Rupa Shah, former vice chancellor of SNDT University, talks about problems of higher education and their solutions. She is also a member of the think-tank set up by the state government to look into improving the standard of higher education.
What is the biggest problem with higher education today?
There is insufficient spread of areas of study available for a graduate. Our syllabus is not updated, recent or modern. In Mumbai, there is an urgent need for a credit system so that students from here can transfer to universities within the country and abroad and avail more opportunities. Also, there is a vast rural-urban divide while using the syllabus and examination pattern, making it an unfair playing field for both sides.
What is the solution?
It is no secret that the higher education is cash-strapped. So, the industry, instead of complaining about the quality of graduates and post graduates, should actively step in and tie up with universities to improve the standard. Allowing foreign institutions will increase the competition and force our homegrown institutions to pull up their socks. Teachers are complacent. They should publish (papers in reputed journals) or perish.
Where do you see higher education in Mumbai 10 years from now?
To be honest, I see it nowhere at the rate we are going. We are comfort oriented. So unless some drastic changes are brought in, we will continue to deteriorate. The major reason will be disinterested teachers. Why are we so afraid of being judged by our students? Let a teacher’s performance be assessed by the students.