Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Reforms in Higher education in India: Yashpal Committee Report

I have been reading with interest Yashpal Committee report (link) on reform of higher education system in India. It is very broad and does a wonderful job of identifying gray areas in Indian higher education system. It also suggests ways to improve the system. Since I have been through state college and state university as a student and as a teacher, I am little skeptical about the final outcome of the suggestions. As with any initiative, implementing of any idea remains a problem in India. But lets keep it aside and try to highlight few key points of the report. It says

We are also convinced that Indian higher education as a whole cannot go far without our paying equal attention to the State universities. They are also Indian universities and a large fraction our students will continue to come from them. Many of them are as good as our Central institutions and should be given a chance to fly. We should think seriously about the manner in which the motivation and resources are enhanced all over the country.

State universities and colleges are the most neglected places in Indian higher education systems. We can only hope that they will be given their due place in the system.

Undergraduate education in India is mostly done through affiliated colleges which report strongly discourages. It suggest two ways to improve the situation, first, to initiate undergraduate education in university itself, second, to encourage colleges to become full fledged university. I would like to see one more suggestion in the report or as an implementation, to encourage all college and state university faculty to visit IITs and IISc during summer for enhancing their skill in teaching and research and if possible to go abroad for some period. Without such exposure state colleges and university faculties don't have role model of what they can achieve within the system. There should be merit based scholarships which promotes such measures and give chance for people from small place to see how an institute should be for scholarly output.

it further highlights the problem of bureaucratic administration in Indian higher education system in India;

Finally, we would share with you the prevalent feeling in the universities that there is too much inspection, interference and delay in their dealings with State and Central Governments. I am sure universities and colleges should themselves share some blame in this regard, but we need to move away from this blame game. We have to devise somewhat different, more efficient, funding management system. We have made some recommendations in this regard. We would recommend that universities should become self-regulating partners in managing the overall education system. Continuous monitoring and inspection cause delays and lead to corruption. Some suggestions in this regard have also been made.”

If you are part of IIT or IISc, you probably don't have idea about bureaucratic control a faculty has to go through in state university and colleges in India. Excessive control hinders any real progress in the system. Any bright and enthusiastic person either will get frustrated and give up, or leave if possible.

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