‘Education shops’ have hurt standards

‘Education shops’ have hurt standards

By NAVTAN KUMAR | NEW DELHI | 26 December, 2015
Massive privatisation has led to fall in standards in the higher education system and discipline among the universities.
Academicians feel that the faulty policy of the previous UPA governments resulted in destroying the higher education system, as a result of which the number of Indian students going abroad for studies has been on the rise and the number of foreign students coming to India for higher studies is declining.
According to government figures, the number of students coming to India from US, Germany, France, South Korea, Australia, China and Singapore has dropped from 13,961 in 2013 to 3,737 in 2014, a decrease of 73%. The number has decreased even for countries like Bangladesh, Afghanistan and African countries. At present, 1.33 lakh Indian students are studying in universities across the US. UK is the second top destination for Indian students.
The academicians say that shortage of capable faculty is a major reason for this downfall, coupled with politicization of the education system. Prof Kapil Kumar of IGNOU said: “The education system should be teacher-centric. Under the UPA regime, it became political-centric.”
“How can we expect quality when there are rates fixed for appointment of lecturers and principals in many of the states,” he asked. “The UPA governments commercialised education. And for private universities, with some exceptions, education is a business,” Prof Kumar said.
Questioning the UGC’s recent decision to debar all Ph.D holders from being eligible for the assistant professor’s job, he said: “The UGC has been jumping up and down on this issue since 1989. Sometimes the Ph.D scholar is allowed, then withdrawn and then allowed. Many education shops today that mushroomed in the past ten years or so are allowed to run Ph.D programmes in the absence of qualified supervisers.”
According to another teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, a majority of the vice chancellors do not deserve to be lecturers. “They got the post through political connections,” he said. He said that the education system is over regulated, but when it comes to governance, the situation is pretty bad. “If we want to improve our education system, we will have to focus more on quality teachers and less on infrastructure,” he said.

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