India’s higher education system should be reconstructed, says vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu
The country’s higher education system should be “re-imagined and reconstructed” if we want to tap the potential of our burgeoning young population and make India the skill capital of the world, vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu said Sunday.
Our universities are faced with challenges ranging from inadequate funds, teacher shortage, to falling enrollment levels, he said. A strong, accomplished and professional management body for universities coupled with adequate funding is the need of the hour, the Vice President said.
We are endowed with a demographic dividend unmatched by any other country with 65 % our population below 35 years, Naidu said. If we are to tap their full potential, “we must fundamentally re-imagine our approach to higher education”, Naidu, who launched the Krea University at his residence, added.
It is a cause for concern that India does not have enough high quality researchers, and that the number of those pursuing PhDs and entering research posts is declining, Naidu said. The vice president noted that India still lagged behind global standards. In 2018, no Indian university figured in the top 100 in the QS World University Ranking, he pointed out.
Indian Universities face problems starting from shortage of funds to inadequate teachers to falling enrollment numbers. The profusion of more rewarding career choices, lack of adequate facilities for post graduate education and the retirement of the current generation of professors and teachers has created a staff crunch, he said.
The gross enrolment rate of college-aged people in tertiary education is also a cause for grave concern. The country’s GER in higher education was 25.2% in 2016-17 compared to China’s 43.39 and USA’s 85.8%, he said.
The “indulgent” system which regulates higher education in India has also led to the mushrooming of hundreds of privately set-up colleges offering poor quality education to turn a profit, he said.
“After the invasion of India, we were under the colonial rule for long. And that has affected our growth and thinking. We have started forgetting the past. The great traditions, ethics, values which our forefathers propagated, preached and practiced. That is what is lacking in our education system also,” Naidu said.
“I remember when I was a student, we used to have a moral science class. There is only science now, no morals. That’s the worry,” Naidu said.
Expressing concerns about employability, Naidu said many graduates struggled to find work. But employability is rising, albeit slowly, he said.
India has every opportunity to be the future ‘skill capital’ of the world, Naidu said.
The objective of a university should not just be restricted to imparting quality education, but to ensure all round development of an individual, Naidu said. Krea University, which is based in Sri City in Andhra Pradesh, is the brain child of eminent personalities like former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, mathematician Manjula Bhargava, John Etchemendy of Stanford etc and is backed by industrialists such as Anand Mahindra, Kiran Majumdar Shaw, Sajjan Jindal and Anu Aga.
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