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ACADEMIC FREEDOM: Does It Exist In India?




Academic freedom

Dr. Kamlesh Misra

Former Vice Chancellor, Ansal University

Do you remember the times when you were little and were learning the Indian mythology or just watching Doordarshan every evening? And in one of those evenings, you learned how Eklavya cut his thumb for his “Guru” Dronacharya without even bothering to ask one question about his actions. At that age, we were also taught that our teachers or “Guru” get placed next to Gods and were indispensable for students.

That may not be the case now, though teachers still hold a distinctive place in every student’s life. They can either devise or destroy their life.

But is it exactly the case in the current scenario?

What is Academic Freedom?

Academic freedom is a term defining which is not simple despite its simplicity. This idea is designed such that the teachers are given the freedom to have different opinions or ideology in their thought processes. They are given the right to challenge the existing wisdom without any fear of being tried by the Administrator or having to face any repercussions later that may cause problems in their careers.

This was the case until the 1960s in India and the teachers around that time were very reputed and respected by all. But over the time, the Indian Higher Education system has witnessed something entirely different. Teachers have started falling from grace and their reliability is also questioned by many. And to some extent, we can blame the teachers themselves for drifting away from their missions as a teacher. But these teachers are not the only one who is wrong, the government also shares this blame. The interference of the government in the educational institutions is also a big driving force for this shift.


What is Academic Freedom Now in the Modern World?

In the modern world, the term “academic freedom” should be progressed simultaneously with globalization. In this process of transition, over the years, academic freedom has been misused and abused like never before. The teachers nowadays are using it not to improve the quality of education but to abuse the freedom given by the system. How does having the freedom to be in the office or not being in office relate to academic freedom? When questions are asked about their teaching they say my academic freedom is being questioned.

Read also: Why Teaching Jobs Are Considered So Underrated??

Like a good student, does their homework on time, attend every class and before every class pre-prepare for the class. A good teacher is expected to do the same routine before a lesson. Earlier the teachers used to follow this method, hence the classes were more engaging and a lot fewer students availed to tutors outside the classrooms unlike now. These days a lot of teachers don’t prepare for their lessons and just go and teach what they know. Hence the level of education is not progressing but with passing time just degrading. And if a student asks a question outside their parameters of thinking then these teachers are unfair to these students and won’t let go of their ego. As a teacher they hold a lot of powers over the student’s life, one of the major power is providing a student with their score.  They will even tell students that if they want good grades then they will have to fall in line as per their requirements.

The concept of academic freedom can be further examined in the light of globalization and new challenges posed to higher education.

Another thing that we should put light on regarding this issue is also the lack of teachers in the Indian Higher Education System. This is also a major reason for this shift. Not only this makes the system less innovative but also burdens certain teachers with the responsibility towards the development of the education sector. Coupled with this is the fact that we have a lot of people who have not been successful in the industry getting into teaching. I call this the residual impact. Furthermore, we also have teachers that only want to become teachers when they have completed their first innings in the industry.

The other challenge is the uprising privatization, hence, there is an urgent need for academic freedom as an important key to ensure the developing standards of the Higher Education in India. The state and the private sector need to recognize that the creation of knowledge and development of the higher education sector cannot take place without recognizing academic freedom only if these powers are not abused by the teachers.

If we look closely at the system then the situation is quite alarming. Only 20% of the University teacher are the ones who seemed determined to work for the betterment of the system and are real teachers. The rest of them are wearing double-faced like hiding behind the face of a teacher and playing politics in the education industry.

The freedom given to these teacher has only harmed the industry very deeply. In recent years, academic freedom has not produced any phenomenal results nor has led to any deeper knowledge than the existing. Yes in some of the centers of excellence like the IIC, BARC, TIFR there have been great levels of contribution but they are only exceptions to the rule.

The basic essence of academic freedom has been lost over time.

And if the government with the academicians make a move to create more accountability, then the teachers union protest against it.

And this abuse of power, students, and education will continue until the teachers themselves reflect on this situation. This is only a setback until the time the teachers in universities and colleges realize their responsibilities. They are not only molding the lives of the students but also the lives of the entire generation of this nation. And building a nation is the utmost important task, a task more important than a running a million dollar company. Education is not only in the interest of a teacher and a student, but it is also for everyone.

A major transformation is needed. It is the call of the hour and it only and only possible if the teachers work for it themselves. The teachers need to shoulder their responsibilities properly. The teacher has the capacity to rise against all odds and the setbacks and work for the declining standard of the education and make Indian Education system great again. What do you think? Is this the scenario right now or not?

