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Universities: National or Local?

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Universities

Dr. Kamlesh Misra

Former Vice Chancellor, Ansal University


India is supposed to have had the roots of higher education dating back as early as the 1000 B.C. Though at that time the education provided by the then institutes were the ancient knowledge of the Vedas. The modern education system was actually set up during the colonization of India and The Indian Higher education has gone through many transformations, some for the better while some for the worst. One of the regrettable change over the year has been the alteration of the universities from national to local.

There was a time in India where there were many universities deemed national. Now, this title has been fading away like the passing wind. Only a few of these universities have managed to keep the title that too with great struggle. Despite this many national universities who have a glorious past, unfortunately, are turning in to local universities like a rapid fire. So, what exactly went wrong which led to land these universities with such defective fate?

Education which is vital for the growth of a country and especially in a developing nation like India, it is more important that the education sector flourishes. It is considered that the universities are a micro picture of the society we live in. It is like the mirror image of the changes in our society. So whatever happens on our campuses doesn’t only affect the students, teachers and faculty but also the nation itself. Several reforms that started around the year 1975 have had a calamitous impact on the universities of India.

Around this era, one of the significant thing that happened was the formation of regional parties in India. The political dispute had a major impact on the education sector. The regional parties wanted to win elections and to have an upper hand on the national parties, these regional parties catered the needs of the local community. However, this thinking didn’t unite the nation to work forward for development instead divided it for worse into National and Regional lines. So we moved from national level thinking to regional level thinking. The cherry on the cake was the steps taken by Regional parties to have topped the political stature. To further strengthen the political hold successive regional governments pushed for admissions of local students in universities. Appointment of faculty and staff was based on regional lines. Though, some can say this was a good move and ensure employment of the locals in the long run, this move had a few setbacks hence declining the level of education. This was a very destructive move for Indian universities.

The local and regional interests were taking priority over the national interests. Although the country is divided into 29 states, in reality, it shouldn’t be divided when working for maintaining the standards of the education system at the global level. This division was made for better governance of the country, not for the destruction and loss of advantage that we had previously on the global community.

Our universities and education sector now is the reflection of this poor governance and divided behaviour. The political pressures ensured that local students got priority in admissions, local people got priority in jobs and this completely ruined the diversity within the University System. As most of the students were and the teacher was becoming then the universities started to become the breeding grounds of the political parties instead of the temple of education. This also cuts back the diverse nature that the Indian Universities usually should provide. Unions became powerful that they have support from political parties as well. These are the few ways which led us to this moment, that we have to witness the fall of the mighty National Universities of India into one with just local jurisdiction.

Only if we could travel back in time and maintain the level of education that we had before. It would be good to have these National Universities back.

 Universities

 

These are some key features of the National Universities:

The Faculty in the National University is among the best of the teachers from around the country and from different parts of the country. Hence bringing the culture and linguistic features with them. Almost all states and union territories are represented in the university by faculty members and administrators.

  • These appointments are based on merit and not the preference of being from that region or being a local of that community, hence its open for all and fair for everyone as it gives everyone equal chance of appointment and also increases the level of competition.
  • There is a fair mix of minorities among the faculty and staff and there is a place for people of different faiths. Hence, it is diverse in nature and can be a learning experience for both teachers and students.
  • Likewise the appointment, the admissions are also open to everyone from the country. Students come from all parts of the country and not just a single region.

Despite all the odds, there are few universities like JNU and University of Delhi (DU) that have been holding onto the position of being a National University. We hope that the golden days of the National Universities will be back like the 90’s fashion. And the concept of local university dissolves as quickly as venom does with blood and kills the ill factors destroying the level of education in India.

What do you think about this? Should Regional or Local benefits be given?

Do you want the National Universities of India to make a comeback?

Let us know in the comments.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Vinay

    July 24, 2018 at 7:12 am

    National level education /thinking is a prerequisite for national growth. However educational opportunities need to be provided to student close to place/ state of residence to all. This will reduce movement/ costs for poor and needy.

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Employability + Entrepreneurship = Empowerment = Development : 3E&D Formula

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Entrepreneurship

Sudhir Gavhane

Dr. Sudhir Gavhane

Director, National Outreach & Network

Former Dean, Liberal Arts, Science & Commerce

MIT-World: Peace University, Pune, India


Read on our article by Professor Dr Sudhir Gavhane explaining Employability & Entrepreneurship and the 3E&D Formula.

The higher education system in the world is passing through transition and India can’t be an exception to it. In India, there are 850 universities and more than 49,000 colleges / standalone institutions with 35 million students. The Indian higher education system is one of the biggest higher education systems in the world. Any higher education system of any country aims to train human capital of that country. This empowered human capital generates wealth for their nation. This human capital is the only source of capital creation. If human capital is weak and unemployable, then the country becomes week in terms of economy and if it is strong in terms of employability then economy becomes strong as well as wellbeing is achieved. This happens because quality human capital creation provides quality jobs and quality jobs generate the higher level of purchasing power. Higher purchasing power generates the higher level of demands in the market and higher demand gives the boost to higher production for industry, in result more employment generation and more investment and ultimately more prosperity is achieved. This is the importance of employable youth power which empowers nations. Therefore, employability matters for the future of the youth and future of any nation. The higher education system has to produce graduates which are employable, industry-ready as well as future ready.

