The State Department of Higher Education of Karnataka has decided to put a check on the Chairs or Peethas that are constituted in the State universities of Karnataka. The constitution of Chairs is done for carrying out research and studies on various subjects and creating awareness about topics.
However, over the last few years, Chairs are not functioning as per their mandates. The government now wants these Chairs to stop giving holidays on Jayanthis, publish textbooks, and popularise all the topics they are working on.
A senior official from a University of Karnataka took Bangalore University as an example and said that it has seven chairs like Kempegowda Chair, Sarvapalli Chair, ISRO Chair, Visvesvaraya Chair etc. He said that these chairs are a committee that is financially-aided. Lakhs (sometimes crores) of rupees are provided to a chair and the varsity appoints a faculty member for conducting research. Along with the research, they also cover some academic activities and workshops in order to popularise the subject that they are working on.
For example, the Kempegowda Chair will be conducting studies on the contributions and life of Kempegowda and then submitting a report. The funding of some of these chairs is done by the government while the rest are funded by different organisations. Bangalore University’s ISRO Chair takes up projects that address and promote Space Technology and its streams to the students, universities, and schools. A member of the ISRO Chair said that they stand as a bridge between the general public and ISRO and propagate the mission and vision of ISRO.
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The officials said that in some universities, certain Chairs do not give the expected results at times. For this, the Karnataka State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) constituted a committee last year in order to study the “Functioning of Peethas/ Chairs instituted in several State Universities”. This was said to be a good move made by the Council.