Prof. Arun Kumar Grover, Vice Chancellor, Panjab University in an interview with Careers360 explores the various challenges faced by India’s higher education. In the interview, Prof. Grover shares his views on the role of Indian Universities.
Read this interview to know what the Panjab University VC says on higher education scenario in the county and lack of funding.
Careers360:How do you look at higher education scenario in the country?Prof.A.K. Grover: Higher Education has become a compulsion for any nation, particularly for a nation as large as India in which the younger population is a larger section of the total population. People who are controlling the economy of the world will go wherever there is skill. The target for GER in higher education is 30 percent and it is because this is global average and educating people in India has become a compulsion to make them part of the economy.
The new education policy is not addressing the issue of faculty shortage; the problem is how you will fund the higher education. State governments are not giving money to universities; these universities cannot generate funds from students, as they do not have the paying capacity. So when the universities do not have money how will they recruit faculties? Maharashtra government said that the salary and pension of teachers will be given by the state government which is not the case with other states like Punjab, Haryana or Himachal Pradesh at the same time Maharashtra does not allows new appointments so there is shortage of teachers there. While in case of other states there is shortage because universities do not have the money to pay teachers, so faculty shortage is at both the places but reasons are different.
Prof. Arun Kumar Grover, Vice Chancellor, Panjab University
Panjab University has to first stand the national competition, and then it has to stand international competition. At present none of the universities from India is prepared to face international competition. We will never be able to face international competition for next 50 years unless we understand what our competitors are doing. The top universities of the world not only generate knowledge but also disseminate it.
Careers360:Why is the higher education sector facing funding issue? Is it because education is in the concurrent list? Prof.A.K. Grover: The funding issue is another complex problem as the UGC says that it would give 80 percent of the increased salary, which happen after every Pay Commission review and rest 20 percent the state governments will have to give. There is also rider on that on part of the UGC that only universities following all the guidelines will get funding from it.
Nobody is answering the fundamental question. Let’s take example of other services like police, armed forces, civil servants, municipal workers, doctors, engineers, etc. So if the government has money to pay salary to these people then why do they have problem in giving salary to teachers? Will central government take the responsibility of paying increased salary to the teaching community?
Careers360:Do you agree with the view that Indian universities are just teaching universities? Prof.A.K. Grover: Yes Indian universities are teaching universities engaged in undergraduate education, while the universities with whom we have competition are engaged in postgraduate teaching and PhD programmes.
Even JNU, which I believe can compete at international level, does not have a structured graduate school programme. The agenda should be knowledge generation through high quality input from the undergraduate colleges. There has to be a model within India, JNU is the only university in India which tries to get the best of the undergraduate to enroll in the PG programmes, this is the reason their NAAC rating is 3.8.
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