Today’s highly competitive world of education where every student just wants to be on the top and wants to earn money in six or seven figures, highlights the importance of education and particularly higher education in today’s world. Higher education is the reason not only behind an individual’s success but is also the reason of the overall development of a nation as the products of the good higher education are world class engineers, doctors, MBAs and many more. Thus, it has become essential to ask the question that today, among the world class universities like Cambridge University and Harvard University, where do the Indian Universities and Indian Higher Education stand in the world?
Considering the facts, Indian Higher Education System is the third largest in the world, after China and United States. According to the statistics of 2009, India has a total number of 20 central universities, 215 state universities, 100 deemed universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 33 institutes which are of national importance. Some of the institutes of India like Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are globally acclaimed.
But somehow India is unable to produce the world class universities. Infact, Indian universities have also failed to make its place among the top 200 universities of the world in 2011, according to the magazine Times Higher Education (THE). Also, the recent comment of Infosys chairman, Narayan Murthy on the poor quality of IIT students, where he says, “Apart from the top 20 per cent of students who crack the tough IIT entrance examination and can "stand among the best anywhere in the world," quality of the remaining 80 per cent of students leave much to be desired.”, has left everybody in a state of worry. Various reforms in Indian Higher Education are being thought of. However, here are some of the suggestions which can help in improving the Indian Higher Education.
Introduce innovation in curriculum: The syllabus of Indian Higher Education System is outdated and not at all innovative. We need a curriculum which is progressive in nature and not despotic. Students should be allowed to pursue multiple courses in the first year and should be given an option to choose a specialization after that. More focus should be there on innovation and projects rather than exams. However, this does not mean that exams should not be there at all. It’s just that exams should be complimented with incentives for innovation.
Need for some young professors: The other problem with our Higher Education is that we have all the professors above the age of 60s and 70s in the academic curriculum board. With due respect to them, there is also a need for some young professors now. This is because the younger ones would be more aware of the technological changes and the new age needs of the students. But as it’s apparent, hardly any youngster goes in the line of teaching. The reason, certainly, is low pay. Once the pay of the lecturers is increased, the quality faculty will start coming in, the people who actually want to teach and who are worth the caliber of teaching.
Rise of industry interaction: Industry interaction with students is one of the vital pillars in the growth of education. Companies should be sought out for such interactions, if they don’t agree to it, then the universities should use their advantage. When companies come for placements, there should be a basic qualification criteria for their eligibility for the placements. For instance, they should have contributed an investment of 2 to 4 lakh in order to become eligible for the placement. As human capital is far more important than these petty sums of money, the IT companies would certainly agree for it.
Realise the power of alumni: One of the major drawbacks of Indian Higher Education is that we do not realise the power of alumni. Other than the few top institutes, the concept of alumni networking is non-existent. Alumni networking is really helpful as they understand the various problems of the students being the part of the same institute once. Also, alumni are themselves eager of sharing their academic excellence and experience with the students, it’s just that the system needs to be more transparent.
In the conclusion, these are just some of the suggestions of handling Higher Education System of India in a better way. It’s high time to think of the solutions to improve higher education in India. If they are not thought of now and implemented well, the level of education will deteriorate to a level that it would become very difficult for us to recover in future.