Higher education in India: Adopt the best practices to become world class, says Dr Balvinder Shukla, Vice Chancellor, Amity University
Dr. Balvinder Shukla, 15 May 2017

Dr. Balvinder Shukla, Vice Chancellor, Amity University spoke to Careers360 about the factors that make a university world class and what Indian institutions need to focus to attain such heights. Dr. Shukla also stressed on making a mark in high quality research publication.

The world class universities are the ones which are extensively engaged in high quality research, either fundamental or research with industrial applications or both, with full government support. In India, we lack sufficient research grants and overall R&D expenditure is less than one percent of the GDP which is much less as per OECD standards. Further, universities maintain a different identity than scientific organizations and both are controlled and governed by separate set of Ministries like MHRD for universities and Ministry of Science & Technology for scientific institutions like CSIR. Besides, the Ministry of Defence controls research grants for DRDO labs. 


Moreover, many Indian institutions are very young vis-à-vis the top universities. Some of the top universities in the world are centuries old and hence they have accumulated the cumulative strength of knowledge, generations of successful alumni working across the globe whereas very few top institutions in India are some decades old.


Endowment culture is also missing in India, while in top universities across the world, the successful alumni donate generously for infrastructure development and research funding for the universities. In India, major spending on higher education is done by government or promoters of private universities. However, all public and private universities are making efforts to adopt best global practices to come at par with world-class universities.


To make higher education system robust, it requires nurturing with solid, revised foundations towards teaching-learning pedagogy, which should be learner-centric. India’s higher education system can become more robust by adopting outcome-based education and giving flexible choice-based credit options to the students. Partnership between universities, professional bodies and industry is very much necessary for enhancing employability and entrepreneurial skills and for creating new avenues for research funding and technology transfer.


To make a mark in the area of high quality research publications, we need to create a research culture among our universities by providing more funding for cutting edge research and for publication. Top universities in the world put more emphasis on quality research and are being measured by publications in Scopus and Web of Science indexed journals and citations par paper. We need to measure the reputation of a university by its research output rather than its placement output. Recently, NIRF has given lot of weightage to research output in its ranking methodology.


Universities must evolve a mechanism to generate revenue through intellectual capital in academia such as technology transfer, consultancy and training. It will also expose academia to emerging industry practices. A balanced view between teaching, research, training, consultancy and technology transfer is necessary to prevent the threat of commercialization.


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