Friday, April 9, 2010

Further Reflections on Foreign and Private Universities for India

The earlier article here on this topic observes that the existing State run Universities have not been able to provide quality education at an affordable cost to vast majority of our aspirants even after 60 years of Independence as majority of them are ridden with inadequate and incompetent staff, poor infrastructure in terms of space, buildings, libraries and laboratories, political and bureaucratic interference and corruption .What is more, on a global comparison as well as on the requirement of a growing economy with the pace of development as prevailing in India we need to enhance at least by doubling the existing 12 to 25 percent in enrollment from school to colleges which requires at least another 1000 Universities and which going by the track record of our governments on this it is well neigh impossible for it to meet the demand/challenge. Allowing Private and Foreign Universities appears inevitable mainly in the interest of the students while at the same time devoting all resources of the government to strengthen the quality in  the existing Universities run by it. Stringent regulation to govern the non governmental universities towards they providing quality education at affordable cost must be installed and the task of evaluating and recommending institutions must be left entirely to a body of eminent educations with proven integrity, keeping away all political and bureaucratic control.

However, there are apprehensions on several counts on the wisdom of permitting non governmental initiatives in higher education in the country, apprehensions being mainly with regard to their commercial motive, they not bringing in the excellence prevailing in their parental institutions as well as they garnering the best staff in our own existing institutions to them thereby making the existing universities suffer even more. Although such apprehensions on the part of our education providers appears justified but largely unfounded and in any case it can not be allowed to prevent progress that is badly needed. Our country has seen revolution in many major fields since Independence such as industrial revolution of the Nehruvian era, green revolution in the agricultural sector started in Punjab, white revolution of Gujerat, social revolution of Ambedkarism and information technology revolution of the present times. But, virtually no revolutionary developments in the field of education has taken place as we have continued with essentially the colonial British model. We have achieved the said revolutionary changes largely by allowing the foreign and private participation in the venture and its enormous benefits to the people especially in Banking, Automobile and Telecommunication is highly visible. There were apprehensions too in allowing foreign and private initiatives in such of our developmental process but all such apprehensions are proved wrong now.  There is no reason to believe that the same revolution will not  accrue in the field of education. To compare this to Bt.Brinjal controversy as Pushpa Bhargava and M I Savadatti do and even the former stating that those who support Bt. Brinjal will support  and those oppose Bt, Brinjal will oppose the advent of foreign universities is indeed very juvenile to say the least! I am against Bt. Brinjal but open to well regulated foreign and private universities!