Research Scholar, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, JNU
Knowledge is the key resource for global competitiveness. The processes of liberalization, privatization and globalization (LPG), along with technological revolution have further strengthened the significance of a Knowledge-based society. In order to realize India’s aspirations to become Developed Nation by 2020 by achieving 25.2% GER set up 12th Five Year Plan by 2017-18, the country cannot ignore the significance and contribution of technical education in a situation of both an opportunity – demographic dividend of its youth, especially in the 18-25 age group and the challenge of channelizing them through the present confusing to chaotic situation of higher education in India.
Regarding technical education, AICTE is the sole authority for approval of technical education. As per clause 2 (g) of the AICTE Act, 1987 the ‘technical education’ means programmes of education, research and training in engineering, technology, architecture, town planning, management, pharmacy, and applied arts and crafts, and such other programmes or areas as the Central Government may, in consultation with the Council, by notification in the official Gazette, declare. Though, technical education could not see much development in pre-independence phase but in post independence era the role of technical education was very much realized and was felt to assess the requirements for different grades of scientific and technical manpower, taking a comprehensive view over a period of the subsequent ten years of the needs of government (Civil and Defence), of teaching and research, and of industry, agriculture, transport, medicine, and other fields dependent on the use of scientific and technical manpower. It got further boost in post liberalization phase and witnessed overall transformation keeping in view the increasing aspiration of youths and nations development as well. Expanding the system itself was a requirement, therefore, government realized to expand the various variants of institution of technical education. The most significant aspect of technical education in post-liberalization phase is that the very recognition of private players in providing technical education. The reason was government in itself was unable to finance for large number of institutions and secondly due to specific skills which was demanded by emerging new industries. Therefore, as requirements of development was changing, as nature of skills and as a result establishment of institutions under Public-Private Partnership became a very acceptable norm in the domain of higher education particularly in technical education.
Keeping in view the above mentioned requirement of technical education as far as Polytechnics education is concerned its number state wise, or its relation with employment scenario particularly in backward areas of the country government under the scheme of ‘Sub-Mission of Polytechnics’ provides financial assistance to 500 government and Government aided polytechnics subject to maximum of Rs. 2.00 Crores per polytechnic to upgrade infrastructure facilities like labs, equipments, etc. The number of polytechnics identified for upgradation under the scheme in respect of State of Bihar is 12 and 13 in case of State of Jharkhand.
As far as Indian Institute of Information Technology is concerned (IIIT), the Government has approved a Scheme based on Public Private-Partnership (PPP) model for setting up 20 New Indian Institute of Information Technology with an outlay of Rs. 2808.71 Crores on 7.12.2010. A total of sixteen proposals from fifteen States including Gujarat, Karnataka and Kerala have been approved by the Ministry. Gujarat has already started its Academic Session in 2013-14 with 60 students each in Computer Science and Electronics& Communication. However the Government of Karnataka has been requested to forward the MoU and MoA. In case of Kerala, MoU and MoA have been signed and IIIT Kottayam Kerala Society has been registered. It is significant to note that out of 20 IIITs in order to reach full capacity in nine years from 2011-12 to 2019-20, the Central Government has approved establishment of 16 IIITs in PPP mode. It clearly shows the increased participation of private players in the domain of educational set up. Such high number of participation given to private players raises critical issues of accessibility and affordability for large number of students as professional education by nature itself is costly.
In a particular question regarding number of Engineering and Technical Colleges, it is critical to know that along with Diploma PG and UG level that out of 34 States and UTs the total number of Diploma institutions was 3799 in 2014-15 in comparison to 2571 in the financial year of 2011-12. At the same time regarding PG the total number of institutions increased from 1400 in 2011-12 to 2334 in the financial year of 2014-15. At the UG level the total number of institutions from 3286 in the financial year of 2011-12 went up to 3389 in 2014-15. If we see State wise State like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh has shown remarkable demand of establishment of such institutions.
There is total 6097 number of Engineering College was functioning in the country with intake of 2688323 in the financial year of 2012-13 whereas this number went up to 6220 with intake of 2952466 and 6375 with intake of 3182690 in the financial year of 2013-14 and 2014-15. As far as vacant seats are concerned at the UG level trend is showing declining importance of some of programme like Architecture which had 5.25% seats vacant in the 2011-12 went up to 9.50 and 12.00% in 2012-13 and 13-14 financial year. In the programmes of Engineering &Technology, Hotel Management and Catering Technology and Pharmacy also show the same trend. It was more visible at PG level where 26% posts remained vacant in the 2011-12 and 31% in 13-14. In MCA it was 24% in 2011-12 and 31% in 2013-14. In Diploma the trend is almost same.
