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Scenario of Indian Higher Education - Dr.Hari Krishna Maram, Chairman & Founder CEO - Imperial College.

January 07, 2019

The richest person in China Mr.Jack Ma says, “Please tell your children that the world is changing every day and no one is going to wait for you in the past.  

 

An education system that values creativity is one that makes a deliberate effort to spark thoughtfulness and independent thinking, teaches students how to learn, instils a lifelong love of learning, pushes students to find their own interpretations, and guides the development of a strong moral compass. Creativity in education has to do with a constructivist approach to education, where learning is an active, contextualized process of knowledge construction that builds on prior knowledge, social interaction and authentic tasks, rather than the passive receiving of information.

 

Facts About Indian Higher Education

 

The Indian subcontinent has emerged to be a global magnet for aspiring learners and a role model for high-quality affordable educational systems.

 

  • Indian Higher Education Institutions are governed by the highest standards of ethics and accountability, with every single one of them being peer-reviewed and accredited 
  • India is among the top 5 countries globally in cited research output, its research capabilities boosted by annual Research and Development spend totalling over US$140 billion
  • India is in the fourth cycle of its research excellence framework, with at least a 100 of Indian universities competing with the global best
  • India is the single largest provider of global talent, with one in four graduates in the world being a product of the Indian system
  • In the last 20 years alone, 6 Indian Intellectuals have been awarded the Nobel Prize across categories
  • India is a regional hub for higher education, attracting global learners from all over the world
  • The country has augmented its GER to 50% while also reducing disparity in GER across states to 5 percentage points
  • The Indian Higher Education system is needs-blind, with all eligible students receiving financial aid. Two-thirds of all government spending towards higher education is spent on individuals, including faculty and students
  • India’s massive open online courses, started by several elite research universities, collectively enrol 60% of the world’s entire student population

 

The countries which achieved socio-economic development are those countries that achieved economic prosperity only through academic excellence.  The economically developed nations include USA, UK, Canada, Australia and other European countries whose formal education system is more than one thousand years old.  Education plays a significant role in capability enhancement as it minimizes problems involving unemployment of the people.  Most of the leaders expressed over time and again his displeasure over the dismal performance of higher education delivery system when he sees that none of the Universities of India is in top 200 in the world ranking of Universities.  Everybody blessed with wisdom shall accept that manpower equipped with knowledge is capable of bringing about socio-economic development of a nation.  India is a vast landmass and abode of 125 crores of people attributed with Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of just 19% which is far below the level of GER of the economically developed countries including neighbouring China.

 

Presently, there is 870 Degree awarding institutions which include 46 Central Universities, 440 State Universities, 130 Deemed Universities, 230 private universities and about 50 Institutions of National Importance besides about 42,000 Degree Colleges in the country.  The seed of Higher Education of India was sowed when the University of Calcutta, University of Bombay and University of Madras came into existence in 1857.  In the country, the number of 30 Universities and 695 Colleges in 1950 has grown up to 750 Universities and other institutions of higher education as of now.  The present teacher-student ratio is 1:20.  

 

The Colleges and Universities including IITs and NITs are suffering from acute shortages of qualifies teachers.  Out of 22,80,000 students enrolled for higher education, 86% end up with Bachelor Degree, 12% acquires Master   Degree and 1% with Certificates/Diplomas and 1% only acquire PhD Degree and this trend is definitely not a healthy sign for a country like India who aspires to be one of the super economic powers across the globe in the forth-coming days.  To call a spade, the higher education delivery system is in a dismal state and it fails to attract the learners since the current education system is found to churn out only unemployable graduates.  Whatever education is offered appears to be purposeless and directionless.  Teaching and research are the twin tasks of education delivery system and both are not given due priority by the twin tasks of education delivery system and both are not given due priority by the planners and policymakers.  

 

The Universities and Institutes of higher learning are devoid of basic infrastructure, connectivity, transportation, communication and other necessary facilities.  It is worth noting that the names of Universities are announced first without giving adequate thoughts and attention to the provisions of infrastructural and other incidental issues.  

 

There is a poor quality of governance since the people remaining responsible for formulating policies and strategies are far from the ground realities.  The regulatory bodies of higher education in the country are heavily repressive instead of being supportive.  The Universities and Institutions of higher learning are controlled by UGC in particular and government in general.  It is a transparent truth that creation of the post, fixation of pay, designing syllabi and curricula, allocation of fund etc. are regulated by bureaucratic action.  Teachers and scientists are appointed on the basis of favouritism, politics and nepotism and merit are kept aside when merit should be the sole criterion for selection and appointment of the teachers.  Academic Performance Indicators (API) is not a foolproof mechanism for quality control.  It hardly serves any purpose.  Teachers are getting their third graded papers published in the paid journals in order to earn and comply with API requirements.  It is imperative to accept that research and teaching are complementary to each other.  Quality of teaching depends upon the quality of scholarship of the teachers and on-going research.  

 

The policy makers hardly keep in view that a University to become a good University must be able to support the learning process and research activities.  Research is the instrument for the creation of knowledge.  The Universities are hardly in a position to subscribe to the renowned journals, enrich libraries with a good collection of books and journals and laboratories are not well equipped for conducting an investigation.  Comparatively, there is little encouragement for undertaking research in Social Sciences, Commerce and Management from Government and other project funding agencies.  

 

A University needs all-around support consisting of infrastructure, qualifies teachers, and library and research activities.  Our policymakers speak about many things about the promotion of world-class Universities but there is a considerable degree of gap between thoughts and actions.  Presently, higher education delivery system is directionless and is twisting hither and thither with every change of direction of the wind and in nutshell, it is nothing but the rudderless ship, Universities shall be able to discharge the social responsibilities if they are strategized to achieve their goals keeping in view the purpose for which they are created.

 

Oxford, Cambridge, MIT and Harvard are not built overnight but by honest and sincere efforts of the meritorious academicians who are completely independent of bureaucratic influence and because they enjoy academic freedom.  World-class Universities cannot create without the support of sustained research.  Moreover, University education needs to be linked with the requirement of the industries.  A balance needs to be maintained between basic research and applied research.  Research means progress, research means socio-economic development and setting up both short term and long term planning and periodic review of the same after due study.

 

 

- Dr.Hari Krishna Maram

Chairman & Founder CEO - Imperial College &

Digital Brand Ambassador Vision Digital India 

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