Administrative manual in the offing for varsities

Kerala


An academic administration manual and a financial code are in the offing for State universities that have for long followed the Kerala Secretariat Office Manual as an administrative guide.

Universities will soon supplant the Kerala Service Rules with the Higher Education Rules as part of the government’s efforts to usher in a wave of automation to modernise the sector.

Such reforms that are key in the ongoing steps to adopt an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system are viewed as part of a strategic plan to future-proof universities to withstand an onslaught of private and deemed universities.

The comprehensive overhaul of university administration has been mooted by the three commissions formed by the government to recommend reforms in the State’s higher education sector.

The ERP system, which is essentially a business process management software that could manage and integrate universities’ finances, supply chain, operations and human resource activities, is seen as a vital cog in building an effective e-governance system for automation. The platform is expected to ease various activities, including those related to examination, admissions, asset management, fee collection and salary disbursal, and purchases.

The government has already initiated discussions with the universities on integrating the management system in their day-to-day functioning.

Informed sources pointed out that the major revamp would require significant changes to the legal framework that govern universities. Besides facilitating the reforms, the proposed manual and financial code are aimed at freeing universities from the clutches of the conventional administrative system by simplifying file movement.

A source pointed out the existing rules posed hindrances in tapping research grants that would have to be subjected to local fund audit. The proposed rules would enable institutions to seek research funds that could be audited by external agencies in a manner proposed by the funders. The prevailing norms have also created difficulties in procuring high-end equipment necessary for research in emerging areas.

While several reputed institutions, including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), function on the basis of administrative manuals, its absence is being considered to have stagnated academic pursuits of public universities in the State. Modelled on the lines of Kerala Education Rules (KER), the proposed Higher Education Rules are also expected to enhance academic freedom.



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