Thursday, November 30, 2006

Reforming higher education

We have covered in detail on earlier occasion about this topic. Read it here.

We will see a couple of more perspectives on this issue again.

It is estimated that a 50% increase in the number of seats in our higher education institutions would entail an expenditure of about Rs. 25,000 cr.

The share of total plan funds has fallen steadily from 1.24% in the 4th Five Year Plan to about 0.35% in the 8th Five Year Plan.

Today ET has surprisingly suggested that the foreign universities should be left relatively less regulated!!! I can’t disagree with them more. They cited that Singapore does not even have a system of accreditation of overseas universities. And that it leaves it to the employer to decide whether a degree holder meets the qualification most relevant to his needs.

One cannot always compare a small city state’s systems with that of a huge country like ours. Even if at some later stage something is found to be very wrong; bringing in the required regulations and implementing them in a small country like Singapore, will not be fraught with the kind of tortuous courses that usually obtain in a huge country like ours.

There are usually some concerns like quality that need to be addressed. We cannot allow fly-by-night operators to make hay in the name of liberalization of higher education. The Committee constituted by the HRD ministry has done well in recommending that only institutions with about 3 to 4 decades history be allowed in. Some body like the AICTE should look into the accreditation of the foreign universities willing to set up shop in India.

Besides, we have some other sensitive issues like the exorbitant fees charged by them, the issue of reservations etc., to grapple with. The fees to be charged by them may be ‘market determined’ within the context of the Indian market, rather than some distant foreign market.

Similarly clear guidelines have to be in place to enable them to live with the kind of affirmative action approaches that we have in place here. Perhaps something like the one being followed in JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi) may be made applicable to them uniformly.

1 Comment:

Ramakrishna said...

Even though only 10% of the eligible age group gets a college education in India, in numerical terms this is a sizeable number – 7.23 mln.