Transforming India’s Higher Education
India has made considerable progress by improving its Gross enrolment ratio for tertiary education from 21.5% in 2012-13 to 26.3% in 2018-19. The government looks to take it to a higher at 30% by 2020. But, if one compares it to China’s rate of progress, the country pushed its GER from 39% to 51%. India’s human capital base for research stands at 0.45%. However, India has made significant progress in R&D capacity and overtook Japan as the fourth largest producer of science & engineering research. India’s article count has gone up from 27000 to 11000 between 2003 and 2016. This shows the rise in enrolment in science education at graduate level in India.
The need here is to ensure that the number of science graduates receive the critical support to enter post graduation and get opportunities in research.
India needs to focus on producing quality engineering graduates who become part of the R&D ecosystem. Training and course content needs to be revoked at, else the country will continue to have the same proportion of unemployable engineers.
The Government’s spending here is essential which also needs to be affordable and accessible. Lack of diversity in skilling and employment is holding back development of human capital. Experts recommend that higher education institutions in villages and semi-urban areas of India need to focus on programmes which will skill the youth for the needs of the local industry. The Draft National Education Policy recommends consolidation of higher education space, where standalone institutes become part of multi-disciplinary universities and colleges. There is a need for greater academic and financial autonomy in higher institutions.