Hurdles of Higher Education

India may soon attract a lot of good foreign universities to set up its shop. And if it happens, naturally that may force IITs and other top technical institutes to compete with the best of the world.

But naturally a question crops up in mind. Will the foreign universities come with the same quality level of education or will it dilute its standard for India for the prices that it may fetch for its education? I am sure the present semester charges of many of the top class American universities as charged in US dollars will be too high for the Indian parents. Though many banks are providing easy education loans, the Indian parents still like to bear that expenditure, as they don’t wish to burden their children at that age.

Will the foreign universities use the localization as route for cutting down their cost? Naturally, they can poach on local teachers, train them and use them to cut the cost of teaching. After all, as reported, the teachers in the institutes of national importance are pretty lowly paid. “Saudi Arabia paid its professors the highest on an average – $6,611, followed by Canada at $6,548 and United States at $5,816 per month. India pays only – $1,547”. They can use the teaching materials from the faculty of the parent institute either digitally or through local printing.

Will the local teachers come up to the efficiency level of those in the best of the foreign universities?

I don’t know if they commit to set up the research laboratories, but they may decide in favour of doing that taking a clue from all the MNCs that have set up R&D centres in India. And who knows after some time they may bring the American students to work in the Indian laboratories.

In fact, according the University Grants Commission’s data, there are 156 foreign providers, including 90 universities and 20 colleges, who have collaboration with Indian institutions.

Some universities have been already trying to enter India. As reported, Georgia Tech and the Schulich School of Business already tied up with some Indian investors and bought huge tracts of land in Mumbai and Hyderabad respectively, when the real estate market was in the slump.

But main thrust must be on the quantity and more so the quality of secondary and higher secondary education that will decide the quality of the input to the higher education. It primarily means quality and dedicated teachers and facilities, particularly in government schools that provide the major portion of the output for the higher education.

Many things are happening and fast too in education sector. Many reforms are on anvil. Enrollment in primary level has seen tremendous rise. Sarv Sikhsha Aviyan is now ready to cover secondary education too.

Will India see that light in education sector that can make it the leader in the world? I wish the corporate India would have participated and invested in the task in big way as it did in setting up of some of the best educational institutes in the past.

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