Daily Current Affairs – 20th January, 2017DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
Problems and Reforms in Higher Education
Access, Equity, and Quality are the three benchmarks to judge any education system. As per reports and recent trends, India has not been up to the mark in all the three areas. As a result the education system in India has been in a poor condition and needs urgent and comprehensive reforms.
Problems of Higher Education in India
Access related challenges
The socio economic condition of our country and its people leads to high rate of drop out. This leads to low gross enrolment ratio in higher education. The affordability of education, quality of schools and social issues such as early marriage force the children to opt out of education. Those who do go for complete higher education are later discouraged due to social discrimination faced at work as compared to the other well off sections of the society.
Admission related challenges
Students who are seeking admission into higher education institutions have to go through an admission test. Even these students face challenge in terms of fees that they have to pay to the coaching institutions which help in preparation of the entrance exams. Financial limitations and economic occupations are a major reason for students not taking up higher education.
No doubt the number of universities and colleges has grown manifold in the last 60 years of independent India but still the quantity and quality have not progressed in the same direction. Various shortfalls in term of quality are as follows:
- Shortage of good quality faculty leading to high number of vacancies and recruitment of under qualified teachers.
- Stark deficiencies of library books, laboratory facilities, computer and broadband internet.
- Infrastructural deficiencies in terms of buildings, classrooms, sports and extracurricular facilities.
Two-thirds of enrolment in higher education is in private institutions which charge very high capitation fees and work on a profit motive. Fees at such institutions are more than double of government institutions. This makes education highly unaffordable. Southern India has also seen a recent trend wherein higher education is now turning into a business and the colleges and universities are run as commercial enterprises.
Curriculum related challenges
On account of curriculum the education system has to face the following challenges:
- Emphasis on rote-learning.
- Outdated curriculum.
- Exam oriented learning and lack of practical education.
- Graduates lack basic language and cognitive skills. O
- Only 20% graduates from engineering colleges in India are employable in IT companies.
- Quality of post-graduate research is much below the global standards.
- Poor performance of India institutions in the global university rankings.
- Absence of regular institution quality and faculty reviews.
- Corruption and nepotism in appointments of faculty and their promotions.
Suggested Reforms and Strategy
Promotion of Vocational Education
- Universal access at minimal tuition fees should be given to the students with equivalent focus on vocational education as well.
- Institutes for vocational education should be established all across the state with option of evening classes as well. This will allow access to learning to those who are engaged in economic activities.
- Credits on a regular basis should be allocated to judge the performance of the students.
- Public Private Partnership model should be used to finance these institutes. Private sector should also be given priority access to the students for recruitment in their organisations.
Reforms in Regular Education
The students who do not wish to pursue vocational education can opt for general science and humanities subjects. The performance of these students should also be monitored on the basis of credits and tests.
Improvement in Access and Quality
- Professional schools should be established for subjects like Law, Business, Engineering and Medical. In these cases where the tuition fees are high, large number of options for student loans should be available at friendly terms.
- Public universities for specialized branches of science and humanities should be opened in limited number. The limited number will promote quality as both financial resources and faculty will be used in a more efficient and effective manner.
- Very selective research universities should be opened with scholarships for students and no tuition fee. Departments and institutes should be reorganized in a manner which focuses on multi-disciplinary research.
Faculty Related Reforms