There are total 201, 126 and 152 Engineering universities/institutions were opened during 2012-13, 2013-2014 and in 2014-15 financial year in overall 23 States and UTs. Out of total of all the above mentioned in three financial year, Maharashtra constitutes the highest number (68) of institutes followed by Tamil Nadu(66), Andhra Pradesh (43), Karnataka (25) and Kerala (25). Some of Northern States like Uttar Pradesh (54) established the highest number of engineering universities/institutes in these financial years. Meanwhile, State like Himachal Pradesh got only 4 institutes in 2013-14. Jammu & Kashmir with only one institute in 2014-15. In North-Eastern part Assam got only 1 institute in the above three financial years and Tripura got 2 institutes in 2014-15.
Recently based on PPP model the government has approved a scheme for setting up 20 New IIITs in the respective ratio of 50:35:15 by the Central government, State government and industry (57.5:35:7.5 in the case of North-Eastern region). Concerned State government will provide 50-100 acres of land, free of cost and encumbrances.
Upto 10th Five Year Plan, there were 20 NITs were functioning in the country. The 11th Plan had provisions for setting up 10 new NITs so as to have in all States and major UTs. Accordingly 8 new NITs have been established in different parts of country. As far as Andaman & Nickobar is concerned as such there is no proposal even in 12th FYP to set up an NIT there but Puducherry is catering to the needs of A&N Island by way of sharing 50% of home state quota seats. In addition, the students of A&N Islands have been allocated 47 supernumerary seats in NIT—Durgapur.
There are 6 new IIMs are being set up in different parts of India like Bihar, Odisha, Maharashtra, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and in Andhra Pradesh. As teacher student ratio is prescribed for IIMs is 1:10. However in the total 7 new IIMs of Shillong, Rohtak, Ranchi, Raipur, Trichy, Udaipur, Kashipur the total strength of faculty is 146. 119 are in position viz a viz 27 are in shortage.
As a part of expansion plan as per the Approval Process Handbook 2013-14 a company established under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 may also establish technical institutions. In this regard any Private or Public Limited Company/Industry having turnover of at least Rs. 100 crore per year for previous 3 years may apply to AICTE for approval of new technical institutions in Engineering and Technology, Pharmacy, Architecture& Town Planning and Hotel Management and Catering Technology.
With such a massive expansion the finance issue becomes more critical especially in the context that many existing institutions are struggling with inadequate infrastructure and qualified teacher.
Regarding expenditure in opening up of the Engineering institutes, the Minister said that as expenditure is centrally not available because these institutes are established by Society/Trust/Companies/State Government etc. who maintain their individual accounts of their institutions. However, Ministry has set up eight Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIITs) under PPP mode and also released 19.5875 crores to 6 IIITs during the financial year 201-13 to 2014-15.
In a situation when Land and finance issue is a matter of debate at national level it is significant to see that how the issue of land and finance is also affecting institutions of higher education in country. As far as finance of NITs and IITs is concerned Rs. 5600.00 crore and Rs. 12500.00 crore respectively under the twelfth plan has been allocated as support to NITs and IITs , including new ones. The requirements in the 12th Plan as per the revised cost estimation of 2012-13, for setting up of 10 new NITs and 8 new IITs are now Rs. 8981.69 crores and Rs. 15665.00 crores respectively. Out of the Eleventh Plan allocations of Rs. 2600.00 crores and Rs. 6080 crores, Rs. 132.00 crores and Rs. 1196.00 crores were sanctioned to the new NITs and IITs, respectively. The 12th Plan allocations, accordingly, made as per requirements based on 2007-08 cost estimates and on actual expenditure by the new institutes in the 11th Plan, and hence were on lower side.
An analysis of cost and time over run indicates that delay in allocation of land by the respective State Governments and increase in cost of constructions as a result of time over-run was the main reason for delays and consequential escalated costs.
Professional or technical education by nature is quite costly. It becomes more critical in a liberalization phase when government is more oriented towards getting support of private players to fulfil the demands of technical education which makes this education much more costly therefore the very humane face of state becomes important for those who cannot afford it.
Therefore 5% seats are sanctioned as supernumerary seats under the AICTE’ ‘Tuition Fee Waiver Scheme’ mandatorily applicable to all approved technical institutions of AICTE offering Bachelor Programmes, Diploma and Post-Diploma programmes of three/four year duration. Students getting admitted in the AICTE approved institutions can avail this facility if the income of their parents is less than Rs. 4.5 lakh from all sources.
