Experts converge at KJ Somaiya to discuss quality education

A recently concluded national conference focused on the role of governance, leadership and management to improve the quality of an institution.

Experts and panelists delivered lectures on institutional vision, leadership, strategy development, deployment, faculty empowerment, financial management, resource mobilisation and internal quality assurance systems at a conference organised by the by the Department of Chemistry, KJ Somaiya College of Science and Commerce.

The objective of the conference was to promote quality education through a combination of self and external evaluation, to stimulate the academic environment for promotion of quality teaching- learning and research in higher educational institutions, to encourage self evaluation, accountability and innovations in higher education, to undertake quality research studies and training programmes and to allow academicians to share their knowledge and experience. 

B S Madhukar, director, University of Mumbai Quality Assurance Cell (UMQAC) kick started the first day of the conference by elaborating the need to maintain and uplift the quality of higher education institutes. Due to increasing demands from citizens and the resultant expansion of the sector, higher education in India has been undergoing a transformation for several years now. The last decade witnessed a rapid growth in terms of number of institutions, but in terms of quality of courses offered, infrastructure, staff, teaching, support services etc. it is very difficult to find common ground among different types of institutions. 

The next session by M R Kurup, secretary, Kelkar Education Trust focused on the need for an appropriate strategy for every institute. Ganesh Hegde, assistant advisor, National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) took it forward and explained the role of the NAAC process in the strategy development process. 

The second day of the national level conference began with a lecture by Dinesh Punjwani, principal, National College, on the role of faculty within and without the classroom to enrich wisdom and enhance knowledge management. Usha Mukundan, principal, Ramniranjan Jhunjhunwala College emphasised the need for a congenial relationship between the academic leaders and management. “Your atmosphere in the college and with your colleagues should be harmonious for both academic and personal growth. The minute there is sense of belonging, taking the institute forward becomes much easier,” explained Mukundan adding that a good leader is the one who takes you to a destination that you never thought you'd reach. 

For any institute to run smoothly there needs to be adequate finance and resources. Vishnu N. Magare, principal, Kirti College spoke about the need for this support and the role of three major players in the financial management of educational institutes i.e. the government, private sector and students. “Higher education was supposed to be imparted by the Government, but due to lack of action, institutes solely financed and run by the Government are few,” he explained adding that the government has passed this task on to society resulting into the creation of private institutes, which now play a major role in the education scenario. 


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