India has the third-largest educational system in the world after the United States of America and China. Higher education in India has been playing a pivotal role not only for the social and political development but also for the economic development of the country. Leading higher educational institutions help in creating information-based society. The Leading Institutes for Excellence in Education are the prestigious institutions as they are essential in developing a nation’s competitiveness in the global knowledge economy. These institutions, at the pinnacle of higher education hierarchy, play an important role in disseminating knowledge, educating the skilled workforce for technological and intellectual leadership. In the highly versatile economy which depends upon educated and skilled workers, excellence has become a buzzword in common parlance. Be it the field of sports, arts, cooking, music or education, excellence has become the ultimate aim. Today, academic institutions in different parts of the world are aiming for academic excellence so that they may lead others in the field of education, research and knowledge. The question of excellence is pertinent with respect to excellence in education in India too, because the way we define excellence in education dictates the way we achieve it. The present structure of the education system in India does students a tremendous injustice by not delivering the quality education we are capable of. Outdated and rigid curricula, rote learning method, lack of research and analytical thinking, and a crunch of faculty and resources are making the Indian Higher Education System lag behind. The changing nature of work, technology and competition in the global job market has necessitated an urgent need for Indian education system to ensure that quality remains core to the way we deliver excellence in education. This is an imperative to keep pace with the global need. Some institutions such as the IIMs and IITs have been globally acclaimed for their standard of education. The IITs enrol more than 9,000 students annually and the alumni have contributed to the growth of both the private sector and the public sector of India. However, India has failed to produce world-class universities like Harvard and Cambridge. In fact, no Indian university has place among the top 200 universities of the world as per Times Higher Education Rankings 2015-16.

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Some institutions such as the
IIMs and IITs have been globally
acclaimed for their standard of
education. The IITs enrol more than
9,000 students annually and the
alumni have contributed to the
growth of both the private sector
and the public sector of India.


The private sector has played an important role in the growth of the higher education ii India, especially in professional disciplines. Today, private institutions have helped in making doctors, engineers, managers and other professionals side by side with the government-funded institutions.


 

 

It is in this regard that the benchmark set in terms of quality and delivery of education imparted by IITs and the IIMs and many privately funded institutions becomes important. Some of the noteworthy institutions are as follows:

The Higher Education sector in India has witnessed a tremendous rise in the recent times. This was made possible mainly due to the large number of private institutions of higher education set up by the private sector. According to a report by FICCI&EY, more than 60 % of higher education institutions in India are private institutions in which nearly 60% of the total number of students is enrolled. The increasing number of students enrolled in these institutes indicates that the proliferation of vocational institutions, along with commercialisation of education system, is here to stay. However, this growth has often been accompanied with compromising quality. Besides internal management issues, the external regulation has also focused on inputs rather than process or output. As a result higher education in India has lost its way in terms of creating new frontiers of knowledge. The emerging global competition and commitment have created a complex situation. It is high time the policy makers looked seriously into all contours of quality of institutes of higher learning. The problem has been compounded by shortage of good quality faculty. However, it equally applies to government-funded institutions. Many private institutions have earned praise worldwide because of professional excellence they have been able to achieve in the field of education. Their brand and image is exemplified by the quality of their output. The success and achievement of their alumni have become a yardstick of their professional excellence. In fact, there is a need to differentiate the wheat from the chaff as all public higher education institutions are not good and all private higher education institutions are not bad.

The private sector has played an important role in the growth of the higher education in India, especially in professional disciplines. Today, private institutions have helped in making doctors, engineers, managers and other professionals side by side with the government-funded institutions. They have been able to carve out a niche in every domain of the public life and create a meaningful difference. These students enter the global economy with the ability to apply what they learned in these institutions to a variety of ever-changing situations that they couldn’t foresee before
graduating. That is the mark of quality education and a truer indication of academic excellence. As it is highlighted by various surveys which are conducted from time to time in the country, the problem in India is not of unemployment, but of “employability”. There is a gap between educational curriculum and skills needed for the industry at the entry level. According to the third edition of the National Employability Report, Engineering Graduates – 2014, released by a private employability solutions company, only 18.09% engineering graduates actually get a job. The low employability among engineering graduates is a cumulative outcome of poor education standards and higher demand of skilled employees, creating a drastic skill gap in the country. Most of the graduates from Indian higher education are not receiving the education that sufficiently prepares them for the demands and opportunities of the country’s rapidly changing economy. The obvious question that accompanies such a rapid expansion of higher education is whether or not quality can be maintained by the higher education institutes. Now excellence has become the core priority for the Indian Higher Education System. For an institution to attain that level, it is important that the institution is having abundant resources, high concentration of talent and rich learning and research environment. According to a report by British Council, for excellence the Indian Higher Education should emphasise improvements in teaching and learning, and focus on learning outcomes; faculty development to improve teaching; increased integration between research and teaching; more international partnerships in teaching as well as research; better links between industry and research to stimulate innovation; and connecting institutions through networks, alliances and consortia. In fulfilling this criterion, role of privately-funded institutions is undeniable, which are making a conscious effort in incorporating the standards of ‘world- class’ universities by encouraging strategic vision and innovation, so as to respond effectively to the demands of the fast-changing global knowledge economy. This shows that the private institutes providing quality higher education are the norm rather than exception and that privatisation of higher education is now an irreversible trend in India.

