Varsities are low in research output, says Comptroller and Auditor General report
Though the number of students enrolling in higher education and their pass percentage are high, the quality of education offered is probably not good, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report tabled in the Assembly.
An audit of University of Madras, Bharathidasan University in Tiruchi, Alagappa University in Karaikudi, and Mother Teresa Women’s University in Kodaikanal assessed the performance of the institutions, pass percentage of students from affiliated colleges, and the universities’ research output.
The audit found that though pass percentage was high, a huge number of students had sought revaluation of answer scripts and subsequent “generous marking” cast doubt on the efficiency of answer sheet evaluation system. The moderation exercise and award of grace marks lacked transparency.
The report found that placement of the candidates from the arts and science colleges was very low. Also, the poor performance of students in self-financing affiliated colleges indicated the lack of faculty in these institutions.
Mismanagement of funds at the University of Madras had led to the institution diverting funds meant for research and development activities to pay salaries and non-plan expenditures. As a result, the university was deep in financial crisis.
The specific area compliance audit conducted from September 2019 to February 2020 covering academic years 2014-15 to 2018-19, examined access, equity, quality and governance of higher education. The State performed well in student enrollment, pass percentage, access and affordability. However, the “abnormal delays in recruitment of regular teaching staff resulted in engagement of large number of guest faculty for government colleges”.
Audit, however, found issues mainly with student-faculty ratio in colleges, valuation of answer papers, poor research output, regional disparity in access and ineffective functioning of governance structures.
The State Academic Audit and Accreditation Council had not functioned since its establishment in 2010, the audit found.
Only a handful of university departments were active in research. Majority had poor or nil research output.