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Father K. M. Jose SDB, urged the participants to take the Higher Education Ministry to the poor and needy and make it more relevant according to the signs of times. Rev. Dr. Xavier Alphonse SJ, former member of UGC gave a special address on “Higher Education Journey Towards 2025”. He stressed on Discernment, Collaboration and Network and urged the members to take calculated risks in new institutes. Quoting Father Bernard De Samy’s article in New Leader, he dwelt on Expansion Inclusion and Excellence in Higher Education.
The speaker then focused on the challenges of higher education like, lower level of teaching, financing of higher education, traditional way of teaching, privatization, inadequate facilities, interference of political parties degrading moral values etc. He also focused on the proposed “Higher Education Empowerment Regulatory Authority” (HEERA) and the New Education Policy.
Rev. Dr. Xavier Alphonse SJ, also asked the Salesians to explore the possibilities of starting a Rural University at Tirupattur. Father also spoke about five trends that would eventually evolve in the future in the field of Higher Education. The 5 trends are:
1. Online Learning
2. Artificial Intelligence
3. Research Based Teaching
4. Loss of Value of Traditional Degree
5. Personalization, Customization and Contextualization
The second session was shared by Rev. Dr. Maria Soosai SDB, Delegate for Higher Education South Asia and Rev. Dr. Thaddeus SDB, Delegate for Higher Education, Chennai Province. Rev. Dr. Maria Soosai SDB spoke about provincial level interventions and collaborations and gave a clear picture of Higher Education is South Asia. Rev. Dr. Thaddeus SDB, in his address, highlighted nine focal areas of Higher Education.
Later, Rev. Dr. Maria Antony Raj SDB, Head, Higher Education Commission chaired the session on “Institutional Sharing”. Members from all the 12 institutions came forward to share their strengths and challenges.Following this, Rev. Dr. Thaddeus SDB brought out various challenges and issues that have to be addressed as Higher Education body.
The Directory for Higher Educations is the policy document for all HEIs irrespective of the category of DBHEI. The Directory shall be updated by Father Thaddeus with the help of Father Antonyraj and the draft version is to be sent to all HEIs for further review, update and implementation.
Operation manuals for each category of DBHEIs such as human resource, finance, facilities, academics, student services, pastoral project etc., shall be developed and applied by each category of DBHEI. To begin with HR Manual shall be finalized for Arts and Science Colleges and the sample shall be given to the other categories of DBHEIs.
A formation plan for Faith formation among students has to be drawn up. The Salesian University Ministry document dated January 2017 can form the base for this Campus Ministry manual. Father Antonyraj has been requested to develop this manual.
A Help Desk can be set up for all DBHEIs to attend to the legal and statutory requirements such as AISHE, UGC (2f, 12B), minority certification, NAAC etc. One of the retired administrative staff for college services could be appointed as a consultant. The experience and expertise of Sacred Heart College could be shared with the consultant to provide service to all DBHEIs.
An Institution Project should be developed by all DBHEIs in two phases of three years each for the period 2017-2023. This shall address the priorities of the province as key aspects. Professional consultancy shall be obtained from experts like Dr. Henry Rosario who conducts workshops on strategic planning. A one-day workshop shall be arranged for representatives from every institute (including lay leaders) in the month of November 2017.
The Institution Project defines the vision and mission, its identity as a Catholic and Salesian institution and its educative and pastoral purpose. To develop the Institutional Project, every DBHEI must have:
-A strategic and tactical plan, which helps in the progressive, global, orderly, and systematic realization, of the institutional project over a defined period of time (several years); defines the goals and objectives which should be attained progressively, the selected strategies, and lines of action; foresees the necessary human and financial resources, the timelines for each line of action, and the manner of monitoring and evaluation.
-A plan of action, which helps in the progressive implementation of the strategic and tactical plan annually; establishes the general and specific objectives to be attained, each of the operations (the sequence of the activity which comprise each operation, the time and duration of each) that are needed to achieve the objectives, the way these actions are to be carried out, the human resources needed and the persons responsible, the financial budget and the availability or secure sourcing of these funds.
For the constant improvement of the institution, every DBHEI must use the following two procedures:
-The institutional evaluation, which consists of a periodical, objective, and methodical analysis of the unfolding of the projects and plans, with special emphasis on the processes, attempts, and results, using data and hypotheses in reference to previously defined criteria
-Accreditation which is the public recognition of the institution according to standards of quality determined by an external body of national and/or international prestige; thus academic excellence is sought by insuring the levels of quality