Kerala University has been selected for the newly introduced Chancellor’s Award for the best University in the state for the academic year 2014-15. The award, instituted by Governor Justice P. Sathasivam, who is also the Chancellor of Universities, carries a prize money of Rs 5 crore, a citation and a Gold Plated Rolling Trophy. Justice P Sathasivam, who has a special interest in education, instituted the award, in his own personal initiative to encourage quality and high standards in higher education in the State. Kerala University is led by P K Radhakrishnan, a Professor of Chemistry as Vice-Chancellor.
The award selection was carried out by a 5-member committee including Dr K M Abraham, Additional Chief Secretary, Higher Education department as Chairman, Dr Suresh Das, Executive Director, Kerala State Council of Science and Technology and Environment, Thiruvananthapuram and Prof Kulbhushan Balooni, Director IIM-Kozhikode.
The Vice Chancellors conference held in October last year at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) had decided to institute ‘Chancellor’s award 2014-15 to the best University to nurture the spirit of healthy competition among the universities in the state for achieving better quality and excellence in higher education and research so as to make the Universities vibrant centers of learning.
Eleven out of 13 universities had submitted applications for consideration of the award. The two varsities which did not participate were Kerala Kalamandalam deemed university for Art and Culture and the newly formed Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technological university.
The selection committee had visited the 11 universities, held discussions with the concerned varsity officials and verified their records on various academic, research and other achievements claimed in their application forms with respect to the original documents and data produced before the committee.
The primary points were given on the basis of five criteria which included Academics, Teaching and Pedagogy Methods, Student Profiles and Achievements, Academic Governance and other achievements.
After that, the Committee interacted with all the 11 VCs. The Vice chancellors were also given opportunity to give a presentation on the achievements of the universities they head.
The names of 3 universities – 78 year-old Kerala University, 44-year-old CUSAT and four-year-old Kerala Veterinary and Animal sciences University have found a place in the final list, after the final session of the Selection Committee headed by Dr K M Abraham on November 25. Kannur, Mahatma Gandhi, Kerala Agricultural University, Fisheries and Malayalam Universities were screened out after the first round.
Kerala scored well in exam reforms, NAAC ‘A’ grade and timely declaration of results, while CUSAT topped in alumni achievement. The strong points of KVASU included extensive publications, strong entrepreneurship programme, student entrepreneurship, exam reforms and academic integrity. The KVASU based in Wayanad under the Vice Chancellorship of Dr. B Ashok, a Bio-technologist turned civil servant.stunned the time-tested Universities. CUSATt headed by Dr. J Letha, a technocrat and Professor of Engineering as VC has also made much inroads to the selection arena.
The whole selection process was done under the overall scrutiny of the Governor. Leaving the final decision to the Governor, the majority opinion of the committee which was in favour of Kerala University was given to the Governor. The final verdict conferring the prestigious award on Kerala University was announced by him on Saturday morning.
The award money can be utilized for capital expenditure for any major project in the university. The state government had set apart Rs 5 crore in the budget for the prize money, The award ceremony will be conducted shortly.