Do you think the teachers will realize this and change their way of teaching?

More by Dr. Kamlesh Mishra: Universities: National or Local?

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  1. Avatar


    July 18, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    Dear Dr Misra ,
    An apt question to be raised by the academic fraternity. If teaching is seen as only a job performed by so called educated individuals, it cannot fulfil the higher purpose of shaping lives and instigating thought.
    Am glad a person of your stature has discussed this.

  2. Avatar

    child escorts

    November 5, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Very energetic article, I enjoyed that bit. Will there be a part 2?

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Guest Author

Higher Education: A journey from 1.0 to 4.0 (PART 2)

Dr. Sudhir Gavhane



Higher Education: A journey from 1.0 to 4.0

A lot has changed throughout this journey from Higher Education 1.0 to Higher Education 4.0. As correctly stated “only change is constant”, things have changed and so have the problems and the solution that our future requires.

Global Higher Education

Global Higher Education: Changing Dimensions & Deformities

The global higher education scenario is very complex and full of contradictions. Unless we understand the scenario it becomes very difficult to design a specific roadmap for concerned countries. The projections of future enrolments in tertiary sector explicitly prove that the higher education sector is ready for a quantum jump in terms of the student population and international studentship.

G-1: Global Higher Education Market (2015-2019)

G-1 shows that over recent years the Global Higher Education Market (GHEM) is growing CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 9%.

In 2015 The Global Higher Education Market was of $2.9 trillion

  • 66% mainstream market of higher education & corporate training,
  • 15% market for Continuous education
  • 19% of other programs of higher education.

In the year 2019, the overall market of global higher education will reach up to $4.1 trillion

64% share of the mainstream market of higher education and corporate training (going down by 2% than 2015)

Increase of 2% in the other allied programs from 19% in 2015 to 21% in 2019

The global higher education market is huge at present and expecting exponential growth in the coming two decades, therefore competition is cut-throat one.

MUST READ -Higher Education 4.0: Smart Pathways For Smart Future (Part 1)

G-2: Future of Global Population and Higher Education Enrollment (2015-2030)

G-2 states us the projections of the global population 7.38 billion (2015) to 8.55 billion (2030). As the population is increasing the enrolment is also going to grow remarkably.

In 2015 the higher education enrolment was 212.6 million and that is expected332.2 million by 2030 and the change is 56%, which will be remarkably high.

As we are moving towards the internationalization of higher education the international student enrollment is also predicted to increase by 51% from 4538000 (4.5 million in 2015) to 6869000 (6.8 million in 2030).

Though the number of students in tertiary education is predicted to grow above 50% in next 15 years till 2030 and the higher education market is all sure to grow exponentially in coming decades, there are many deformities in the sector of higher education.

We can list them as follows:  

  1. International students’ mobility mostly will be concentrated in developed countries.
  2. The quality and ranking competition will reach to peak and the established & high ranked
  3. ‘Higher education Brands (HEBs)’ shall garner the market by spreading their wings across the world by developing technologies.
  4. The upcoming and upgrading universities in the world from Asia and other parts strive there hand to create a space in the global ranking to attract international students.
  5. In decades to come, the top 200 universities in the world will grow faster than other lagging behind’ universities & remaining most will face financial crunch, the crisis of inducting ‘world-class teacher’, competition & challenges to retain existing and gaining domestic & international students.
  6. The quality of higher education depends on the contribution of universities in terms of Research & Development (R & D), innovations. The universities which leapfrog only can sustain.
Knowledge-driven Pathways of Progress

IR 4.0 to Higher Education 4.0: Knowledge-driven Pathways of Progress

We have entered into the ‘smart digital century’ as described by Frederic Martel.

In the words Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt it’s ‘Digital Age’. IR 4.0 is its name now in terms of its impact on the industries.

IR 4.0 (Industrial Revolution 4.0) has become a popular buzzword in the sector of manufacturing and industry in recent years. IR 4.0 is the transformational change driven by digital technologies encompassing.

Internet of things (IOTs), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Intelligent Robotics,3D Printing…

Big Data Analytics and Cloud Computing many such disruptive innovations impacting and changing very structure & process of the industry. IR 4.0 is digitally driven & technologically lead revolution taking place in the industrial and manufacturing sector.

MUST READ -Higher Education 4.0: Smart Pathways For Smart Future (Part 1)

IR 1.0: Industrial Revolution 1.0, came into existence when in 1784 first mechanical weaving loom came in to use. It is the time when mechanical production facilities were invented and deployed based on water & steam power.

