Lack of quality education and poor employability scenario in India are serious challenges posing the nation for years. India’s higher education system currently is catered to by over 800 universities in the public and the private sector. However, the employability assessments by different agencies show lack of employability in the majority of the higher education produce.
Ideally, higher education should provide good quality education leading to employability, but the current scenario of poor employability has been of concern for the different regulators for every stream of education under the overall superintendence of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the State and Central Government.
Undoubtedly, the regulator is mandated to steer the higher education through the creation of a suitable framework, but sometimes the initiatives taken by these regulators seem to attempt for micromanagement of higher education institutions.
The Need for Intervention of Regulators
The universities in India are set by the legislature at the state or central level through their respective acts with delineation to work for the achievement of wide-ranging objectives as prescribed therein for imparting the best quality education, research and outreach. The universities in the country are categorized under different sections prescribed by UGC within the provisions of its Act and are entitled to the commensurate recognition and assistance. Every higher education institution has its vision and mission under the realm of creating virtuous educated ones, but the inadequacy in the quality of students passing out from them indicates miscarriage in the process.
This failure in teaching-learning quality inexorably seeks the intervention of the regulators. Frequent notifications and amendments in the framework applicable to higher education institutions is the consequence of ramification efforts done at the level of regulators. The universities blessed with autonomy for devising their teaching-learning processes and adapting all measures for rolling out the best through their acts of incorporation should be monitored only at the end product level.
Market forces will not allow the survival of non-performers
It is amply clear from the huge closure of the institutions, and the diversity brought in the courses by them that the market forces will not allow the survival of non-performers and only relevant as well as productive programs leading to employment with sound knowledge base will survive.
The seekers of higher education have been exhibiting varying trend, and the well-performing institutions are only capable of realising admissions up to their capacity. Any endeavor for filling seats with deception in one or other form at the back is being sensed by the students in due course, and the seats remain unfilled. Under these circumstances, it is obvious that the institutions will themselves reap the dividends in the form of growth or decline and the same is evident nowadays.
Brand values cannot be sustained merely through artifice
At present, the brand values of the institutions cannot be sustained merely through artifice, rather constant care and enrichment of programs and teaching-learning processes are inevitably required for keeping the brand intact. The discriminators present with individual institutions have to offer them an edge over the others through the distinguishable competence of the students passing out from different Institutions. The acts of incorporation of respective Universities offer them sufficient freedom for devising all possible mechanism to ensure transparency, quality and standard of education in them.
Urgent requirements for ensuring job-oriented education
The commitment of regulators praiseworthy
The commitment of regulators for ensuring the accreditation of all higher education providers is laudable as it will be impelling the institutions for bringing positive changes in context of the prescribed minimum standards and shun the student deceit at any stage.
Universities in private sector and public sector have their own advantages and limitations in terms of hiring human resource, governance of the institutions, pace of bringing in the changes in programs/courses/teaching processes as per the need of time, degree of commitment for student welfare measures etc.
Under the specified regulations for ensuring quality and relevance of the education imparted with the guiding principles of access, equity and excellence at every stage, the motives of every education provider are ideally based on the promise of service. But the total cost of education being accrued from the students in case of private sector institution and the grant-in-aid supporting the cost of education in case of public sector institutions creates reasonable disparity in the costs of education and governing model in different types of institutions.
What is motivating students for higher education in private institutions
The emergence of certain private sector institutions with good world ranking corroborates the fact that the faster and effective deliveries with learning and research ambience in private sector institutions have been motivating the students for seeking admission in them, though at undergraduate level and this aspect needs to be improved in the public financed institutions.
India may miss entry to World’s best institutions
The uncertainty creeping in owing to too many notifications and frequent changes in the regulatory framework is likely to cause erosion in the functional autonomy of institutions irrespective of their type and may lower the probability of Indian institutions figuring in the world’s best institutions.
For qualitative improvement in education, there is a need to create an eco-system which behaves responsibly with commitment, integrity, transparency, and is self-corrective so that only excellence gets promoted.
(The writer is founder Vice Chancellor of Madan Mohan Malaviya University of Technology, Gorakhpur, UP. Currently, he is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Harcourt Butler Technical University, Kanpur)