THOUGHTS have grown in wild profusion on the various facets and issues relating to higher education in India. Not all of them are necessarily consistent; they are even contradictory and can turn out to be misleading.
The Knowledge Commission was expected to give a sense of direction, but it turned out to be a house divided. Its vice-chairman and some members resigned. Its functioning was on occasion opposed by the HRD ministry. A new minister has now taken over. Will he be able to steer clear of contradictions and provide positive leadership to ensure the progress of higher education? This presupposes a clear ideological outlook.
An overriding ideology now influences our economy, polity, technology, society and culture. This is the ideology of marketisation, globalisation, privatisation and liberalisation. It also tends to influence our educational system.
The ideology of marketisation has led to the “commodification” of everything. Education is one such “commodity” to be bought and sold in the market. An educational institution is the shop where “education” is bought and sold. The type of instruction imparted and its “quality” depends on the demand and supply in the market.
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