sulabh swatchh bharat

Monday, 19-February-2018

SETTING STANDARDS

Developing higher education system to international standards is among government’s top agendas.

Co-founder of Sun Microsystems, CEO of Adobe, Co-founder & CEO of Slideshare, CTO of Cisco – what’s common among these? You might have guessed it by now. Yes, they are all Indians. This ‘powerful Indians at Silicon Valley’ list is on top of already famous Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella, CEO of Google and Microsoft respectively. As much as we would like to take pride in their achievements, the sad reality is that despite their talent, they needed foreign shores to claim their success.

WORLD-CLASS HIGHER EDUCATION

India has been a laggard in higher education and research. Due to this very reason, almost quarter million Indian youth leave for foreign shores, with US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand being their favorites. As India is getting ‘younger’, the issue of brain drain needs to be tackled strategically to avoid the probable fallouts. Government has been actively pushing for reforms in the higher education space to bring it par to the global standards. Years of inertia and sluggishness requires a comprehensive push. Recent moves by government in higher education space have set the ball rolling.

The budget for 2016-17 proposed that twenty universities will be developed as ‘world-class institutions’. They will be given more autonomy and freedom from regulatory regime to develop their course structures and decide their admission procedures. In order to improve the present quality of higher education in the country, the government has initiated several programmes. Ucchatar Avishkar Yojna (UAY) and Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT) would be targeting institute-industry linkages and research in science-engineering-technology paradigm to ‘enable, empower and embolden the nation for inclusive growth and self-reliance.’

Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) has been approved to give a major push for creation of high quality infrastructure in premier educational institutions. Global Initiative of Academic Network (GIAN) is another programme inviting expert professors from universities around the world for guest lectures in our institutions. Around Rs 1.75 lakh crore was spent on education last year which is expected to further increase this year. According to HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, around 4 percent of the country’s GDP is spent on education, 1 percent of it is on higher education alone. This amount is will be further increased this year.

The impact of the government’s efforts is starting to surface. According to a report by Reserve Bank of India, the number of students going abroad for further studies has declined for the first time in the last four years. According to the RBI’s estimation, this year Indian students have spent over $1.98 billion on studies abroad while the sum was $2.47 billion last year. This is a significant decrease in the expenses on studies abroad. Actually, prestigious institutions like IITs and IIMs have flooded across the country in the last eight year. There has also been a significant increase in the number of institutions like Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, National Institute of Technology and other quality institutes. It is reflective of positive response towards higher education in the country.

The government’s affirmative actions towards this situation will eventually counter the problem of ‘brain drain’ and develop a world class education system in the country. Changes in education sector take years to manifest. With the right approach and systematic implementation, the day is not far, when India will not only retain its talent, but will also attract talent from foreign shores.