To become a knowledge economy in the true sense of the term our country needs many more quality higher education institutes (over and above the ones that already exist) in the private sector. This is because the government aided higher education colleges in the league of the IIT’s and IIM’s manage to accommodate only a very small percentage of meritorious candidates every year.
The top ranked government colleges score high on the credibility factor owing to their history and lineage of funding. However, this is not quite the case in the private education turf. There are some graduate and postgraduate colleges in the private sector that impart professional courses which are at par with the reputed government colleges. But these colleges somehow do not command the same reckoning as their government counterparts. “This translates to a huge challenge for students as they are often at a loss in terms of choosing the right institute. The need of the hour is simple – the benchmarks of quality need to be formally established in the private sector and this can be done through incisive assessment by objective bodies,” says Premchand Palety, chief executive of Cfore a research organisation that conducted the HT Campus Survey of Private Institutes in Delhi NCR.
Elaborating on the objectives of the survey, he says, “This survey was envisaged to raise the standards of private institutes by promoting healthy competition.
Further, this survey is intentioned to be a source of credible information.”
The perceptual and objective survey in Delhi/NCR was conducted to identify top professional colleges in six areas, namely engineering, management, animation, fashion technology, hotel management and media and mass communication. The perceptual survey was conducted among 3016 faculty members, recruiters and final year students using a structured questionnaire. Respondents were asked to rate the institutes that they were familiar with on a ten point scale against four broad parameters, namely intellectual capital, industry interface, infrastructure and facilities and placements. Questionnaires for objective data were sent to 201 colleges, out of which 104 responded. “The validation exercise was carried by the Cfore team which cross-checked the data by visiting the campuses. Veracity of information was also checked by mystery auditing method,” explains Palety
As per the objective survey, marks were allotted to individual colleges on specific sub parameters by considering the topper for that parameter. “For instance if marks for median salary is 25 and the highest median salary offered is R10 lakh per annum, then marks allotted to an institute where median salary offered was Rs. 5 lakhper annum would be 12.5,” says Palety
The aggregate of perceptual and objective scores were added to achieve final scores for each institute.
The top five institutes in engineering and management and top institutes each in animation, hotel management, fashion technology and mass communication were thus filtered for awards.
An interesting trend that emerged was that there is a huge gap between the top colleges and the others. Also in private institutes the systems and processes to create new knowledge is lacking.
Another disturbing trend that emerged is that institutes imparting vocational courses (particularly animation) do not have full fledged faculty.
“Further, owing to sluggish economic growth in the last quarter of 2012 there has been a gradual decline in placements of private colleges by 20 to 30 %,” sums Palety.