Careers360 interviewed Prof. Furqan Qamar,Secretary General of Association of Indian Universities (AIU) who discusses the problems of India’s higher education.Read this interview of the AIU Secretary General to know his opinion on MHRD’s Ranking Framework and New Education Policy.
Careers360:How do you look at the role of the AIU now?Prof. Furqan: In the changing scenario as well as in all scenarios AIU being representatives of all the universities in the country has to play a very important role in terms of providing inputs to policy formation in higher education and in coordinating activities across the universities. AIU has the role to deliberate various issues and challenges that higher education is facing and arrive at what is the best. So, AIU has to play a very important role be making higher education more inclusive, expand and also promoting excellence in higher education.
Careers360:What is your opinion on MHRD’s new National Ranking Framework? Prof. Furqan: I was also the member of a committee on the National Ranking Framework particularly for general higher education. What we need in our country is to provide the students and parents all the possible information about universities, programmes, intake, fee structure, and quality so that they could take an informed decision. Earlier, MHRD had taken a view that very college and university will provide certain critical information on its website. The National Ranking Framework is a tool in that direction based on certain critical parameters; they provide what is the relative position of a particular university so that when students are applying, they can use this information. From that point of view it is good.
Prof. Furqan Qamar, Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities (AIU)
We hope that the New Education Policy would benchmark the policy of the government with respect to education in a global context, because today’s point of reference is global. We hope that they will focus on quality and excellence and with regard to higher education they will give due consideration to autonomy of higher education institutions.
Careers360:What are your expectations from the New Education Policy?Prof. Furqan: Last time the education policy was made it was in 1986-92, since then the education sector has seen drastic changes. Therefore it’s a good move that we are thinking of bringing in a New Education Policy. We hope that the New Education Policy would benchmark the policy of the government with respect to education in a global context, because today’s point of reference is global.
Careers360:Universities are facing shortage of funding and faculty. Will the new policy address these shortages? Prof. Furqan: Both of these things needs to be addressed and to an extent it is also true that both are interrelated as you do not have teachers because the positions have not been created. In terms of funding there has to be some commitment, at the national level there is commitment that 6% of the GDP will be allocated to education and one-third of that would go to higher education, so far we have not attained this target, but there is no such commitment from the state governments. Time has come where the states should also commit that a certain percentages of the state domestic product will be allocated for education.
Third thing is that more than the number what is required is the quality of teachers. Recruiting teachers as part- timers, guest faculty or on contractual basis and later you regularize them then that is not a good recipe either for attracting or retaining the quality. So, we are of the view that wherever the positions are there it should be advertised so that the best available talent could be attracted. The selection process should be so robust that you will be able to select the best available people.
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