Tag Archives: Knowledge Commission

Subir Roy: Reengineering Higher Education

Your Education is Our World

The country is immersed in a critical debate on how to reform and rejuvenate its higher education, led by a literate and articulate minister Kapil Sibal. Luckily, two major forward-looking reports (of the Knowledge Commission and the Yash Pal committee) provide vital reference points from which arguments can take off.

A key issue being debated is easing entry, making it much easier to set up institutions with private money — Indian or foreign. This is essential as the needs are huge and there just isn’t enough public money to raise overall supply sufficiently. But it is necessary to do this with eyes wide open. Virtually all the top institutions in the country, as also in developed countries, are public ones and the vast majority of private institutions, ranging from mediocre to abysmal, are solely devoted to making money, imparting quality education being furthest from their minds.

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In search of learning

Your Education is Our World

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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