IR 2.0: Industrial Revolution 2.0, emerged when the first assembly line was developed in the year 1870. IR 2.0 is known for mass production facilities with the power of electrical energy. This can be called the age of mass production supported by electrical power generation.

IR 3.0: Industrial Revolution 3.0, come into consideration with the emergence of electronics and Information Technology, where computer applications were deployed in the industrial sector. In this aspect, the beginning started when Programmable Logic Control (PLC) system come into existence in the year 1969.

IR 4.0: Industrial Revolution 4.0, come into existence, when on the basis of Cyber-Physical Production System (CPPS) being utilized for industrial production, by unification of physical and virtual world, as an revolutionary impact of higher digitization, many authors such as Shwab K. , Frederic Martel, Fisk P., Soffel J. have discussed these revolutionary changes that have occurred in the present century in industry and other sectors , compelled to reshape re-engineer the structure and process of the present ever-changing industry and market.

Higher Education 4.0: What it is?

Now let’s discuss, what exactly is the education or higher education 4.0. We are going to live in the ‘smart’ time.

What exactly is that

What exactly is that?

Martel Frederic has described it in these words: “The term ‘Smart’ is simply becoming a synonym of the word internet and can be used for the world’s digital sector by including smartphones, applications, technology and the digital in general.”

He further remarks that “smart indicates a fundamental mutation of the web, the one which is coming: the passage from information to communication and now, to the internet of knowledge”.

Higher Education 4.0: H.E. Architecture

In the lights, if these revolutionary developments in regards to knowledge creation, knowledge dissemination, knowledge retribution, knowledge application. We have to understand Higher

Education 4.0. Let’s understand the four stages of education:

  1. Higher Education 1.0 

Education 1.0 is the manner and method of imparting instructions during the ancient and middle ages. The process of teaching that time was personalized and in close contact with the teacher. The ancient education process was limited to a few students from the elite class.

What is being called in India as the ‘Guru-Shishya Parampara’ (Teacher-Student radiation)? It was an informal education. It was not a structured syllabus. ‘Guru’ or teacher use to share his knowledge with students of his choice depending on his will and wish. This informal education system was existing in India, China, Israel, Rome & Greece also even in tribal societies.

Though there was no formal system of the curriculum during this time education 1.0 gradually changed itself from basic of informal education to the beginning of higher education, resulted in the founding of few universities such as Nalanda, Takshashila, Ujjain, Viramshila in India and Heian-Kyo in Japan during the 9th century. During this time religious & spiritual education was prominent. 2.

2. Higher Education 2.0

The education or higher education 2.0 emerged, when during the mid-15th century, the invention of the printing press changed the dynamics of knowledge reproduction & sharing system if knowledge. During this time, the books became the verticals if knowledge dissemination. During higher education 2.0 the process of knowledge transmission changed and concept of one to one (0 to 0) become one too many (0 to M).

In this period only specific revolution, renaissance, reforms occurred and universities were established as the center of higher learning. In the 14th and 18th century in Europe and many other countries universities were established and the opened doors of higher education for common people. It was a journey of elite education to mass education, women’s education. The informal education becomes formal and disciplines were born.

3. Higher Education 3.0

The Higher Education 3.0 means the present day education in the age of internet & information technology and it can be called as the period of democratization of higher education which increased the accessibility of higher education to otherwise deprived classes in mass scale. T

his is the phase of the 20th century, which replaced chalkboard to ICT boring education. It’s the beginning of digital age, consisting of technology, computer use, improved administration, and better learning & research & development in all disciplines dominated by Science and technologies.

It includes social changes such as an advent of the postal system, radio technology, television lectures, and internet revolution.

MUST READ -Higher Education 4.0: Smart Pathways For Smart Future (Part 1)

4. Higher Education 4.0: Future is here  

On the ground & backbone of higher education 3.0, the new age of higher education 4.0 has emerged. The higher education 4.0 puts the learner at the center & it enables the student to choose his/her mode of higher education by structuring an individual path to achieve individual goals. It’s collaborative & personalized learning. Now on can learn at the campus, at home and even at workplace.  

Universities towards Education

Preparedness of Universities towards Education 4.0

Source: (Leapfrogging to Education 4.0: Student at the core, report of the Ernest and Young prepared for FICCI, November 2017, p.54)

This is altogether different learning environment than the traditional centers for learning such as college and universities campuses. The higher education 4.0 is beyond boundaries, beyond higher education institutions and transnational in real sense. This method of learning is transforming conventional students into an active learner. The learner of 4.0 has full freedom to choose courses, knowledge, and skills. The teachers have to play a role of guiding force, instead of educator imparting knowledge. The Higher Education 4.0 shall eradicate the distance between cultures and societies, thus a student can learn from multiple universities persuading choice based courses & acquiring degrees of their choice. The H.E. 4.0 will be outcome-based education.

