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October 18, 2017

“Strategy in India for improving Higher Education has consistently failed”


Newsroom24x7 Staff

Not once did the UPA or the NDA today, ask the VCs, Principals, Directors, what they would like to do. They were simply asked to do x y z because x y z seemed to have worked in the US or in Europe.

iit-delhiThe Modi Government proposes to channelise more money to achieve the lofty goal of improving the quality of higher education and building world class Institutes of Eminence, more particularly the flagship medical, technological and management institutes.

According to the latest Budget presented in Parliament, 23 Indian Institutes of Technology and 23 National Institutes of Technology, would be getting US$1.1 billion – this would amount to a third of the budgeted spending on higher education.

Reacting to this, Professor of History Rajiv Lochan said (on social media): “The UPA (previous Congress led Government at the Centre) investments in Higher Education were designed to fail. As will any other top down investment in HE that tries to micromanage quality at the local level, does not give any freedom of action to the people in charge on the ground, gives them a short tenure in which they spend most of their energy trying to manipulate the bureaucrats and politicians who micromanage. Not once did the UPA or the NDA today, ask the VCs, Principals, Directors, what they would like to do. They were simply asked to do x y z because x y z seemed to have worked in the US or in Europe. That has been the only strategy in India for improving HE and has consistently failed.

According ot Professor Lochan, the new thing in the present scheme is a promise not to micromanage. That, to my mind, may provide results quickly.” He further observes, the latest elixir (or the one that has been promised) is that the UGC, AICTE, HRD will keep off entirely. A review of performance of goals achieved will happen once in two years. If that is implemented there may be some hope. The government’s effort at being responsible are said to be the main reason for the decline in all education, he points out

Taking a critical view, Prof Lochan says: “The mafia in education itself was created and nurtured by the government and continues to receive active patronage. All these regulatory bodies actively promoted and continue to promote the mafia in education. The handful of good institutions that do exist today and the small number of faculty in them who do high quality work, are the only ones whom the government seeks to stymie.”

Responding to this, Madhya Pradesh Principal Secretary Higher Education Ashish Upadhyaya observed: “the answerability should be not through institutionalized control, it should be with transparent indicators and more frequent reviews with full information placed in public domain.”

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