Removing The Roadblocks To Quality In Indian Higher Education
By Ms.Swaleha Sindhi
19 February, 2015
The Indian education system was thrown open after independence to all, irrespective of caste, creed, sex rural or urban areas etc. thus social and cultural diversity has become an important strength of higher education; as a consequence, there has been an absolute explosion in number of students, institution and teachers. There has been the development of institutions of excellence, producing highly specialized human capital and it could produce the second largest stock of educated and skilled manpower in the world; and the third largest reservoir of scientific and technical manpower. The most significant problem facing India is the variation in the quality of institutions of higher education; only the quantitative expansion is not enough the mushrooming of college’s in remote, rural, backward and hilly areas, striving to achieve excellence, therefore what is lacking is accountability and quality.
The classrooms in the higher education institutions consists of variety of students, there are those who secured distinction and those who have just passed in the first attempt. This poses a challenge for the teachers also to reach the different cognitive abilities. The emerging open learning systems, distance education significantly contributed to 'massification' of higher education. But the fact is that there is a higher degree of inequality in quality of higher education between the institutions of in the rural areas and the urban areas, i.e. for the élites and for the socio economically backwards.
The Higher Education sector ensures the quality of the educational process with the help of accreditation agencies established for the purpose. The main agency which accredits universities and colleges in general education is the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) established by the UGC in 1994, whereas a similar function is done for technical education by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) set up by AICTE in 1994, and for agricultural education by the Accreditation Board (AB) set up by ICAR in 1996. NAAC proposes to introduce the India Education Index (IEI) for ranking institutes based on academic, research performance and other parameters. The outcome will help in the international comparison of institutes. NAAC has entered into an MOU with higher learning institutes of the United States, Taiwan, Norway, and Kuwait and with the Commonwealth of Learning to facilitate collaborative work on quality assurance in higher education institutions. Thus, NAAC proposes aspects that will allow quality to penetrate in all kinds of higher education institutions. It focuses on continuous improvement efforts, and management of the overall change process to close the gap between an existing practice of the institution and that of the best-in-class institutions with reference to the most relevant key performance variables. (Source: NAAC for Quality and Excellence in Higher Education, www.naac-india.com)
Important Aspects for Quality Enhancement
The modern communication technologies, integrating computation, tele-communication and broadcasting are rapidly changing the whole array of process and requirements of the society. It is necessary to involve students in the quality process to achieve effectiveness in quality education; this will help the learners to be motivated in their vision, mission to transform their dreams in reality. The role of teachers is crucial to build climate that encourages student performance, all round development of students, be motivators to help students achieve goals and develop employable skills. Along with teachers the leaders also must focus on continuous improvement and innovation in educational process to build a culture of quality in the institution.
Some Concerns of quality in higher education are; demand-supply gap, quality education, shortage of faculty etc. As part of reforms in All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) norms, the HRD ministry announced an increase of almost 200,000 seats in engineering courses, additional 80,000 seats in management and 2,200 seats in architecture courses. The ministry also made it mandatory for technical institutions to reserve 5 percent seats for the weaker sections of society. Government has also proposed for establishment of an autonomous overarching National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) for prescribed standards of academic quality to prevent, prohibit and punish educational malpractices. It proposes to review the functioning of existing Deemed Universities.
The suggestions for quality improvement in higher education include; first and foremost to motivate and guide the students towards their goals with the use of dynamic methods and approaches in the teaching learning process. To motivate young students to use the library, this would help the students to do self learning, self evaluation and self improvement. Teacher capacity building is crucial for both the school education and higher education, attending the refresher courses, participating in conferences, presenting papers, involving in creative and innovative researches must be a part of their job. This will help teachers to create a healthy classroom climate and make use of Information Technology in classrooms.
Thus quality enhancement in the higher education is a collective effort to increase quality in higher education. The teachers, the members of managements, the participation of students’, the participation of educationalist, the participation of experts of information technology, infrastructure all these elements should be collectivity involved in the process of enhancing qualitative higher education. This collaborative task is not impossible. A number of nations of the world have performed experimental researches and achieved the goal of qualitative systems of Higher Education India is also hopeful because our nations is not behind applying new strategy, in use of IT and experimental research.
(Ms.Swaleha Sindhi is Assistant Professor in Department of Educational Administration The M.S.University of Baroda. Gujarat. Email at: email@example.com)
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