President Pranab Mukherjee has urged Indian universities to introspect and take “concrete action” to improve their credentials to climb in the international ranking agencies’ top universities. President, himself a former professor rued the ‘casual approach’ in many higher educational institutions and their apathy in obviating the poor rating of Indian universities in many international rankings. India is still experimenting with the 19th and 20th century models of higher education. Most universities are only teaching institutions and lag behind in creating knowledge through ground-breaking research. Even smaller countries like Singapore, Finland and Belgium are ahead of India. The President pointed out, “This general apathy is reflected in some indicators. India has 160 researchers in R&D (Research and Development) per one million people compared to 710 in Brazil and 1,020 in China. In high technology exports also, India does not fare well.” In India, much of the research has happened in a synchronised learning atmosphere with research going together with teaching and learning. But very little research is happening in the asynchronised situation. What is missing is cutting-edge research that impacts life and the production world. It is time the motive for research accomplishments went beyond mere modification of the curriculum vitae of some scholars. Meanwhile, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry-Ernst & Young (FICCI-EY) released a report on higher education and observed that year 2030 will mark 20 years of accelerated educational reforms in the country. It noted that despite the strides of progress, India’s higher education institutions still not the best in the world. Demographically, by 2030, India will be the youngest nation in the world, capable of offering the largest numbers to the global workforce. To take advantage of the demographic dividend, India needs to have a futuristic and holistic approach in educational planning. The FICCI vision 2030 envisages a three-tier system of higher education, in which the Tier-I will have top 100 universities in the country focused only on research. It wanted the government to provide generous grants on a competitive basis to facilitate quality researches in these universities. The Tier-2 would be teaching universities that facilitate latest models of teaching applying modern technology. In Tier-3 large number of universities will cover ordinary universities and colleges to make education more inclusive. These colleges aim to reduce inequality in the access to education. They must be instrumental in facilitating the upward mobility of weaker sections and the under-privileged. India with its 750 universities, 47,000 colleges and 40 million students has to wake up to the realities and design realistic education policy. Then only by 2030, the Gross Enrolment Ratio will increase to 50 per cent from the current 23, the report in New Indian express said.

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