Private Institutes

Private Higher Education Institutes: Necessary or Not?

Ramesh Chaudhary

Prof. Ramesh Choudhary

Vice-Chancellor of AP Goyal Shimla University
Post-Doc. from Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom
Organized and edited the proceedings of 11 International conferences in association with IEEE, IE(I), CSI, IETE, Springer, and Inderscience.

Dr. Ramesh Choudhary tells us about the pros and cons of the Private Higher Education Institution and talks about its dynamic trend in the education sector.

Sujata Mehta: We all are noticing a rapid increase in the count of private higher institutes. What’s the reason behind this?

Dr. Ramesh Choudhary: The boom in the number of private institutes is caused due to a variety of reasons. If we look back just a couple of years ago, private higher education centers weren’t as common and didn’t really hold a lot of value but that has changed immensely because of the growth in population, education system trends and government policies.

According to me, the biggest reason for this boom is how the Government has not been able to ensure the working of non-private institution effectively.  India has around 4100 institutions but they are not able to provide quality education and meet the standards. The condition of our technical institutions is poor. Many of them are on the verge of closing since students are not coming and the college administration is not working properly. These reasons have led to a significant rise in private Institutions.

I feel the Government has not been able to frame adequate education plans and policies. For instance, The Government declared to limit the licensing of private institutions but in reality, they are marketing licenses. I think it is a jam pool of Licensing Raj and instead, on cutting down licenses, the government is distributing license to undeserving private players. 

Sujata Mehta: Kindly share the growth statistics of the last decade with us. How much percent its more than in the last few decades?

Dr. Ramesh Choudhary: Over the past three years we have seen an impeccable increase in the number of private institutions. According to a source, there has been an increase of 50% of the total number of private universities in India.  In 2016, there were 600 private universities but a report for the year 2019, the number of universities has increased to 900. 

Private Institutes

Sujata Mehta: In your opinion is this mushrooming of private institutes overall benefiting our Education System.

Dr. Ramesh Choudhary: In my opinion, the private institution has both positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, private institutions provide opportunities to a lot of students but on the negative side, there are people opening up institutions for making a profit.

In India, our education system is controlled by the University Grants Commission(UGC), HRD ministry and other educational regulating bodies. According to our Education system, Education is a not for profit entity but on the contrary, this statement has become fundamentally wrong in today’s time. The government is inviting private companies for running not-for-profit entities. So, I believe this approach is wrong. 

It costs around 200 crores to construct an educational institution. So, why would a person spend 200 crores for a charity without seeking personal benefits and a good return on investment?

The government is not providing a license to the deserving ones and policies have not been framed properly. The private players have been harassed by the government too. Private players are scapegoats and have been misguided by the government which makes private institutes harmful for the Indian higher education system.

Sujata Mehta: If not then put some light upon its long term consequences we can experience soon.

Dr. Ramesh Choudhary: Higher education institutions are responsible for transferring the required skill set for the industry to the students. Mushrooming of private higher education institutions has failed to inculcate those skills among students. They have also failed in providing quality learning to the student, which is the most essential part of higher education.

The institutions are solely focused on teaching rather than making students learn. This is leading to developing inadequate skills for a job among aspirants which is creating a lot of frustration among them. It has also contributed to large unemployment in the society.

Private Institutes

The problem is that these Institutions are not giving them adequate exposure required for a job in different fields. For instance, if we need a professional in the agriculture industry and we are producing mechanical engineers, so that is also a problem. In the same way, it is a problem if we need a hotel management professional but we are creating only management professionals. 

The institutions need to realize that they are creating professionals who will be absorbed in various companies in the future. So they need to train them and prepare them in accordance with the vast range of requirements demanded by companies for providing jobs.

Sujata Mehta: How we can prevent spoiling the quality of our education system by so many private institutes around? What steps we can take to suppress this growth?

Private Institutes

Dr. Ramesh Choudhary: There are many ways we can prevent private education, few of which are: 

  • The government should be able to learn and adapt to newer trends from other nation’s education systems. For instance, the USA has a marking system for categorizing higher educational institutions 
  • There are still some good institutions existing that are helping in transforming the higher education scenario in India since they were formed with a vision of providing quality education and are meeting expectations of society. Private Institution owners can be inspired by them.
  • The government also needs to understand that when they are inviting private players, they should minimize regulations on them in order to form a mutually beneficial relationship with them.
  • There is no need for over-regulation. The government should not predetermine the fees, land, etc, they should facilitate and encourage healthy competition among various private players.
  • The government should not only support the growth of government institutions but also contribute to the growth of private institutions to some extent. For instance, the government can provide proper funding for conducting and promoting research in various higher educational institutions.
  • The government should work as an enabler instead of being a regulator because, at present, the Government is only regulating private players and not motivating them to provide quality education.
  • The government has created many policies now but the main problem is that they need to change their conceptualization and promote educational collaborations. 

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