In this context as far as admission in IITs is concerned that is based on category wise All India Rank in JEE (Advanced), subject to the condition that the candidate is within top 20 percentile of successful candidates in his/her respective class XII Board Examination and respective category or should have secured 75% (for Gen, OBC-NCL) or 70% (for SC, ST, PwD) of aggregate marks in the class XII Board Examination. The modified criterion would be applicable from JEE (Advanced), 2015.
In order to maintain accessibility and keeping in demand for higher education government has announced establishment of IITs in 5 States of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Goa, Jammu and Chhattisgarh however States of Bihar, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh & Punjab will get IIMs and State of Andhra Pradesh for one new IIIT.
As society is becoming more open and giving more space of education for women, they prefer to opt technical or professional course as it is another way to maximize the benefits of education to get easily employed. Therefore, in a significant move towards women education especially technical education, AICTE has approved one women’s engineering college during academic year 2014-15 in the name of ‘New Horizon Institute of Technology and Management’, Thane, Maharashtra, which is affiliated to the University of Mumbai. The AICTE has approved Electronics and Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering, Mechanical, Civil and Computer Engineering courses at the UG level. Each discipline has 60 seats. It is set up by New Horizon Education Society not by the Central Government as per information given by University of Mumbai.
With increasing number of institutions and with the entry of private players in educational domain and has transformed educational landscape especially technical or professional education in many ways. There is no doubt that establishment of institutions of higher education has got now an inbuilt system of profit maximization and getting far away from its very purpose of being dynamic and providing quality and qualified manpower. It is being reported that one the one hand there has been demand and supply mismatch and at the same time there has been lack of skill even among those who are coming out of institutions and entering into for job market. Therefore, increase in unemployment. In this context in order to control the unemployment, though the Ministry itself has not conducted any study in this regard, however AICTE has introduced the Employment Enhancement Training Program (EETP) with the vision of enhancing employment amongst fresh engineering graduates, imparting business and soft skills for sustained performances, career success and to meet growing industry demand and also scheme namely National Employment Enhancement Mission (NEEM) to offer on the job practical training or non-technical stream or have discontinued studies of degree or diploma course to increase their employability. There are two models for operationalizing the EETP i.e. one in Discrete Mode for those who had passed out of the system and other is continuous mode for those who are still studying. Under the EETP, training is provided by faculty members drawn from diverse fields and trained by industry associations, complemented by expert faculty from industry. The course content is finalised by centralised committee in consultation with industry/ CII/ ASSOCHAM/ NASSCOM etc. At the end of the programme certificate is issued to the qualifying candidates by respective institute/industry/ bodies/association. AICTE is in collaboration with BSNL to conduct a programme to facilitate technical institutions to respond to the need of providing state of art telecom equipment based operational skills to engineering graduates to enhance their qualification, competence, and employability by enhanced skill up-gradation. AICTE has signed an MoU with BSNL to use the training facility and faculty of BSNL for the benefit of students in AICTE approved institutions under EETP.
Such development shows that even after so many years of independence there is still disengagement at all levels (policy, research, practice) in the context of higher education.
In order to ensure quality, AICTE as the regulator of technical education has notified the regulations and Approval Process Handbook containing norms and standards for granting approval to technical institutions. Besides regulating them AICTE also help these institutions financially for enhancement of quality of education through its different schemes such as Research Promotion Scheme (RPS), Faculty Development Programme (FDP), Innovation Promotion Scheme (IPS), Quality Improvement Programme (QIP) etc
In a significant move Ministry has launched a programme called Unnat Bharat Abhiyan on 11th November 2014 with an aim to connect institutions of higher education, including IITs, NITs and IISERs etc. with local communities to address the development challenges through appropriate technologies. This programme has basically two broad objectives. Building institutional capacity in institutions of higher education in research & training relevant to the needs of rural India and provide rural India with professional resource support from institutions of higher education especially those which have acquired academic excellence in the field of Science, Engineering & Technology and Management.
It has been felt and Irizarry’s (1983) also argued that India’s tryst with industrialization is the absence of a reciprocal, supportive relationship among government, industry, and scientific-technological infrastructure besides continuously dependent technologically on imported machinery and equipments and as a result which hampers the development of R&D. Further, this dependence has been not only physical but also in intellectual inputs such as blueprints, standards, technological specifications and the knowhow for mechanical installations and operations.
