Short Note: Reforms in Higher Education in India

Published: June 27, 2019

The Higher Education in India is need of reforms and there are several measures currently ongoing for course correction.

What are the challenges in improving Higher Education in India?

  • Multiple fake and unauthorized colleges and universities have sprung up in various parts of the country. They lure unwitting people and charge hefty fees for a worthless & unrecognized degree.
  • Multiple academic positions are either empty or occupied by contractual staff. This inhibits academic output and teaching.
  • Lack of research mindset and output in most universities & institutions in the country.
  • Prevalence of predatory publishers (who charge a high amount of money) to publish fraudulent/non-peer reviewed research.
  • Unethical practices by senior researchers in publishing their work. When the fraud is caught, the published work is retracted and this lowers Indian research credibility on the global stage.

What steps are being taken?

  • The AICTE and UGC both now have to maintain a separate list of unapproved institutes and fake universities on the websites, respectively.
  • The Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry which has asked academic institutions initiated proceedings to fill all backlog vacancies in six months.
  • To further research, the Government has launched new schemes like IMPRINT.
  • Scholarships of Ph.D. students have been increased to allow them to better focus on research.
  • The rule to publish papers before Ph.D. thesis submission may go. This will allow students to better focus on long term research goals.
  • Ph.D. degrees awarded in the previous 10 years may be re-examined to establish the scientific worth of the work.
  • Strict punishments are being planned for fellows engaged in fraudulent research practices.

The Big Picture

Without an all-round focus and deliberations on education, it is not possible to reform the sector. A committee for Draft National Education Policy established by HRD and chaired by Dr. K. Kasturirangan submitted a report which calls for an all-around reform of education in India. The Policy provides for reforms at all levels of education from school to higher education. It seeks to increase the focus on early childhood care, reform the current exam system, strengthen teacher training, and restructure the education regulatory framework. It also seeks to set up a National Education Commission, increase public investment in education, strengthen the use of technology and increase focus on vocational and adult education, among others.

 

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