Gujarat gets top billing in UK higher education report

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Dec 20, 2014 07:15 IST

Gujarat with its ‘stable political climate and economic environment’ is one of five states identified by the British Council for partnerships as India’s growing higher education emerges as one of the largest in the world.

A report titled ‘The Indian States’ presented at a conference in Brighton notes that the expansion and reform of higher education will increasingly be driven by states as they get more autonomy from the Centre.

“There has never been a better time to collaborate with India in higher education”, the report says, providing a detailed analysis of the sector, with a focus on Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Punjab and Karnataka, where conditions are seen to be ‘more favourable’ for collaboration.

“In broad terms, of the five states examined, Gujarat appeared particularly proactive when it came to international collaboration; others, while encouraging, seem to have a more reactive/opportunistic approach to internationalisation”, the report says.

On Gujarat, the report says that the state government is ‘proactive’ in its effort to internationalise higher education.

“While the Gujarat Government offers complete autonomy to its state institutions to collaborate at their own levels, it is keen to attract international partners to develop and exchange higher education faculty”.

“It is willing to fund eminent international scholars to go to Gujarat and teach courses and other shorter duration programmes in its higher education institutions”, the report says.

Some major Gujarat-based institutes of higher education are Indian Institute of Management, National Institute of Design, Gujarat National Law University, Mudra Institute of Communication and pandit Deendaya Petroleum University.

The analysis identifies impediments to international collaboration in India as lack of funding, quality assurance mechanisms, mismatch in curricula and academic calendar, quality, availability of faculty, visa issues in inviting international faculty to India and a restrictive regulatory environment.

The report estimates that India’s higher education system is the second largest in the world in terms of enrolment and the largest in terms of number of institutions, with 29.6 miillion students enrolled in over 48,500 institutions.

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