Therefore, in the 12th Plan government has launched a National Initiative for Design Innovation under which 20 new Design Innovation Centres (DIC), one Open Design Schools (ODS) and a National Design Innovation Network (NDIN) would be set up in existing publically funded institutes of national repute like IITs, NITs, Central and State universities to facilitate optimal utilization of the existing resources including faculty and land. All these will cover from Science & Technology to Liberal Arts. ODSs are expected to ensure maximum reach of design education and practice in educational institutions and free sharing of its courseware through the Internet. NDIN is expected to be a network of design schools that work closely with other leading institutions of industry and academia, NGOs and government to further the reach and access of design education, to promote design innovation in all sectors, and to develop wide-ranging collaborative projects between institutions. During the financial year of 2013-14, DIC were established in five institutes—IITMumbai, IIT Delhi, IIT Guwahati, IISC Bangalore, and University of Delhi.
In keeping the recommendations of Anandakrishnan Committees and to improve the overall quality of higher professional educational institutions besides their degree giving authority, such institutions are declared as Institutions of National Importance through Acts of Parliament. In a move towards declaring as Institutions of National Importance in recent times Government of India has upgraded Cochin University of Science and Technology (IIEST) an ‘Institutions of National Importance’. In this direction the erstwhile Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU), Shibpur has been upgraded as Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), in March, 2014 under the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research Act, 2007. The Institute of Technology- Banaras Hindu University has also been converted into Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi an Institute of National Importance with the enactment of Technology (Amendment) Act, 2012.
In another significant move under the item of ‘Development of Certification & Testing Modules for Virtual Technologies (VTUs) & creation of VTU, multi media research and international programmes which envisaged under National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) is being proposed. Though its pilot study is being done by IIT Kanpur which is still incomplete.
There has been issue of corruption in technical professional institutions In this regard total 712 institutions were inspected by AICTE in financial year of 2014-15 in comparison to 2011-12 in which total 1007 institutions were inspected. 1425 institutions were inspected in 2012-13 however only 888 institutions were inspected in 2013-14. It is also significant to know that States like Tamil Nadu (45) followed by Orissa (35) and West Bengal (33) violated the norms of AICTE in the 2014-15 financial year. Some of States and UTs like New Delhi, Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Manipur did not report of any normative violation in the same financial year. In the case of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Manipur, Goa it is significant to note that their previous record has also been quite remarkable. In case of violation AICTE has taken punitive action against the institutes who violated the norms of AICTE as per the provisions under Chapter-4 of Approval Process Handbook of AICTE
There has been cases of cheating, irregularities and malpractices during the engineering entrance examination conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). In All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) in 2012 total 28 cases were reported. However, in JEE (Main) 2013 the number was 70 and in JEE (Main) 2014 the number was 53 cases. In response of such irregularities and cheating the result of all these candidates was cancelled
As far as taking action regarding unregulated technical institutions is concerned, AICTE which is a Statutory Autonomous Authority that exercises its powers under AICTE Act, 1987 issues notices to unapproved institutions available on record of the AICTE to close down the programs or to approach the AICTE for seeking approval. The copy of notices is also endorsed to the concerned state authorities for information. Besides such action in order to ensure awareness among general public it also issues public notices in newspapers cautioning the students not to take admission in such unapproved institutions. And time to time it also updates the list of such fake institutions on AICTE website.
To stop such menace AICTE grants approval to run Engineering and Management Institutes strictly as per the AICTE’s Approval Process Handbook issued from time to time under the All India Council for Technical Education (Grant of Approvals for the Technical Institutions) Regulations, 2012.
To further stop such menace Hon’ble SC of India in the case of Bharthidashan University & anr. Vs. AICTE has held that although universities do not require prior approval of AICTE to commence a new department or course and programmes in technical education, they have obligation or duty to conform to the standards and norms laid down by the AICTE for the purpose of ensuring coordinated and integrated development of technical education and maintenance of standards. The AICTE may cause an inspection of the university, which has to be as per the provisions under relevant rules/ regulations of the AICTE. Further, all institutions running technical education programmes in affiliation with any university requires prior approval of AICTE.
