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Javadekar Pushes Economic Institutes For Socially Relevant Research

Pune: “Why are students stuck with foreign ideas and prefer to work on videshi (foreign) case studies when the entire country is going through a tremendous experiment?” — Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar emphatically posed this question to the students during the 24th convocation ceremony at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics in Shivaji Nagar here.

The minister was delivering the annual Kale Memorial Lecture and said that the economists are also social scientists who need to analyse how society thinks, perceives and makes choices. He also appreciated the locally relevant research projects being done by the students and faculty at GIPER.

“Unfortunately, many of our study centres are not doing relevant research. How many experiments are happening in our country and how many centres are studying it? During the demonetisation, I called the IIMs and told them that such a tremendous decision has been taken to withdraw 86 per cent of the country’s currency… The entire nation is in queue, it’s a great opportunity for study. But one IIM said it would take them three months to design the study and I replied that by then, it will be done. For three months, what will you design? It’s a project on hand, go out and study how people got knowledge of it, how they perceived it, how they adjusted to the situation and their thinking post-demonetisation, whether it was beneficial or not. This is a socially relevant study,” said Javadekar. “I think institutes of economics must do relevant research because that is the need of the hour. The small and big changes in the society must be considered and studied by students, academicians and researchers in the country.”

Highlighting the developments made by his ministry and the Centre, Javadekar apprised the audience about the initiatives like changes in regulatory mechanisms. He also brought forward the Union government belief that regulators should not create problems for institutes. Three major regulators – the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), University Grants Commission (UGC) and National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) — would have similar rules and processes to bring in efficiency, he said.

As a part of key reforms, he also spoke about the graded regulatory mechanism in the UGC for greater transparency, freedom and autonomy to institutions.

The minister also told students that the UGC would now put up an ideal syllabus for all courses online every year. “Often we see institutions using the same outdated syllabus and hence now the UGC will put up syllabus every year. If the institutions want it, they can simply copy it,” said Javadekar.

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