 Let me end this with the quote of noted contemporary thinker Harari Yual Noah from his latest book “21 Lessons for the 21st Century”:

“A global world puts unprecedented pressure on our personal conduct and morality. Each of us is ensnared within numerous all-encompassing spider webs, which on the one hand restrict our movements, but at the same time transmit our tiniest jiggle to faraway destinations. Our daily routines influence the lives of people and animals halfway across the world.”  

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Guest Author

Higher Education 4.0: Smart Pathways For Smart Future (Part 1)

Dr. Sudhir Gavhane



Smart Pathways For Future

PART 2 Coming Soon Stay Tunned

The world is entering into the IR 4.0 (Industrial Revolution 4.0) & the higher education sector has to adapt itself to this challenging time through its preparedness to future-ready higher education, which is going to be ‘Higher Education 4.0′.

Changing Times, Changing Needs.

Changing Times, Changing Needs.

  The higher education sector is going through unprecedented upheavals & transformations, which is technology driven. This sector is in its transition state, wherein HEIs are compelled to convert themselves to proactive partners of knowledge economy & knowledge society through innovation R&D.

The world is entering into the IR 4.0 (Industrial Revolution 4.0) & the higher education sector has to adapt itself to this challenging time through its preparedness to future-ready higher education, which is going to be ‘Higher Education 4.0′. This trend is dismantling existing structures and constructing new once, which demands to engineer the system and human capital and all stakeholders. There are smart pathways & pitfalls for reaching to smart future of higher education, youth and society at large.

(Vidyā (Knowledge) is man’s unique signifier, a secret treasure. It showers providence, fame, and delight. Indeed the guru of gurus, Vidyā (Knowledge) is a friend in foreign and. Vidyā (Knowledge) is God. Not wealth but Vidyā (Knowledge) is worshipped by the kings.

And so, one without Vidyā (Knowledge) is like an animal.

The world is changing fast with at an unimaginable speed, content, and design. The future of humanity and nature too is being re-engineered and re-shaped in most unpredictable manners and methods.

The heart of change at present and future has two threads: one is technology driven and the other one is nature or environment -driven. The heart of change is disruptive, dismantling existing mainstreams and creating new ones. The life of disruptive technologies is too short. The many marriages of innovations and disruptions, divorces and remarriages are posing many challenges and even opportunities. In this most unpredictable times of humanity, how to get ready to face future and its unimaginable challenges and unexpected opportunities knocking at our doorsteps.

Challenging Times Ahead

 Unpredictable and Challenging Times Ahead 

This Paradigm shift is opening floodgates for innovations and courageous change makers with workable ideas. In this brand new world, Innovative and disruptive Ideas are going to be the real capital. The capital is no more capital. Ideas and knowledge have become a true source of capital. A human brain is fertile land of idea germination and knowledge generation. One monetizing idea can create millions of jobs and billions of dollars.

In this superfast “Age of Ideas”, we have to live and sustain. The higher education sector has to cope up to meet these challenging times and future. We have to revamp and redesign every microelement of our system of higher education. The conventional structures and practices of higher education will not survive in this change-driven environment.

As Prof. Raghunath Mashelkar has rightly said: “Education is Future and Future is education”.

Are we, our universities and our colleges really prepared for that? Have we changed our mindset and outdated systems? Do we have futuristic approaches and policies in place? Are our brains engaged in brainstorming? Are we going to think of ourselves as “always good doers’’? Then you be ready to become a Nokia or Blackberry.

In Indian higher education context, Takshshila or Nalanda universities have been a part of our proud history. Do we have the passion to rewrite new history? Or we want to submerge ourselves in the pages of history by simply ignoring to understand the ground realities and build our future in the true sense? All these are relevant questions which will test our mettle in terms of our sustainability and future readiness.

Many Problems: Many Solutions

Many Problems: Many Solutions

  Humanity across the world is facing many problems, most of them are man-made and some of them born out of nature’s fury (for that too we human beings are responsible to greater extent) such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, volcanos, climate change, and greenhouse effects, deforestation, extreme exploitation of natural resources.

In terms of man-made calamities, we have wars, caste-cultural -religious violent conflicts, acute poverty condition of about 1 billion people, jobless growth, deterioration of human values, encroachments in forests, urbanization and diminishing fertile land.