Entrepreneurship

Six Hundred Million Jobs Required

Globally to provide jobs to youth, as per ILO (International Labour Organization), 600 million jobs are required to be created in the next decade. This is a huge task for the organized sector and industry. “Jobless Growth” can’t be the path of progress. Inclusive growth with progressive Human Development Index is what we require.

At present, 75 million youth are unemployed worldwide, which were 4 million in the year 2007. This means that the unemployment ratio and even number too is increasing globally. One will be shocked to know that more over 6 million youth out of frustration had given up looking for jobs, as despite multiple attempts they failed to get a job. This systematic exclusion of youth from the labour market is highly dangerous for the world. Apart from this globally 200 million young people were working but living on less than two dollars a day. If youth is not able to survive and look after their livelihood then their future is going to be dark and full of misery. In the light of this background, the higher education system of colleges and universities need to create graduates which are fully employable and skilled enough to take any job in that knowledge or industry sector related to their degrees. They must be equipped with life skills.

“Jobless growth and jobless youth” is highly dangerous to any society. Our Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) must impart industry -required skills and knowledge so that their students/graduates become employable and equally important is that students also passionately acquire skills and build capacity to apply knowledge to generate value in themselves as the job-ready student. More importantly, 5 to 10 % among students must move to entrepreneurship to become job creators instead of job seekers.

Entrepreneurship

The mantra is
” Employability+ Entrepreneurship = Empowerment = Development. “

In my view, this is the “3 E & D” formula for achieving prosperity. Is our higher education system is competent enough to execute this “3E & D” formula? The answer is a big NO. We need to crack down and dismantle conventional mode of higher education and create a system flexible enough to cope up with the changing environment and industries. The whole way of educational culture needs drastic change. We are living in the age of disruptive innovation, and old systems will not work in this age of revolutionary technology-driven change.

If our teachers are not future ready then how we can expect that our students will be Future Ready? Let’s strive for implementing “3 E & D” Formula stated by me here. I would like to end this article with a quote from Ms Christine Evans-Klock, Former Director of Skills and Employability of ILO.

She says:

“Employability entails much more than the ability to get the first job. It is having the capacity to network and market oneself, navigation through a career and remain employable throughout life. It requires the ability to ask questions, acquires new skills, identifies and evaluate options, understands rights at work including the right to a safe and healthy work environment, adapts successfully to changing situations and the courage to innovate.”

We must adopt this in full spirit as the future of our nations depends only on this roadmap. Isn’t it?

 

Read more by Dr. Sudhir Gavhane: Higher Education Sector: New Trends In Teaching Learning Methodologies ( TLM )

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Higher Education Systems of India and Malaysia – Similarities and Disparities

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Higher Education Systems of India and Malaysia

Sandeep Kautish

Sandeep Kautish

Professor & Dean – Academic Affairs

LBEF Campus. Kathmandu


Read on our article by Dr. Sandeep Kautish, Dean of Academics at Lord Buddha Education Foundation (LBEF Campus) reflecting his insights on the Higher Education Systems of India and Malaysia  and the Similarities and Disparities both these systems share with each other

India and Malaysia are emerging study abroad destinations for students from many Asian and African countries. UNESCO has categorized Malaysia as the 12th most preferred education destination in the world while India earned the name of “Vishwa Guru” when Takshashila and Nalanda kind of Indian universities used to attract pupils from all over the world.

In the modern era, affordable fee structures, a variety of courses and a low cost of living are major factors which attract students from different countries. Both the countries have shown steady growth in the economy and infrastructural development in the past two decades which had made these countries very popular study abroad destinations. Five universities of Malaysia have appeared in prestigious QS ranking of 2017 while 12 institutions from India showed their names in the list.

Despite many similarities, the education systems of both India and Malaysia are quite different in many forms. Having experience in both the education systems i.e. India (initially as a student and then as a professor) and Malaysia (as a professor working with a top Malaysian University), I am writing this article for making a comparative assessment of both.

Higher Education Systems of India and Malaysia

Educational Board – India & Malaysia

The first and foremost difference I find in India and Malaysia Education Systems is the inclusion of foreign universities culture. Several American and British Universities have already come up with their campuses in Malaysia for not only Malaysian but also international students while at the other hand, the Indian education system is still dominated by the major government giants like IITs, NITs, Central/State Universities and after that many prominent private institutions i.e. BITS, Jaypee etc. According to All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), India has more than 10,000 engineering institutions in 2016 which offer a wide variety of study options to students. In fact, these institutions are not only catering Indian students but also thousands of students from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and many African countries also opt Indian universities and colleges for higher education degrees.

The second difference is the opportunity of intake. In Malaysia, students get the opportunity of three or intakes in a year. Moreover few institutions of Malaysia takes admission for four times in a year which is double than India where maximum two intakes are allowed in a year. Here Malaysian institutions have a competitive advantage.

