Careers360 interviews Dr. Anup K Singh, Director General, Nirma University who speaks on the various challenges that India’s higher education system faces and the ways to overcome them. In this interview, Dr. Anup shares his views on how India can make a mark in high quality research publications.
Careers360: Why are Indian universities not at par with world-class universities?
Dr. Anup: Higher education system in India is still evolving. We inherited it from the British. It was suited to their needs. Additionally, we failed as a nation to reform our university system and provide sufficient succour to it. The traditional system of affiliating university in India could not compete with the well-structured and innovative universities operating in the West. It is important to note that world-class universities have vast resources and a rich talent pool. We lack both. Generally, world-class universities are rated high because of the quality research they do. The Indian system never encouraged universities to do high quality research. Rather, research was concentrated in the CSIR labs and other governmental institutions. It is high time that universities are provided with sufficient incentives to do research and to promote scholarship.
Careers360: What unique academic practices do you follow? Any key initiatives planned?
Dr. Anup: Nirma University is a modern, innovative university and follow the best practices to add value to its various stakeholders. Among other practices, we follow:
Adoption of outcome based education
Focus on experiential learning through active learning, studios, project work, moot courts, field studies, etc.
We stress on assessment as learning and intertwine learning and assessment with the educational outcomes.
The university emphasizes high usage of ICT in the delivery of instruction.
Finally, we also value research, and provide sufficient resources to our faculty and students to conduct research.
Careers360: How can India make a mark in high quality research publications?
Dr. Anup: India has to go a long way in promoting research in higher education institutions. The most important step is to establish high quality doctoral programmes so that we are able to produce good researchers in large numbers. In addition, it is imperative that young faculty should be provided with sufficient time and resources to focus on research. International exposure and networking can be highly useful to create a culture of high-end research.
Careers360: How can India’s higher education system be more robust?
Dr. Anup: India’s higher education system is at a crossroads. It faces the challenges of conducting high quality teaching and research, and is also pressed by severe regulations from both State and Central Government institutions. It also faces the challenges of attracting talent, mobilizing resources and creating world-class infrastructure. Unfortunately, the government educational institutions are favoured by government agencies and step motherly treatment is meted to the private institutions. As far as research and support is concerned, there should not be any discrimination between the two. The central government has to come out with incentives to increase the efficacy of higher education and also each State Governments should develop mechanisms to promote at least two world-class institutions. Only hard work and creative imagination would establish leadership in higher education.
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