Indian Higher Education: Negotiating Globalization and the Knowledge Economy
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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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Indian Higher Education: Negotiating Globalization and the Knowledge EconomyFazal RizviUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

July 2008


July 2008

The rise of India as an emerging economic power Knowledge Economy is widely attributed to India’s 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


July 20081

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)“India’s economic future is dependent on the extent to which our universities have the determination to reform themselves” ( VC University of Delhi 2007)

July 2008


July 20082

Structure of Higher Education in India high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthColonial beginning in the mid nineteenth century with a strong emphasis on disciplinary learning and examinationsDifferent 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


July 20083

Some indicative data high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealth… 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


July 20084

Indicators of Decline high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthThe inability of the system to meet the growing demandConsiderable evidence of poor teaching, especially in state universities Ineffective quality control‘Ritualization’ of Distance EducationPoor graduate outcomes (‘unemployablity’ of most graduates from colleges)Declining Research performance and productivityLow status of Indian universities in International Ranking SystemsWidespread corruption in appointments of faculty and selection of studentsPoor governance (cumbersome bureaucratic impediments to reform)

July 2008


July 20085

Sources of criticism high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthInternal: academics and researchers; media commentators; major employers; and many politiciansExternal: international organizations; transnational corporations; and the Indian diaspora (NRIs)

July 2008


Policy anxieties

Policy Anxieties high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealth

July 2008


July 20086

National Knowledge Commission (2005-2008) high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthChaired 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)“NKC’s 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


July 20087

Five Aspects of the Knowledge Paradigm high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthAccess to Knowledge: Literacy, Libraries, Translation, Language, Networks, PortalsKnowledge 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 technologyKnowledge Applications: Agriculture and Traditional KnowledgeDelivery of Services: E-governance

July 2008


July 20088

NKC’s Recommendations for reforming Higher Education high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthExpansion 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 universitiesExcellence Reform existing universities Restructure undergraduate colleges Promote enhanced qualityInclusion Ensure access for all deserving students Affirmative action

July 2008


July 20089

Issues: Policy Coordination high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthDeclining authority of the UGC Complexities of Indian Federalism (central-states relations)Political and legal inertia Politicization of policy communication and implementation

July 2008


July 200810

Issues: Contested Claims about Knowledge Economy  high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthwhat knowledge is most worth?Knowledge, economy and cultureDebates over values and traditionsContribution of KE to HE

July 2008


July 200811

Issues: Funding high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthSome increase in public funding but sufficient for NKC’s targetsAlternatives funding sources reluctant to investProblems with the allocation and distribution of funds

July 2008


July 200812

Issues: Privatization high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthOccurring at a rapid rate without a coherent policy frameworkPrivate Education Bill still languishing in ParliamentQuality of private institutions uneven at best

July 2008


July 200813

Issues: Quality Assurance high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthNo coherent mechanismAffiliated college mechanism not workingDecline in the role of professional association in quality assurancePeer review systems by faculty and students almost non-existent

July 2008


July 200814

Issues: Organizational Cultures high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthDeteriorating physical conditions of campusesPoor accountability structuresPoliticization of faculty and students

July 2008


July 200815

Issues: Access and Equity high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthStrong policy dictates for affirmative action often ignoredNarrow conceptions of access (as entry without much support)Educational outcomes for some minorities deteriorating

July 2008


July 200816

Issues: Internationalization high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealthPolicy ambiguity over signing GATSEntry of foreign campuses without any clear policy frameworkIncreased interest in international links

July 2008


Prospects

Prospects high levels of economic growth and broader distribution of national wealth

July 2008


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