Prof. Yaj Medury, Vice Chancellor of Bennet University, spoke to Careers360 on the various challenges roiling India’s higher education domain. Prof. Medury also tells us why India fares badly when it comes to international rankings. Read below the complete interview with Vice Chancellor of Bennet University.
Careers360: How come India has fallen off the high pedestal of being the land of the first global university to what it is now?
Prof. Medury: It would not be fair to say that given that India was the land to give the world some of the first global university - Nalanda and Taxila which were the pioneers in the field of education in the bygone eras attracting students from all over the world because they were best at doing what they were doing – being trend setters! That, precisely, is where our problem lies. Unlike a Nalanda or a Taxila University that chose to be leaders by revolutionizing education, we are now limiting ourselves from the larger vision of bringing changes in our education system. The problem does not lie alone in the Indian universities, but with the basic mapping of Indian higher education system which delivers output in the form of good ‘followers’ instead of laying focus on creation of leaders, original thinkers/innovators and risk takers. The bias of the current system is on functional skills, ability to lead and also a thought process that challenges the norms.
Careers360: India fares badly when it comes to international rankings? Why is it so?
Prof. Medury: That again is a subjective statement. India’s education system has been a topic of debate for a while now. Although with the IITs, IIMs, ISB and IISc marking their presence in global ranking, majority of the institutes and universities here have had a remarkably poor run while facing global recognitions. In striking contrast, our Asian neighbour China has over 25 universities listed in top 100 global educational institution ranking. So, that negates the opinion about rankings being skewed towards universities in the West. We cannot expect a global recognition unless we meet the global standards.
Careers360: What steps are needed to make it to the league of world-class universities?
Prof. Medury: We need to adopt to create a global culture to have world-class educational institutions, borrow ideas in pedagogy from the best institutions around the world and move from a top-down mode of education to a more organic culture of learning. We cannot afford to be mediocre performers if we are aiming to become a major global player. We need to deliver excellence by tapping in the country’s intellectual capital in forms of powerful faculty and delivering and instilling their scientific knowledge to students of deserving calibre, and at the same time, becoming a major draw for international students facilitating global recognition.
Careers360: What is the mantra to bring India’s higher education up to international standards?
Prof. Medury: The last decade saw several governments expanding and consolidating universities and actually benefiting from both tremendously. Where expansion results in establishing of new universities bringing in new collaborations, new programmes and new infrastructure, consolidation strengthens the existing ones by increment of shared resources, revenue and so on. We cannot for certain choose one on another since optimization of all available resource is inevitable.
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