Context: Despite having the largest base of 900-plus universities in the world, only 15 higher education institutions from India are in the top 1,000. This is an alarming sign for the higher education system in India.
- India’s higher education system is the world’s third-largest in terms of students, next to China and the United States.
- Although 75 percent of higher education is in the private sector, the best institutions — IITs, IIMs, NITs, AIIMS, NLS — have all been set up by the government.
NEP 2020 provision for Higher Education:
- NEP-2020 has brought tremendous changes in governance and institutional reforms aiming at the establishment of multi-disciplinary colleges, universities and clusters of higher education institutions by linking with the forthcoming industrial revolution for skilled job creation and augmenting employment avenues.
- National Research Foundation (NRF):
- Establishment of NRF to fund outstanding research and to actively seed research in universities and colleges.
- National Testing Agency (NTA):
- The admission system for all the universities and the undergraduate HEIs will be preferably through National Testing Agency (NTA) in order to reduce the burden of several overlapping examinations conducted by HEIs separately.
- National Educational Technology Forum:
- Establishing a national educational technology forum for the proper use of technology in the domains of teaching, learning, assessment, administration and management systems and also focuses on maintaining virtual labs at various institutional and university levels.
Challenges before Higher Education in India:
- Academic leadership entails integrative abilities of breaking departmental silos, aligning different disciplines, and managing multiple stakeholders.
- Most faculty and researchers have individualistic traits whereas academic leadership calls for collaborative and transformative skills.
- Academic excellence demands integrative skills across teaching, research and academic administration. But, chancellors/founders of universities and HR leaders who support them lack this ability.
Unsatisfactory Talent Sourcing of Faculty and Students:
- Interviews for selection are often perfunctory, a mere 30 minutes for senior positions focusing only on the candidate’s past experience with no leading questions to assess their academic leadership qualities.
- Governance is a casualty in most HEIs, as they ignore attributes such as participation, responsiveness, transparency, consensus and inclusivity.
- Management of Indian education faces challenges of over-centralization, bureaucratic structures and lack of accountability, transparency, and professionalism.
- Political influence is also a bad thing and an issue with higher education. Governing bodies do not want any political influence or interference in their affairs.
- The dominant political leaders, now play a key role in governing bodies of the Universities.
Investment in Building rather than People:
- Unfortunately, promoters of most privately run HEIs invest in buildings, hardware and software rather than in people.
- Little do they realize that students learn from inspiring teachers and not from buildings.
What needs to be done:
Give Importance to Technology in Education:
- India has to embrace computer and high-speed internet technology.
- Our educational delivery mechanisms should take the wealth of human capital to the masses.
- The models of brick-and-mortar schools, colleges and universities will have to be integrated and interlinked with ICT.
- The Governments should invest more in technological infrastructure that will ease knowledge accessibility.
Conductive HR Policies:
- HR policies should be conducive to attracting talent and creating a leadership pipeline.
- One of the important pillars in Deming’s Total Quality Management (TQM) philosophy is “Constant training and retraining of teachers” to avoid burnout syndrome by adding ‘on the job skills.
Encourage Innovation and Creativity:
- The system should reward those who deserve the highest academic honour.
- The crammers should not be rewarded.
- Our testing and marking systems need to be built to recognize original contributions, creativity, problem solving and innovation.
- Ranks should be awarded accordingly.
Train the Trainers Continuously:
- A teacher is an entrepreneur and creator. The performance of a teacher should not be restricted to the classroom.
- It needs to be opened up for the world to see with the internet.
- There have to be leaders in teaching positions, not salaried people holding their mantle.
- Hence, regular training is a necessity.
Change the Aptitude to Teach:
- Teaching jobs are widely regarded as safe, well-paid and risk-free jobs. Most of the teachers do not want to change.
- As they become experienced, they get septic and do not even think of the nature and needs of the students.
- Understanding the present generation is a necessity. Guidelines should be made in this direction.
- Government must promote collaboration between Indian higher education institutes and top international institutes.
- Government must also generate linkages between national research laboratories and research centres of top institutions for better quality and collaborative research.
- Higher per capita expenditure on higher education in some states has resulted in better GER.
- For example, the per capita expenditure of Goa is Rs 14,634 and the GER is 33.2 per cent.
- Global experience also suggests that higher public investment in education yields positive results, according to the mission document of RUSA.
- To reach and achieve future requirements there is an urgent need to relook at the Financial Resources, Access and Equity, Quality Standards, Relevance, and Infrastructure.
Source: The Hindu