1. Why India needs education reforms now

Why India needs education reforms now

We have to revive the very thinking of parity in rules and regulations governing both the public and private sector higher educational institutions

By: | Updated: June 27, 2016 8:26 AM
job seekers

Our higher education system—be it government universities, private institutes or self-financed bodies—operates in a pincer-like grip of regulations. (Reuters)

By 2030, India will be one of the youngest nations in the world, with an estimated 140 million individuals in their 20s. In fact, one in every four graduates of the world will be a product of Indian higher education system. Education is an essential tool for achieving development and sustainability. In this context, the quality of higher education becomes increasingly important, as India strives to compete and integrate with a globalised economy where highly-qualified, innovative and creative professionals are required.

Our higher education system—be it government universities, private institutes or self-financed bodies—operates in a pincer-like grip of regulations. Broadly, it’s only the IIMs and IITs—both effectively outside the traditional Indian university system—that have the autonomy and flexibility of decision-making, and both sets of institutions have done the country proud.

It is a matter of grave concern that a number of higher educational institutions in India have dropped abysmally low in quality delivery over the last few decades. For, they have become rule-fulfillers and not deliverers of quality education. This, typically, is the outcome in such an organisation where decision-makers are not accountable for poor performance. Most universities neither get sufficient funds from the government, nor can raise funds to meet their development and research needs.

Therefore, the ability of most Indian universities and institutes of higher learning is unfavourably blunted due to extremely limited flexibility in their decision-making process; the reason, more often than not, is various governance issues. This creates a wide gap in what the desirable outcome is and what is actually delivered by these universities and institutes of higher learning.

To meet the huge, unmet demand for job-oriented education and training, the government must “free-up” public universities and institutions. In addition, it must encourage—through appropriate policy interventions—the private sector to actively contribute to higher education. However, instead of encouraging the role of private sector in higher education, the public policy so far appears to be unfriendly and discouraging towards the private sector, with conflicting signals coming from various higher education regulating bodies of the government.

If we talk about management education in particular, one must note that there exist many renowned high-quality private institutions in India, providing world-class education. These private institutions are committed to educational excellence and are conscious of their responsibilities. They have quality infrastructure, admirable course curriculum and faculty, affordable fee structure and location, and, above all, remarkable placements.

Management education in India has traversed a long distance over the years and has established itself as a powerful force capable of bringing about manufacturing revolution in the country. It provides the foundation to young managers to be part of the desired paradigm shift in the Indian growth trajectory.

Due to our vast customer base, businesses across the globe are eyeing the Indian market, and are keen to start local operations. Also, a large number of business initiatives have been launched by the government recently in its endeavour to not only make the country a manufacturing hub, but also to make her economic growth more inclusive. These forces have increased the demand for professional managers manifold, making management education more important than ever.

It is, thus, essential for all concerned policy-makers, educational planners, administrators and regulators to revive the very thinking of parity in rules and regulations governing both the public and private sector higher educational institutions. A common corporate law that governs public and private business enterprises is a good example to cite. Such a major reform in higher education might just prove to be even more productive than an open invitation to foreign universities to set up campuses in India—independently or jointly with local institutions. It is time to have a coherent policy framework that acknowledges the complementarity of public and private sector to contribute to the higher education system and ensures its sustainable development.

The author is director, FORE School of Management, New Delhi

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

  1. A
    Jun 27, 2016 at 4:40 am
    No wonder the writer has thoroughly reflected his bias towards management education. 80% management professionals are engineers and that is because the incentive in engineering jobs is very limited and every one rallies behind MBA for better growth prospects,technology and allied sectors of engineering are found to be laborious.I do not agree even 1% that MBA education has been a key driver for the growth of Indian ecoinomy. Having a fancy curriculum does not help one churn out future managers. A considerable proportion of students still lack basic aen of business and economic policies.How often do you see core engineering companies like L&T ,ABB, Siemens hiring these management professionals into their top level positions and why don't these highly qualified graduates seen defining a technology roadmap for India. Most of these MBAs occupy higher positions in service based companies where operations and task are perfunctory. Policies should be made to retain technical talent by increasing the incentives and remuneration which will help India attain a dominant position in the technology space which is currently dominated by either Europeans or Americans. Management education is just an alternative to career growth and India has over leveraged it.Students must spend sometime in the industry first and acquire the gr root level understanding of a particular sector,later they can utilize management education to take leadership positions. None of this happens today,inexperienced people are thrown into critical positions just because they have an MBA tag. We need to encourage all fields of education alike.
    1. Boray Sudhindra
      Jun 28, 2016 at 7:56 am
      Many opinions will come.Like the saying : No-day Better To-Day & No-Time is Better than Just Now, we NEED to streamline right from School time to HEdu. This can be done by introducing CREDIT SYSTEM across all levels of Edu. One credit being one theory cl (30 / 40 / 60 mins) per week for 16 weeks in a semester. ... one practical cl ( 2 / 3 / 4 hrs) per week for 16 weeks in semester.
      1. Boray Sudhindra
        Jun 28, 2016 at 9:17 am
        Re-introduce FYUP, CBCS, 16 HRS DIRECT TEACHING. & Teaching istant (US univ)model to help Teacher.

        Go to Top