Having said this, it is significant to mention that India is on a crucial juncture of development paradigm and moving towards ‘knowledge economy’ where market is dominant and require specific skills, therefore, providing quality education and skills becomes the paramount responsibility on educational institutions. As it is claimed that some of southern states has been pioneer for providing technical manpower to nation and at the same time has been successful for satisfying the aspirations of youths. However, over a period of time these States, though, provided a good start but today also witnessing an unusual development in terms of transformation of education and particularly higher education more into a business entity and severely getting affected with the quality of technical education. Situation has got detoriated to such an extent that an engineer is getting employed in an industry not because he or she is an engineer but he or she is having some operational knowledge of computer. Therefore, once what was viewed as a ‘social demand’ approach for liberal arts and science to the provision of educational facilities, is being redefined in the context of technical education due to lack of man-power planning activity and disengagement at policy, research and praxis level. Therefore, it was also felt in the domain of technical education that it is an essential safety valve as well as a means of upward social movement in a highly structured society like India, where a degree already commanded social prestige.
Therefore, it becomes very significant on the part of state to take the responsibility of providing quality technical education in a resource crunch country like India where still large section of people are out of domain of higher education. Having said this, the very interface between education particularly technical education, economic development and employments besides its relation with industry needs to be unfold in a much more meaningful manner.
Higher education in general and university education in particular has been ever present in the educational landscape of India. However, the very core component in terms of curriculum, pedagogy and relation between teacher and taught has undergone changes over a period of time. However, in post-independence the very role of higher education was conceptualised in terms of nation-making project with strong emphasis on character formation as visualised in Radhakrishnan Commission. The role of State was seen very significant as education in general and higher education in particular was responsible for transforming India on modernization and developmental path. As India has been stratified society structurally and as result a large section of people remained outside the domain of education but peoples participation in freedom struggle was making them aware about their socio-political and economic rights. In post-independence India State realized the very constructive role of education in overall development of its citizens and nation as well. Therefore state initiated various welfare policies and in 70s socialistic movement also played crucial role for bringing socio-political upsurge in the country. This awareness resulted in demand for education particularly higher education. Besides Government, people were also realising that it is education and particularly higher education which can empower them in true sense. Therefore, demand for education in general and higher education n particular grew and as a result pressure on existing universities for greater enrolment and thereafter expansion of institution to accommodate this demand. Since independence to 1990s many Commissions and Committees were constituted either to define the emerging role of higher education in order to modernise India or to examine its role in terms of economic development. However, 1990s saw a paradigm shift in education realm and particularly higher education. As India also became a partner of celebration of LPG(Liberalization-Globalization and Privatization) Policy with the larger world. It was a defining moment in the history of not only Indian economy but its impact can be better visualised in its education sector not only in terms of finance therefore the changing role of State from this critical domain but also the very core component of education. The very purpose and role of higher education was seen more instrumental delimiting it with creation of employer. As its commodification role can be understood by Birla-Ambani Report which argues, among other things, for an overall change in the approach to higher education where full cost recovery from students of public higher education institutions and immediate privatisation of entire higher education except those areas of education involving ‘discipline that have no market orientation’ was proposed. Delinking of higher education with state and giving it in the hand of few large industrial houses where it can become another tool of profit maximization either through packaging of courses or making teaching community just as machines. Therefore, downsizing higher education through starving universities of resources, freezing appointments, and encouraging commercialisation.
At this point of time where India has huge young population and still starving with resources and Indian service sector is major contributor of economy, therefore, the very role of university is being seen in terms creation of employer who can serve this exploitative market disarming them with lack of dissent and democratic values. As it is being argued that Higher education is critical to India’s aspirations of emerging as a major player in the global knowledge economy. The global competitiveness of Indian industry and also its employment generation potential is clearly dependent on availability of required skills and trained personnel.
In this context it is seen that government is just not trying to expand the system by introducing number of institutions but also World Class University with major focus on research and innovation but also many schemes to promote skills of university students. Therefore, the supply of qualified manpower can match with industry demand.
As demand for higher education is going, Government in the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12) envisaged setting up of one Central University each in States which did not have any Central University till then. Accordingly, 16 Central Universities were established by the Central Universities Act,2009 in different un-served States. However, 12th Five Year Plan focuses more on scaling up of capacity in existing institutions rather than increasing the number of institutions, with exceptions of new institutions needed to address critical regional and social gaps.
Besides this MHRD has decided to open 18 new educational institutions of higher learning in various states. As a part of this programme Indian Institute of Management is being opend in Bihar, Odisha, Maharashtra, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and in Andhra Pradesh. Indian Instituute of Science Education and Research in Andhra Pradesh, Indian Insitute of Technology in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, and in Goa. Indian Institute of Information Technology in J&K and in Andhra Pradesh. National Institute of Technology in AP. Central University in AP. Tribal University in AP. Jai Prakash Narayan Centre for Excellence in Humanities in Madhya Pradesh.
