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‘A lot needs to be done to achieve global benchmarks’

Rohin Kapoor, senior manager, education practice, Deloitte, talks about the need to streamline the role of regulators and increase focus on research

education Updated: Jun 11, 2014 16:59 IST
Ayesha Banerjee

Rohin Kapoor, senior manager, education practice, Deloitte, talks about the need to streamline the role of regulators and increase focus on research

What are your views on the Supreme Court’s recent order that the AICTE will be in charge of the approval process of technical institutions for 2014-15?
AICTE has been the primary ­regulator for technical education in India with decades of experience in this field. With the evolving education ­sector regulatory environment, the ­government needs to clearly define the role of regulators for the benefit of students and parents.

Do you feel autonomous institutes have a greater degree of freedom to forge alliances with the industry?
AICTE has been promoting a number of programmes to ­encourage ­autonomous institutions to forge alliances with the industry such as Industry Institute Partnerships Program (IIPP), National Facilities in Engineering and Technology with Industrial Collaboration (NAFETIC) amongst others.

What are the constraints that government regulated authorities face? What needs to be done to rectify it?
Under the constitution of India, the education sector is on the ­concurrent list, making it both a central and state subject. As a result, there are a number of regulatory authorities with overlapping powers and at times conflicting regulations. The need of the hour is to streamline the role and responsibilities of all the regulators in consonance with all the ­stakeholders to avoid unnecessary confusion.

Where do B-schools and technical institutes in India stand today in terms of research and innovation?
The Indian B-schools and technical institutions need to significantly increase their focus on research and innovation. This issue is not only ­limited to technical institutions but is also a matter of deep concern in our university system. As per UNESCO, India’s share of world researchers in 2007 was a dismal 2% as against 20% in the case of US and China. The government needs to increase its focus and funding to encourage research and innovation in educational institutes.

Are institutes doing enough to forge alliances with the industry?
The steps taken by Indian ­institutions to forge industry alliances have increased in the recent past. However, a lot needs to be done in order to achieve the benchmark set by global ­institutions, in terms of ­collaborating with the industry in areas of new course offerings, ­specialised ­curricula, faculty ­training and ­sponsored research.

What can industries and institutes gain from forging alliances? What should the government do to encourage such tie-ups? Collaborations which you feel have really worked for all ­stakeholders?
It’s a win-win situation for everyone. The institutions obtain funding for scholarships/research, opportunity to access industry resources, gain ­specialised knowledge and secure placements for their students. On the other hand, the industry gets access to the “best of minds”, recommend modifications to the syllabus, suggest specialised industry-specific training for students and pick the most ideal students for employment.The ­industry can also partner with ­academic ­institutions to establish teacher training institutes to address the issue of shortage of quality faculty.

The government should promote such collaborations, in partnership with industry associations, through various schemes and programmes.

The UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) is one such collaboration which has been extremely successful in forging ­alliances between Indian and British educational institutions and industry representatives.