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Indian Higher Education: Negotiating Globalization and the Knowledge Economy Fazal Rizvi University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign July 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Indian Higher Education: Negotiating Globalization and the Knowledge Economy Fazal Rizvi University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign July 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Indian Higher Education: Negotiating Globalization and the Knowledge Economy Fazal Rizvi University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign July 2008

2 The rise of India as an emerging economic power is widely attributed to Indias decision to: open up its economy in early 1990s deregulate and privatize its key economic sectors engage with global processes, actors and agencies better utilize its enormous pool of knowledge workers provide competitively price labor establish robust links with transnational corporations develop infrastructure necessary to support information industries July 2008

3 Recognition of the role of higher education in sustaining high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealth the success of the Indian economy has been based squarely on our participation in the global information economies, but this participation will falter without an enhanced role by our colleges and universities (Minister of HRD 2007) …in order to ensure that India does not throw away its advantage in BPO/KPO, it is imperative that it continues to produce a critical mass of highly skilled manpower at an accelerated pace. (Sanat Kaul ICRIER 2006) Indias economic future is dependent on the extent to which our universities have the determination to reform themselves ( VC University of Delhi 2007) July 2008

4 Structure of Higher Education in India Colonial beginning in the mid nineteenth century with a strong emphasis on disciplinary learning and examinations Different types of institutions: universities with affiliated colleges (responsible for providing curriculum and overseeing academic standards); unitary universities without affiliated colleges; universities with both constitutive and affiliated colleges. responsibility for distribution of public funds to universities and colleges and for quality assurance lies with the University Grants Commission (UGC), working in consort with the Department of Human Resource Development and the Planning Commission and to lesser extent with state governments. July 2008

5 Some indicative data … Third largest system in the World (after China and USA) … 17973 institutions (348 universities and 17625 colleges) … small elite sector of IITs, IIMs and IIS. … 20 central universities, the rest state universities … a large number of research centers and laboratories … average enrolment: 530 students (compared to 4300 in USA) … over 10 million students (7.8 % of the age cohort) … only 26 private universities … 5750 aided private colleges, 7650 unaided private colleges … around 150 foreign institutions. … most private and foreign universities and colleges focus on business studies, engineering and IT. July 2008

6 Indicators of Decline The inability of the system to meet the growing demand Considerable evidence of poor teaching, especially in state universities Ineffective quality control Ritualization of Distance Education Poor graduate outcomes (unemployablity of most graduates from colleges) Declining Research performance and productivity Low status of Indian universities in International Ranking Systems Widespread corruption in appointments of faculty and selection of students Poor governance (cumbersome bureaucratic impediments to reform) July 2008

7 Sources of criticism Internal: academics and researchers; media commentators; major employers; and many politicians External: international organizations; transnational corporations; and the Indian diaspora (NRIs) July 2008

8 Policy Anxieties July 2008

9 National Knowledge Commission (2005-2008) Chaired by Sam Pitroda (with 5 other members) supported by a small secretariat The time has come to create a second wave of institutional building… (PM M M Singh 2005) To respond to the global challenges more strongly than ever before, India today needs a knowledge-oriented paradigm of development to give the country a competitive advantage in all fields of knowledge (NKC 2006) NKCs overarching aim is to transform India into a vibrant Knowledge economy. This entails a radical improvement in existing systems of knowledge as well as the creation of avenues for generating new forms of knowledge. (NKC 2006) July 2008

10 Five Aspects of the Knowledge Paradigm Access to Knowledge: Literacy, Libraries, Translation, Language, Networks, Portals Knowledge Concepts: School education, vocational education, higher education, open and distance education, professional education (medical, legal, management and engineering) Creation of Knowledge: intellectual property rights, innovation, science and technology Knowledge Applications: Agriculture and Traditional Knowledge Delivery of Services: E-governance July 2008

11 NKCs Recommendations for reforming Higher Education Expansion Create many more universities (1500 to attain the gross enrolment ratio of 15 % by 2015, up from existing 365) Change the system of regulation of higher education (establish an Independent Regulatory Authority for Higher Education (IRAHE) Increase public spending and diversify sources of financing Establish 50 national universities Excellence Reform existing universities Restructure undergraduate colleges Promote enhanced quality InclusionEnsure access for all deserving students Affirmative action July 2008

12 Issues: Policy Coordination Declining authority of the UGC Complexities of Indian Federalism (central-states relations) Political and legal inertia Politicization of policy communication and implementation July 2008

13 Issues: Contested Claims about Knowledge Economy what knowledge is most worth? Knowledge, economy and culture Debates over values and traditions Contribution of KE to HE July 2008

14 Issues: Funding Some increase in public funding but sufficient for NKCs targets Alternatives funding sources reluctant to invest Problems with the allocation and distribution of funds July 2008

15 Issues: Privatization Occurring at a rapid rate without a coherent policy framework Private Education Bill still languishing in Parliament Quality of private institutions uneven at best July 2008

16 Issues: Quality Assurance No coherent mechanism Affiliated college mechanism not working Decline in the role of professional association in quality assurance Peer review systems by faculty and students almost non-existent July 2008

17 Issues: Organizational Cultures Deteriorating physical conditions of campuses Poor accountability structures Politicization of faculty and students July 2008

18 Issues: Access and Equity Strong policy dictates for affirmative action often ignored Narrow conceptions of access (as entry without much support) Educational outcomes for some minorities deteriorating July 2008

19 Issues: Internationalization Policy ambiguity over signing GATS Entry of foreign campuses without any clear policy framework Increased interest in international links July 2008

20 Prospects July 2008

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