New Delhi: Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday said that educational system in the country would thrive only if the trend of Vice Chancellors being appointed by political establishments is discouraged.

Addressing a Vice Chancellors conference here, Sibal said he suspected that the academia in India has been "wallowing in the past" and asked them to come out of that to create a future for the students.

He said, "Vice Chancellors are appointed at the instance of political establishment. This must end. If we really want our system to thrive, then academic world should be left free to its own devices in the hope that you create a future for the country."

The HRD Minister, who has been pushing for reforms in the Higher Education sector, batted for transparency and accountability in the system where students should also be allowed to assess teachers.

Making a critical analysis of the present higher education system, he said vice chancellors have the onerous responsibility of nurturing the students and building "societal leadership.

Stressing for a fundamental shift in the higher education set up, Sibal envisioned an atmosphere that allows greater student mobility and an academic world that has the
freedom to chart its own future.

Sam Pitroda, advisor to Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovation, stressed that the Government must "act now" in carrying forward the reforms process in the higher education sector "as there has been no progress in this regard since the last five years".

Pitroda raised doubts over the efficacy of conducting the proposed higher education survey, apparently indicating that such a move would further delay reforms in higher education.
The survey proposes creating a database to suitably plan for the growth and development of the sector.

Pitroda distributed questionnaires to vice chancellors for their views and observations about the sector, utilising the presence of large number of VCs at the function and their knowledge.

He said the system should be flexible enough "in allowing a technician be a mathematician."

The vice chancellors conference, being held after three years, would seek to identify development issues, challenges and reform agenda in higher education for the 12th Five Year Plan Period.