Another difference in the higher education systems of Malaysia and India which I could personally seem is the difference between assessment methodologies. In India, AICTE and other regulatory bodies are still struggling with finding the deciding line in many areas like plagiarism, documentation methods and assessments of student evaluation. Moreover, there are variations and discrepancies in policies related to higher education in India. At the other side, Malaysia has adopted the Malaysian Qualification Framework (MQF) which is a unified system of post-secondary education implementation and regulations. It clarifies all qualifications and academic achievements in higher education and these qualifications are directly linked with attainment goals of educational delivery. The Malaysian Universities mandates their students to write at least 4-5 individual assignments at even undergraduate level and these assignments are perfectly mapped with MQF guidelines which boost the creative writing skills among students which helps them to understand real-time scenarios.

Higher Education Systems of India and Malaysia

MQF- Malaysia Qualification Framework

We can compare Malaysia Qualification Framework (MQF) with accreditations bodies of India like National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and the National Board of Accreditation (NBA). As far as the conception is concerned, MQF is quite similar to NAAC and NBA accreditation. Having been worked at India for more than 13 years under the institutions running under AICTE and accredited by NAAC and NBA, I have to say the deliverables of NAAC and NBA could not reach the level where they were intended to. The major barriers of the implementation are the scattered policy frameworks with no clear guidelines and negligence of government agencies in regulating the implementation of same. Another difference is the flavour of the education systems. In spite of having world-class education setups, India lags behind Malaysia when it comes to attracting foreign students from the Middle East and Africa.

Being the most liberal Muslim country of the world, Malaysia is able to attract more students from the Asian subcontinent while India is not very popular among non-Asian students due to its cultural diversities and other political reasons.

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Higher Education Sector: New Trends In Teaching Learning Methodologies ( TLM )

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Teaching Learning Methodologies

Sudhir Gavhane

Prof. Dr. Sudhir Gavhane

Director, National Outreach & Network

Former Dean, Liberal Arts, Science & Commerce

MIT-World: Peace University, Pune, India


Read on our article by Professor Dr Sudhir Gavhane elaborating on the new trends in TLM –  Teaching Learning Methodologies and its advancing impact in the higher education sector in general.

The change is the heart of the world and nature. However, the pace of change we are experiencing at present is an unprecedented one. We are now the fastest moving human society, facing its all complexities, with an unpredictable future. We are living in the society of which driving force is technology, thus we are part of technology-driven society. Most importantly digital technologies and their applications are generating “disruptive innovations”, which are change makers in its true sense. Digital innovations are responsible for digital revolutions and these digital revolutions have changed even our global economy into Digital Economy. The disciplines of Humanities (arts, drama, music, literature, paintings, media etc.) are now renamed as the Digital Humanities. Due to this technology-driven changes, education & higher education sector to is changing, not only this it is becoming the originator or source of unpredictable change. This is the unpredictable time aligned with unpredictable opportunities.

In this ever-changing and fastest moving environment conventional path of “Teaching and Learning Methodology (TLM) ” is now an outdated one. There is a disconnect between knowledge acquired and real-life problems. Critical thinking is missing and applying knowledge to solve problems is never thought of. Most of the engineering graduates are in business management and not in core engineering activities. There is no direct connection between what you learn and what you practice. Employability of our graduates is going down. Our human capital is not being considered as the capital but a liability on our society and family.

In the light of this background, globally new kinds of TLMs are designed to re-engineer our human capital to make them useful to society and themselves. They are aimed at filling the gap between theory and praxis. Higher education institutions must change themselves and change their systems from show to substance, then and then only there will be acceptance by society at large.

These new TLMs are as follows:

Teaching Learning Methodologies

 Service-Based Learning (SBL):

Every student of every HEI (Higher education Institute) must prove herself or himself as a committed person of society. If you want to create socially and nationally connected and conscious citizen, serving society must be a part of mandatory TLM. There should be credits assigned for this and earning satisfaction and pleasure must be part of the curriculum. Many SBL micro assignments can be worked out which is nothing but “learning by Doing”.

Teaching Learning Methodologies
Research-Based Learning (RBL)

Today is the age of knowledge. Knowledge has become the engine of economic growth and prosperity. The generation of knowledge is only possible through Research and Development (R&D). Therefore, it’s an international trend now that even undergraduate students are given assignments to do research. Learning through research is something unique and not practised largely in India. I know that there are examples around the world that, even at the age of 19 undergraduate students have got their own patents. Why can’t we imagine this scenario in India and other developing countries? We need to imbibe research culture among our generation next. Indian higher education institutions must modify their curriculum to incorporate RBL.

Teaching Learning Methodologies
Project Based Learning (PBL):

There is always a question, which comes to our mind about our new generation graduates. The said question is about, why our millennial are problem creators, instead of problem solvers? Why are universities and colleges are not able to equip our students with skills and competencies to solve the problems of our present society? Higher education is not for creating problems but to solve these. The Problem Based Learning (PBL). In this system of learning, students on their own identity problems of our society and by applying their mind and knowledge they provide solutions to the problem. This is what meaningful higher education is.! “Learning to Work and Working to Learn” is the mantra. Our colleges and universities must begin with baby steps in this direction.

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