As a part of this expansion the UGC supports access & expansion by financing development of the Central universities, recognition of new State universities and Colleges, regulation of private and deemed to be universities and establishment of Community Colleges.
Besides, above mentioned ways there has been increasing trend of emergence of Private universities. According to UGC data there are total 37204 Government and Private colleges are functioning in the country during 2012-13. Out of this Andhra Pradesh has 4881 where as Maharashtra has 4862 colleges. Uttar Pradesh has 4787 colleges.
As a part of this expansion there is a need to examine the match between expanding institutions of higher learning and infrastructure and ensuring quality of these institutions.
As far as position of faculty is concerned, as per the UGC, while 37.5% and 28.8% of teaching and non teaching posts were lying vacant as on 31st March, 2014 in 39 Central Universities whereas 17.4% and 23.6% of teaching and non-teaching posts, respectively, were lying vacant in 8 Deemed to be Universities that receive maintenance and full salary grants from it.
In order to mitigate the situation arising out of shortage of teachers the Government is taking measures such as superannuation for teachers in Central Educational Institutions has been enhanced for sixty five years, teachers are being re-employed on contract basis, mobility of academic staffs have been made more flexible. UGC has launched “Operation Faculty Recharge Programme” for augmenting the research and teaching resources of universities to tackle the faculty shortage in universities system. Universities have been permitted to engage adjunct/guest/contractual faculty to the extent of 10% of the sanctioned strength.
Thus, moving more towards fulfilling the teaching learning environment of universities through contractual mode raises very fundamental questions about ensuring the very quality of university research and education which again Government has adopted very calculative and standardised assessment method in terms of mandatory assessment and accreditation of higher educational institutions. Besides this reforming affiliating system, regulation of private and deemed to be universities which has become norm of a day on the name of sites of higher education , minimum qualification of appointment of teachers where in emerging private and deemed to be universities the emphasis is more on mannerism than subject of knowledge of a person is examined, minimum standards for grant of first degree which is not difficult today to get it because distribution of certificates has also become an work of agent where both certificate gainer and certificate seller are part of this employment collaboration and at the same time on the name of equity entry of Corporate Social Responsibility norm is being applied. In this neo-liberal domain where education and particularly higher education is being seen as a profit maximization the very nature of philanthropy has changed. As Government recognises that a recognised philanthropic organisation in the education sector can either be in the form of a company (Registered under the relevant Societies Registration Act) or a Trust (Registered under the relevant Trust Act). Philanthropic contribution in social sectors, including the education sector, by a company, are governed by the provisions of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) under the Companies Act, 2013. As per this Act, the Board of every company, having net worth of rupees five hundred crore or more during any financial year, shall ensure that the company spends, in every financial year, at least two per cent, of the average net profits of the company during the three immediately preceding financial yeas, in pursuance of its CSR Policy.
As far as research is concerned which is one of the very pious purpose of university which is based on the premise of expansion of knowledge there is more focus on introduction of information technology. As a part of this the UGC through collaboration National Mission on Education through ICT (NMEICT) has undertaken e-content development of post graduate programme called e-PG Pathashala. More than 700 courses in various disciplines in engineering and science are available on-line under National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL). E-content for 8 undergraduate subjects has also been generated by the Consortium of Educational Communication (CEC) in collaboration with its Media Centres. Over 100 Virtual Labs in 9 Engineering & Science disciplines, comprising about 770 experiments are currently ready for use and available. 1500 Spoken Tutorials are available on line and more than 200 courses for design have been created. Though there is no proposal yet from Government side for introduction of online courses in IITs, IIMs or in Central universities at UG and PG level. However university students are being encouraged for joining Massive Online Open Course (MOOC). As IIT Madras along with NPTEL partners and NASSCOM have run three Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) of 10 week each in March 2014.
IIT Bombay has also come out with several individual course offerings (subjects) in various modes through forums such as MOOCs and recorded courses through their Centre for Distance Education both at UG and PG level. IIT Bombay is also ready with SAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) platform. Through this, not full courses, but several subjects (papers) for UG and PG syllabus are to be offered as online courses.
UGC through its various programmes like Universities with Potential for Excellence (UPE), Colleges with Potential for Excellence (CPE), Special Assistance Programme(SAP), assistance for Strengthening of Infrastructure for Science and Technology (ASIST), Assistance for Strengthening of Infrastructure for Humanities and Social Sciences etc to improve the access and quality of higher education.
