Jamia VC: "Accessible, affordable education is must"
Dr. Talat Ahmad , 27 Aug 2014

THE education sector in India, among other domains, needs revitalization to realize the objective of becoming a developed country. An enhanced budgetary outlay from 4% to 6% of GDP would not only raise the gross enrolment ratio to 25% (comparable to China’s) but would also lead to expansion of infrastructure in a big way. We need to strengthen the regulations and monitoring of professional institutions. Education should become accessible and affordable. Special focus should be put on skill–development. English education should be made accessible to ensure employability and economic empowerment. This will help us create a knowledge society drawing its strength from an educated skilled pool of workers required to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

 

Reputed business houses must be incentivized to invest in education. It should be accompanied by rigorous monitoring and regulation. Restructuring of higher education, becoming synonymous with a paradigm shift, must aim at upgrading quality of human resources and also at engendering critical assessment of society marked by objectivity and humane considerations. 

 

A National Commission on Education should be set up to devise ways to reform and revive the sector to make India a knowledge hub. The higher and professional education should be oriented not only to facilitate rapid development of the society but also the lot of the last man in line. The institutions of higher learning should enjoy autonomy and thereby betray greater accountability.  Raising the standard of education and research and restoring the credibility of the regulatory bodies would ensure transparency and meritocracy. 

 

Moving to a differentiated higher education system might be strategically desirable in order to create ‘islands of excellence’ and ‘pools of skill development’. It is important to transform some existing universities into ‘islands of excellence’ to generate intellectual capital and metamorphose many into comprehensive universities and specialized institutions together with an array of high quality and highly accessible colleges that would deliver economic and social value. It implies that more national and state universities are needed to cater to increasing demand of higher education across the country. This system of institutional differentiation and distinctiveness to cater to a diverse body of students and the varied needs of employers will not only integrate us with the knowledge economy but also create catalytic role models for other institutions in respect of governance, infrastructure, faculty and curricula. This inevitable differentiation should not reinforce and perpetuate the structural inequalities evident in our society but rather aim at dismantling them.

We need to strengthen the regulations and monitoring of professional institutions. Education should become accessible and affordable. Special focus should be put on skill-development

One expects an enabling framework to be in place that promotes tertiary educational institutions to be more innovative and responsive to the requirements of the knowledge economy and the dynamic labour market for advanced human resource. A robust education system would attract corporate investments, improve quality of higher education by accentuating on research and faculty development and invite not only investments in the existing institutions but also for setting up new institutions and develop new knowledge clusters.

 

Such institutional arrangements are to be put in place to bring about higher education reform. 

 

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