Introduction to Higher Education in India – Aristotle remarked “Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in advantage”
Higher educations are the specialized courses which provide an individual appropriate technical skills relating to a particular domain. Some examples include engineering, Medical sciences, graduate and post graduate courses in different social science streams etc. The enrollment of students in higher education in India and the quality of skills provided are in a sorry State.
Significance of Higher Education In India- Educated youth is the backbone and engine of any nation’s growth potential. Well educated youth will increase the quality of human capital of any nation. It has a huge role to play in reaping the real demographic dividend of India as in the modern globalizing economy skilled employees are in demand. Also the journey of India from developing to developed status will depend a lot upon our technological empowerment through enhanced investment in Research & Development and Science projects. This will have to be executed by Skilled and Knowledgeable individuals. Institutes like Indian Institute of Science Bangalore and different Indian Institute of Technology are playing their part in promoting higher education in India but much needs to be done. Also huge technically sound manpower will be required in organisations like Indian Space Research Organization, Defense Research Development Organization, Nuclear Power Corporation of India limited Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and other research centers which can be fulfilled only through sound higher education.
Having excellent higher education facilities in India will induce students from foreign countries to come and study in India bringing with them forexreserves which will reduce our Current Account Deficit. Also Indian students going to foreign universities for quality education will stay in India checking the outflow of money.
The more Indian students are educated the more likely is that many of them are going to take up foreign jobs in developed countries thereby increasing Indian’s soft power in global negotiations. Also the flow of remittance inside India will further increase.
The promotion of higher education in India has the potential to improve both the social and health indicators. This can reduce caste and community bias, improve position of women, reducing infant mortality rate, neonatal mortality rate and maternal mortality rate through more institutional deliveries, better sanitation etc.
Issues and challenges in Higher Education in India – Despite of achieving nearly 100% enrollment in primary education of both boys and girls the secondary education enrollment reduces drastically specially for girls. So until the education targets at primary and secondary level are not achieved it would be difficult to make a different at higher level as development of intellect and skill is a gradual evolving process.
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Also the quality of education at the primary and secondary level is very low as highlighted in ASER (Annual Survey on Education report) where it was found that 5th standard students are not able to solve 3rd standard Math’s problems. Also the absence of separate toilets in schools restricts the enrollment of girls in secondary education. All these factors again restrict the scope of higher education in India.
Government institutes providing higher education in India are very limited in number and grossly in adequate to meet the ever increasing demand. Not everyone can manage to get an admission in IIT’s, IIM’s, and AIIMS etc. Also the recruitment process too many of Govt. higher education schools has come under scanner over instances of paper leak and corruption charges. The reform of Medical council of India is being proposed; the Supreme Court has recently ordered for a combined Medical examination throughout the country for control of Centre and State Govt. Medical colleges.
There has been a proliferation of private engineering and medical colleges all over the country to meet the demand. But most of these institutions have a commercial motive and provide no real skill enhancement. A recent report said that in 2011 more than 205 engineering colleges were operating in Andhra Pradesh. Many of these institutes are not recognized by University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) making their degrees useless. It is said that many colleges are opened to hide the black money of politicians.
The problems of regulation and excessive control of higher education in India have been cropping around for some time now. Private educational institutes have been claiming that there is excessive control of State Universities on them. These state universities are controlled by UGC which restricts the autonomy of the institute. They cannot decide on the fees, educational curriculum, recruitment, internships etc. without consulting the University Grants Commission.
Also the entry of foreign educational institutes in India has not been easy. Foreign institutes in their countries work in an autonomous way and are hesitant to open campuses in India due to over-regulation and FDI issues. Also the foreign educational institutes are worried about their intellectual property rights especially in view of recent Delhi High Court Decision where the non commercial photocopy of books of foreign authors to be used by the Delhi University Students was allowed.
Steps to promote and reform Higher Education in India – First of all, the education at primary and secondary have to be improved and streamlined. Secondly focus has to be on skill based learning and not rote learning. Something of the sort of Open Text Based Assessment (OTBA) has to be implemented in higher education in India. The recommendation of the (ASER) report has to assessed by an independent expert panel and based on its recommendations steps should be taken in a consolidated manner. Special schemes for girl’s education should be promoted with appropriate scholarships. The regulation should be controlled and healthy. Excessive political interference through UGC makes educational attainment the secondary objective. Initiatives like Global initiative of Academic Networks in association with SWAYAM portal should be promoted and encouraged.
Conclusion for Higher Education In India – The problems facing the education sector in India are huge and complex looking at the massive requirement to be fulfilled by meager available resources. But step by step problems can be handled over a course of time with the involvement of all –Governments Institute, students and other stake holders.