Severe challenges humanity is going to face in near future for providing Food For All, Water For All, Employment For All, Education For All, Health For All. Eradication of all kinds of discriminations such as lack of social and gender justice, remove divides such as economic, social and digital divide. Therefore, the global community promotes “Inclusive Green Growth”(IGG), growth and prosperity with an inclusive & environment- friendly approach.

Which system will provide solutions to these many problems? In my opinion, only the higher education sector and it’s bright and well -trained brilliant brains are capable of providing solutions.

Is our higher education system is competent and equipped enough to undertake these tasks? Do we have our commitments for these larger missions of our planet? Are we not driven by business and profit goals rather than the global goals of sustainability of humanity and biodiversity, which are ingredients of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations? Does higher education sector possess the vision and mission in this direction?

These are the questions posed by present times before the global higher education community.

Education expert Francisco gives higher education sector a mandate as follows:

“We must think about preparing globally minded, internationally able, and locally engaged citizen. Higher education institutions must become role models as corporate and local citizens” (Marmolejo Francisco: 2018).

This type of mindset and institutional change is required. For that, we must understand and analyze the present status and design future pathways to provide solutions, in words of scientist Prof. Raghunath Mashelkar what we need is “Solution Engineering”. The essence of this discussion is are we nurturing students/youth, who are going become problem-Creators or Solution Providers?

We have to choose the right pathway for the future, otherwise, our future is going to be dark and bleak. Hence, we need to break away from conventional paths and develop new paths soothing to changing times, technologies and societies.

 Here, it is apt to mention views of

Duryck Schreuder, General Editor of Universities For A New World, Faculty of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney

“Much of the fate of their [developing] societies will be determined by the missions and work of higher education institutions. Universities will be central to the building of “Knowledge Nations“, they will also be critical for the less developed countries in which skills and professionals are still in short supply. Special concern has been a reflection on issues of human empowerment through higher education-involving both generic disciplines and professional and research programmes, as well as equity considerations (access, gender, inclusivity, and lifelong learning)”

Let’s join hands together to solve these many lying problems in the path of the Higher Education System of our country. I will discuss further more about the best possible solution in my opinion and also about what is Higher Education 4.0. in next article.

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Guest Author

Five Major Tips To Become A Better Professor In Business School





Dr. Pankaj Kumar

Ph.D. (Performance Management Systems), MBA (HR/OB)

Nowadays, there is the increasing number of Business Schools are opening in India, where many Professors are employed. Presenting yourself as a better professor is also a difficult task because every professor is capable to do it himself, but in a business school, mainly five tips should be taken so that we can present and impress well. So read on our article for Five Major Tips to become a Better Professor in Business School.

Perfect grip on our subjects

It is necessary for a competent professor to have knowledge of the subject related to teaching such as Human Resource Management, Marketing, Finance, Operation Management, Tourism Management, etc. When the professor enters in the class, then he/she can deal with the answer to the questions asked by the students. A professor’s knowledge of subject matter enables him to plan lessons and evaluate student’s assignments. To create a lesson plan, professors need to simplify their learning process so that they can access the facts and information about a particular lesson in a skilled manner to the students.

Know our teaching methods

The teaching methods used by a professor such as case studies, role-plays, field studies, lecture methods, assignments, simulations, research-based teaching, etc. For example, the case study teaching method is famous in Harvard Business School. As a management Professor, we should be well advised to implement the teaching methods used by us, and with the knowledge of our subject, we can easily explain our point of view to the students and to solve every problem related to the curriculum.

Always relate your knowledge with the current market

A Management Professor should also have knowledge of business in the market and outside the market, as well as what kind of business works? How to keep the products of the company, customers’ needs, and trends, benefits of that company, etc. If a professor is able to teach his students by connecting market knowledge with the planned content, then the student will be able to adjust himself easily after completing his studies in the future.

Read Also: Rs. 93,847.64 Crore Allocated For Education Sector In the Interim Budget

Engage in diverse conversation

As a professor, we should always be active in our field such as attending conferences, workshops, seminars and also organizing such programs in our university/ school and also should continue in research activities like to publish research papers time to time to update in our subjects, after that we should share it with our students.

Knowledge about your Digital Tools

As a professor, a lot of work such as a project, seminar, assignment, etc. are common. The professor should have good knowledge of technology and their instruments. Yes, because today people are living in the 21st century, which is a period of digitalization. In such a way the professor has a smartphone or tablet, and some good applications like Dropbox, Mendeley, Kindle, Google Scholar, etc., it is capable of delivering more knowledge in less time your students with their work. Professors need to have some technologies in hand to be more efficient and relevant.

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