According to estimates, India must have 200 million graduates and 500 million skilled people by 2022 to ensure double digit economic growth. India is woefully short of good institutes of higher learning. Number of seats in existing institutes has been further reduced due to affirmative action. As a result students with grades as high as 98 percentile in high school exams fail to get accepted in a course or university of their choice. A way out of this impasse is to create more universities.
Education market in India is likely to be in the tune of US Dollar 110 billion by 2015. Many private universities have come up in India. Number of seats have increased and variety of curriculum has improved.
Cost of education has also gone up. Most private universities are being run like a business house. There is fear that creating more universities will dilute standard. May be fear is justified. Initially, we may not have sufficient faculties as well as adequate infrastructure. It is important to note that lowering basic criteria of admission and reservation of seats to elite universities also contribute towards lowering of academic standard. At the same time it cannot be denied that private universities in India are more concerned about profit margin than education. Many desist from hiring senior faculty and do not encourage research. It is would be important for private academic institutes to set new and higher benchmark in education and research. Universities should be encouraged to think out of the box and hire experienced professors and professionals, if necessary by looking outside the country as well as by looking outside academic circle.
Many foreign universities have also expressed desire to setup base in India. If permitted to setup a base in India, students can get a degree from Harvard while being in India. India may save foreign expense and the cost of education may be less for students. At the same time, Indian scholars will be exposed to state of the art research while being in India. Universities in the United States, namely Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, Berkley, Cornell and many others, only improved standard of education and research. American universities have faculty / researcher that are nobel laureates as well as academician that serve as think tanks that advice governments on key policy matters. Indian government expects universities willing to come to India should be within top 400 in their world ranking. Government is apprehensive that foreign universities may not necessarily be controlled by Indian government. They may bring their own program and systems. Indian government also does not allow repatriation of profit generated by foreign universities to their home campus.
Recently, through presidential address to parliament, government has expressed its intent to set up more institutes like IITs and IIMs in every state. At the same time India should open her doors to foreign universities of repute as well. I think government must fund creation of good universities public funded as well as private, should monitor universities with respect to infrastructure and faculty vis a vis fee charged, create policy that facilitate meritocracy, support education of students with education loan, scholarship, on campus employment, ensure all university graduates get employment.
Tags: University Education, Private University, Government University, Foreign University, Business of Education, Cost of University Education, Profit Motive and University Education, Affirmative Action, Meritocracy, Student Loan, Employment