Problems Confronting Higher Educational Sector and Solutions

Problems Confronting Higher Educational Sector and Solutions

Question: Education for all is a worthy social objective. Discuss the problems confronting India’s higher educational system and suggest solutions to solve them.

National Policy on Education was adopted by the Parliament in 1980s and Programme of Action 1986 which was updated in 1992 has guided educational policy since then

Last major initiative in the field of higher education was during the 11th Plan 2007-2012

Problems confronting Indian higher education system are as follows:

- Low rates of enrolment

Problem: The present rate of enrolment is merely 20 percent

- At the time of the 11th Plan, a 2 fold strategy to change this was increase in new institutions and increase in intake capacity of existing institutions

- However, the total number of higher educational institutions is still low; around 722 universities exist against the recommendation of 1500 by the National Knowledge Commission

Solutions: Aim is arriving at effective estimate of universities and undergraduate institutions and plan a strategy to meet this challenge

- More quality reaching institutions are needed at the undergraduate level

- Unequal access

Problem: Disparities in access to education because of economic class, gender, caste ,ethnic and religious factors

- In 2006, all Indian enrolment rate was 17% while the break up for these categories was 7% for ST, 11% for SC, 28% for OBC and 47% for higher castes

- It was 9 percent for Muslims, 18% for Hindus and 30% for Christians

- Only 6% of the bottom 20% of the society as against 37% of the top 20 percent had access to education

- Expansion of private, self financing education with commercial intent is responsible for propagation of disparities

- Commercial intent of higher education is also the reason for unequal access

- Between 1996 and 2008, private institutions grew at the rate of 10 percent while decline in public and private institutions fell by 1.65% per year

- Share of students in private, self financing sector rose from 7 percent in 1996 to 25% in 2008

- For 2013, MHRD has pegged the number of private undergraduate colleges at 59% and students in these at 37 percent

- As far as universities are concerned, from 712 universities, 360 are private, state and deemed status

- High cost of private education has affected access by those belonging to weaker sections of society

Solution: public and private aided institutions should be strengthened

- Expansion of self financing private institutions restricted to reasonable level is another aim

- Present system of educational loans from banks with interest subsidy by MHRD does not assist the poor;this must change

- Lack of relevance and quality in education:

Problem: Quality of higher education is a serious problem within this area the 11th Plan recognised 3 areas for intervention-physical infrastructure, academic reform and adequate facility

Solution: Infrastructure will improve with rise in financial allocation

- Centre and states need to work to ensure financial requirement of additional faculty is equally shared by both

- Quality textbooks is another aim as good quality translations from original English books is a must

- Access to Global Frontiers

Problem: Ensuring access of Indian education to global frontiers is also a major issue

Solution: Foreign educational institutions should be allowed to collaborate with Indian institutions for curricular and pedagogical practices as well as student faculty exchange

- Quality institutions require academic and administrative aid

- Relevance of Education

Problem: Ensuring the relevance of education for the economy is also important

- Solution: National Skill Development Corporation has been formed to create a demand based curriculum and a Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has also been formed

- Reforming the UGC is a must

- Involvement of state government in policy making of the centre is also needed

Facts and Stats

- Review of Higher Education needs to be conducted as the last such review was the D. S. Kothari Commission in the 1960s

- In 2012, total share of students in private institutions was such as top 20 percent of the students cornered more than half the number of seats while the bottom 20% attained only 4%. Share of ST and SC students accounted 4 and 10 percent as against 45 by OBCs and 41 by Others
Post your comment