 

21 Apr / 2017

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The two of the main branches of knowledge—
Management and Engineering—have emerged
as the most important branches which are not only
necessary for the sound foundation of economy,
but also as the foundation of sound systems
of knowledge that open a door of opportunity
for the aspiring millions of Indians.

the business. It prepaxes the student by working on assignments, presentations, meticulous training that gives crucial capabilities required to manage real-life business situations. These days, companies seek a Management degree or diploma as an essential qualification rather than a desirable attribute. This is the notable requirement for the consulting and finance companies. According to the results of important surveys, there has been an increase in number of finance directors with MBAs. The requirement of hiring a Management degree or diploma holder is not limited to just finance and consulting sector, but there are several other sectors which are equally under the influence of Business specialisation. Management education has also influenced non-profit sectors like local government, charities, civil services, law, education and even management of places of worship. The latest trend that has appeared in the popularity of dotcoms and entrepreneurship is the brainchild of business specialisation (a degree or a diploma).

As we have already discussed, since only 18 percent of India’s university-age population is enrolled in institutions of higher education, there is a vast scope for private players to run technical institutes. Though many institutes come into existence every year, all of them do not have the infrastructure needed to impart world-class education. But some of them are even better than many Government-aided and autonomous institutes. They belie the general perception that private institutes are established only with a view to making money. Their alumni are always treated on a par with those of any institute of global standing—both in terms of training and information. The placement records of some private institutes speak volumes about the education they impart. They have established those technical institutes as brands on equal footing with IITs and IIMs.

Now, a bird’s-eye view of India’s education area makes it quite clear that all the Government-funded and autonomous institutions like IITs, NITs and IIMs cannot cater to India’s 12-crore-strong university-age population. In 1995, the

Government of India introduced in Parliament a Bill to make room for foreign universities to operate in the country. The Foreign Education Providers Bill succeeds the 1995 Bill that had been languishing for over two decades in Parliament. Faced with delays in enacting the law allowing foreign universities to set up base in the country, the Human Resource Development Ministry decided in September 2013 to take the executive order route to open the doors for the top 400 institutions to set up campuses in the country and award degrees, giving Indian students the opportunity to study in global institutions without leaving home or spending a fortune in dollars. The proposed UGC (Establishment & Operation of Campuses of Foreign Educational Institutions) Rules required that foreign education providers set up the India campuses as not-for-profit companies, that is companies set up under Section 25 of the old Companies Act (Section 8 of the new one). The proposal had the support of the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion and the Department of Economic Affairs. However, the regulations were never issued with the Government’s legislative department failing to notify them. Mired in scandals and controversies, India has been unable to respond positively to the need of infrastructure needed to facilitate opening of more and more institutions like IITs, IIMs and NITs. This situation has led to the mushrooming of private technical institutions. Though majority of such institutions aim only at misleading the aspiring youth and making money, some are really as good as premier institutes in all respects.

After years of lobbying for autonomous status for IIMs, finally a legislation is underway which will empower the 19 IIMs to award degrees to students instead of diplomas. Unlike the IITs, which are governed by their own Act of Parliament, the IIMs are run by registered societies and therefore, award postgraduate diplomas at the end of their two-year programmes instead of an MBA. The proposed legislations will make the IIMs institutes of national importance and confer degree granting powers. The Bill, when passed, will mainly benefit graduates applying abroad for research opportunities.

India has a tremendous opportunity, an opportunity provided by a unique combination of the huge availability of talent in student numbers with an education system that—with all its problems—has demonstrated its ability to respond effectively to market demand, a strong social propensity to invest in education at great personal cost, and an abundance of the political and intellectual freedom in which academic enquiry can thrive. And thus the opportunity must not be lost in focusing on higher education investment on building the leading centres of excellence that will produce the country’s intellectuals in the future.

 

 

 

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