In this globalization and instrumentalization phase international collaboration has become a accepted norm to emphasise on expansion of knowledge through research and innovation. As a part of this collaboration “Obma-Singh” 21st Century Knowledge Initiative (OSI) is very significant which aims at the development and enrichment of Junior Faculty at Indian Institute of Higher Learning. OSI enables Indian Higher Educational Institutions to pursue objectives through exchange visit of faculty, administrators, post graduate Indian students and US graduates students who can demonstrate the ability to work independently.
As far as International collaboration is concerned in this regard as a part of the Indo—U.S. partnership for on-line education, an MoU has been signed between IIT Bombay and edX, USA for Massive Open On-Line Courses (MOOCs) on June 25, 2013 during the India-U.S. Higher Education Dialogue, 2013. IIT Bombay has already offered 3 courses on the edX platform to the global community under the cooperation.
SWAYAM platform will offer course for all Indian learners, including to those who are not enrolled in any college or university. The online course will progressively reach out to a very large number of Indian learners.
Therefore, these initiatives are more oriented towards making sites of higher learning more as a professional school and in the direction of creation of entrepreneurial university reducing the domain of knowledge as rudimentary phenomena.
Under this creation of Entrepreneurial model of university which is already taught in Management courses in colleges the UGC has started a scheme on skill development based higher education as part of college/university/ Diploma/ Advanced Diploma/ under the NSQF. The B.Voc. programme is focused on universities and colleges providing UG studies which would also incorporate specific job roles and their National Occupation Standards (NOS) along with broad based general education. This would also enable the graduates completing B.Voc in becoming entrepreneurs and creating appropriate knowledge. The UGC has also started a scheme of Community Colleges during the XIIth Five Year Plan, with special emphasis on expansion of skill-based programmes for imparting career oriented education and skills to students.
To give further push to skill based vocations, a scheme of ‘’ Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhaya KAUSHAL Kendra’’ has also been approved by the Commission. These schemes provide financial support to meet operational expenditure including engagement of guest / visiting faculty/ resource persons, hiring services, contractual lab staff etc. in creating skilled manpower. Government has also plan to launch Comprehensive Skill Development Programmes to further harness the demographic dividend.. Thus, the Government is implementing several schemes namely Community Colleges, B.Voc Courses, Career Oriented Courses and Kaushal Kendras to offer more vocational courses throughout the country and equipping students with the necessary skills and knowledge to eliminate the shortage of manpower in science, technology, academic and industry. Besides this the Ministry has also launched Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) and Credit Framework for Skills for vertical and horizontal mobility of the student in skills and general education. MHRD and AICTE have launched credit Framework on 11th November, 2014, which allows vertical and lateral mobility within vocational education system, is an effort to integrate skill and vocational development with maintaining general education. The Credit Framework, using the NSQF and National Occupation Standards (NOS), is an exercise in recognising skills and education as part of an integrated learning system.
Further, to harness the ‘demographic dividend’ of this country the UGC has also incorporated the skill oriented and value added courses Scheme entitled ‘Introduction of Career Oriented Courses (COCs)”. Under this particular scheme UGC is providing financial assistance to Universities/Colleges, eligible to receive grants from the UGC. To make such courses more popular at the level of certificate/ Diploma/Advance Diploma which run concurrently with the conventional Degree like B.A, B.Com/ B.Sc. The above mentioned efforts are in the direction of to bridge the skill gap among college students in the country. These facts clearly indicate how higher education is being more moulded towards making it more vocational.
In order to skill the large number of educated youths and keeping the changing nature of economy and as a result demand for skilled manpower from Industry. For this purpose a separate Ministry namely “Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship” has been set up to meet the above mentioned objectives. At the same time MHRD had linked Skill Development with quality education through the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) notified on 27th December, 2013 to enable a person to acquire desired competency levels, transit to the job market and at an opportune time, return for acquiring additional skills to further upgrade their competencies and ensure holistic development.
As India is witnessing “Demographic Dividend” and it is the responsibility of State that people who can not afford higher education especially premier institutions of learning do not remain outside from this domain. Therefore, accessibility and affordability becomes very important for large section of people in this economically resource staved country and higher education becoming more costly in this market drive neo-liberal economy.
In this regard the government has undertaken several regulatory measures to keep the cost of higher education affordable. The fees in Centrally Funded Technical Institutions are approved by statutory bodies like IIT Council for IITs and NIT Council for NITs. For other institutions, the Board of Governors of individual institution determines the fee or the hike in the fee if any. The fee in government universities and colleges is nominal. Fee for state private universities is regulated by the concerned state government.
