed and a large number of such colleges came to be established in the State in the late 1960s and 1980s.

A uniform feature of these private colleges is their reliance on contributions from parents of students, and the public, for the establishment and maintenance of the colleges. The fees collected by these colleges are invariably high.

Ideal policy

An ideal policy for admission of students to professional colleges should ensure selection of the best and the highest quality of education in the institutions to which they are admitted. Only the attainment of these twin objectives can ensure that the very best professionals walk out of the portals of our professional institutions. This absolute principle may, of course, have room for a reasonable amount of dilution dictated by the demand for social justice. So categorisation based on social backwardness can be justified within constitutional limits.

Professional workforce

The prosperity of a nation largely depends on the talent and expertise possessed by its professional workforce. There is no frontline nation in the world that does not have a highly efficient and dynamic army of dedicated professionals. Our country today needs the ultimate professional skills to nudge it into the top league and enhance the welfare of the people.

Professional education, therefore, deserves the highest priority of the Government. It should fully tap the abundant talent to produce highly skilled engineers, doctors and technocrats.

Karnataka was the pioneer in ensuring transparency, equality, fair play, social justice and excellence in admissions to professional colleges by introducing the Common Entrance Test in 1993. This pioneering effort was jeopardised by the Supreme Court judgment of 2002 in the T.MA. Pai case. The State Government will have to come out with a strategy to ensure that Karnataka does not lose its reputation as the hub of higher education in the wake of the judgment.

Manpower quality

The State can be the hub of higher education in not only engineering and medicine but also other fields like management. Bangalore is known as India’s Silicon Valley because of the quality of manpower available in abundance. That pool of talent has to be constantly revitalised and replenished.

(Mr. Moily is a former Chief Minister of the State and Chairman, 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission, Government of India.)


October 25, 2006 - Posted by | Bangalore, Karnataka and Kannada, Nanjundappa Report

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