‘How the Best of India will reach out to the Rest of India?’ – , a panel discussion based on this theme was hosted by Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK) on March 24, 2013 at IIMK campus. The key objective of the panel discussion was to facilitate the roadmap for higher education in India.
Considering the fact that the Indian education system has conquered a strong position in international circuit, the panel members engaged in a discussion about facilitating a change in the state of higher education in India and providing a right direction for the students of the nation. According to the report released by Deloitte in November 2012, India has the third largest higher education system in the world in terms of enrolments, after China and the US. The discussion was witnessed by approximately 50 participants including mostly academicians, corporates and students.
The key panellists were Prof. Debashis Chatterjee, Director, IIM Kozhikode; Dr. Pallam Raju, Hon’ble Union Human Resource Development Minister (HRD) Minister; Lord Meghnad Desai, Professor Emeritus, London School of Economics and other stakeholders. The session was moderated by Mr. Govindaraj Ethiraj, a well known Indian journalist and formerly the Founder Editor-In-Chief at the television channel Bloomberg UTV.
During the panel discussion, Prof. Chatterjee, Director, IIMK, said, “Markets cannot sort out the efficient from the inefficient; higher education institutions are not supposed to be led by the market but are intellectual capital which can make recommendations to the Govt and then it is up to the Govt to take it forward or not; as our restrictions stops there.”
Speaking at the panel discussion, Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD), Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju stated about improving the quality of teaching pedagogy in order to meet the explosion in demand. In addition he also discussed about raising the gross enrolment ratio in higher education to 30% by 2020 from the current level of 18.8%.
“In terms of infrastructure, capacity creation is not a problem as we have improved a lot since the implementation of the Right to Education Act. But the number of teachers is very low. In place of the required 20 lakh teachers, we have only 12.5 lakh,” Dr. Raju said
Expressing his concern on the quality of education in private institutions, he said some of the pending Bills, most notably the mandatory accreditation Bill and the malpractices Bill, were aimed at ensuring quality. He also hinted at restructuring the fees in public-funded institutions. “The fee in many of our major public-funded colleges is very low. We need to slowly shift towards increasing this while providing sufficient scholarship to deserving students,” Dr Raju added.
He further highlighted the need for creating an environment for children to discover their strengths and innate qualities. He said, “The race to get into IIMs and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) is spoiling the childhood of our students. Society should let children be themselves and allow them to opt for careers of their choice. There has not been enough emphasis on Humanities in our education sector of late.”
During the discussion, Lord Meghnad Desai, Professor – Emeritus, London School of Economics commented on the higher education scenario in the country and his vision is that it should be accessible to anyone who wanted it.