While the fees payable by the IIT students are gender-neutral, the SC/ST students are exempted from payment of tuition fees irrespective of their parental income. The students, whose parental income is below Rs. 4.50 lakh per annum are entitled to free hostel seat, basic messing and pocket allowance. Under the Merit-cum-Means Scholarship, students (Other than SC/ST Categories), upto 25% of intake strength, whose annual parental income is less than Rs. 6.00 lakh, are also exempted from payment of tuition fee and are paid a stipend for ten months in the academic year. The IIMs and IISERs are also providing fee concession and assistance to the students coming from weaker sections as an effort to ensure that the students from weaker sections are not deprived of education because of financial reasons.
In this Digital Age, Digital Literacy is becoming very important. In line with the objective of the ‘National Policy on Information Technology 2012’ to make one person in every household in the country e-literate, a scheme for IT Mass Literacy (now renamed as National Digital Literacy Mission) has been approved in April 2014. The Scheme aims to train 10 lakh persons at two levels of literacy, one in every eligible household in selected Blocks in each State/ UT of the country. Out of this, 1 lakh candidates are to be trained by Industry, NGOs and others through their own resources/under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and remaining 9 lakh candidates would be supported by Government.
Scheme for ‘Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ (DISHA) under ‘Digital India’. A Scheme entitle ‘Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ to make 42.5 lakh persons digitally literate in selected households throughout the country. Here also it will be done with the support of industry, NGOs etc.
Out of the total target of candidates to be supported by the Government, 50% seats would be reserved for SC/ST and BPL categories for which 100% training cost would be borne by Government. For the remaining 50% seats, 75% of the training cost would be borne by Government. All the candidates trained under the scheme would need to undergo a certification examination by an agency identified by the Government. The Certification fee for all the targeted candidates trained would be reimbursed to the Certification Agency.
The person selected for training would be in the age group of 14-60 years under ‘Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ (DISHA)’.
The objective of both the scheme is to provide digital literacy training at two levels, relevant to the need of the trainee, which enables the beneficiaries to use IT and related applications for their livelihood earning and employability.
UGC has issued the UGC (Establishment and Maintenance of Standards in Private Universities) Regulations, 2003 which provides that the admission procedure and fixation of fees shall be in accordance with the norms /guidelines prescribed by the UGC and other concerned statutory bodies. The UGC has also issued the UGC (Institutions Deemed- to- be Universities) Regulations 2010 which provides that the level of the fees charged for the courses offered in Deemed-to-be universities shall have a reasonable relation to the cost of running the course. The UGC has further issued the UGC (Institutions Deemed-to-be universities) (Amendment) Regulations 2014. According to these amended regulations the Deemed-to-be universities have to mandatorily publish a Prospectus before commencement of admission process indicating the details of the fee structure, the number of seats approved for each course, the age limit prescribed for candidates etc. The regulations prohibit such Universities from publishing any advertisement inducting students for taking admission claiming to be recognised by appropriate authority where it is not so recognised.
Indian higher education is undergoing sea change and the above mentioned changes clearly shows that sites of university learning or higher education is taking the shape of more instrumentality. It is one sector which is being examined that how to make it more productive or to make ‘higher education’ more ‘practical for job oriented’ and or around the theme of how much of ‘practical education’ is to be introduced into ‘vocational’ instruction. In post 90s either it is Birla-Ambani Report or the very knowledge Commission which is more concerned with harnessing the epoch which is being defined as ‘knowledge economy’.
There is no doubt that India is undergoing transformation in economy, society or polity and this change can be easily realised in this globalization liberalization phase where education particularly higher education has become a tool and site of university to exercise that tool to redundant this site to just learning few technicalities which is needed to this global market.
Government of India is also on this direction to harness these changes with the help of its sites of higher education. However, what we are missing here that the sites of higher learning has to do with some larger and more fundamental question of what constitutes ‘higher’ about higher education. While reflecting on the higher education situation of India in 1980s Altbach has rightly commented in his work ‘Higher Education Reform in India: Experience and Perspective’ that Indian university system is afflicted with sclerosis rendering it almost inflexible to reform and innovation. To a large extent the question of inadequacy, inefficiency, and vagueness that characterises the whole course of higher education in the country now. In post 1990s, with the diversification and emergence of private universities and gradual retreat of state from the domain of higher education has deepen these issue which needs to be understood in more deeper manner because this is one area which decides the destiny of nation, which is the source of not only enrichment of mind with higher abstractions but also develops aesthetic sense and makes the society and polity more humane