Our morale is so low!
Yes, we are now in the midst of a terrible crisis and confusion in our higher education sector. On the one side is the government with no plan. On the other is the new breed of education exploiters who fleece the poor and the middle classes! Now come the foreign education agencies.
Our young generation now is faced with too many opportunities and also also too many uncertainties. Yes, if you can pay a high capitation fee you can become anybody, a doctor or an engineer? Yes! If you can’t then there are the equally selfish politicians who are parading their caste cards and the 27% OBC quotas look like the final solution!
There is no road map. There are also too many players,Arjun Singh, the minister with his own caste axis to grind. Sam Pitroda whose clout with Sonia Gandhi frightens even the PM! So, you have a sad state of affairs on the higher education front.
Rememeber, as it is, the Indian universities don’t figure anywhere in the first 100 higher education institutions in the world! Such is our low performance, lower morale!
Take some of the current developments. In the South there is a vigorous private sector higher education driven by market demand. In TN and Karnataka you can buy any degree in higher education, be it medicine or engineering or nursing or name it, then can have it! Just the only requirement is the cash! Yes, cash payment, spot payment can fetch you the seat instantly!
Such is the market trim in some of these campuses. IN TN there is a medical university that offers you any medical course you desire, name it and you get it! Even the Supreme Court couldn’t do much about this particular university except to pass some harsh and stringent remarks about the psychology of the man who founded such a wonder of the new Indian higher education’s ultimate symbol of corrupt and malpractices.
In a recent IT raid on some of the engineering colleges in Chennai and the suburbs it was revealed that one of the founders of these “fakes” that he drew by self cheque one crore a day for days together. Such is the pile of the capitation fee cash mountain. One such group had engaged (yes, employed one of the one-time powerful civil servant) to run his group. The idea is as simple any. He has to manage the affairs from the clutches of the law in Delhi and elsewhere so that the boss can carry on his evil designs on the unsuspected young minds with soaring ambitions to get on in life with an engineering or a medical degree.
So, there you are with so many mushrooming engineering colleges and other colleges, some groups run clutch of institutions, it helps with the economy of scale!
So, when you listen to the Union education minister when he has his own narrow agenda along with an apparent open-minded or high-minded idea of bringing in the foreign universities into India, you really feel like crying for truth!
Yes, there is the politicians’ agenda. The caste based quota politics. That serves the union ministers, the state regional caste leaders and the 27% quota in higher education is what dictated the Union budget to trim the allocations to the elementary education and raise the allocations to the higher education sector. Sometime budgets become irrelevant and the latest budget is one. It doesn’t do anything other than announce, yes, mere announcements only with an eye of the coming elections for the ruling combine knows that is surely to lose the UP and most likely the next general elections as well. In such a bleak scenario what education allocations you are all talking about?
It is just an announcement and when the time comes you can also cut down or postpone your allocations, as they have now done for the rural employment, for children development and a host of infrastructure projects on the plea the money allotted is not spent or some other excuse.
So, we have now got an allocation of Rs.6480.5 crore plan funds for higher education in 2007-08,an increase of nearly 80%.Plan and non-plan total allocation is9,209.5 crore in 2007-08. Secondary education is clubbed with elementary education under the department of school education and literacy.
Much of the increased spending on higher education has gone to technical education; the rise to the sector is up by as much as 200%. The bulk of the funds are going to IITs to enable them to accommodate more students from the OBC quota as recommended by the” Oversight Committee” of Veerappa Moily.Also the funds for the Act which funds the regional engineering colleges. In contrasts, the general university education doesn’t receive such priority, considering the political pressures under which the Central government operates.
And now the Knowledge Commission is to recommend for another new 1,500 universities and then comes the recent decision of the government to bring in the foreign universities.
As it is already the higher education scene is in total confusion. One, the one side the mushrooming of the deemed and other institutions now calling themselves as universities. There is the very chaotic nature of these institutions. The health minister Dr.Anbumani said the other day in Chennai that in his domain of medical education, some of the private medical colleges are demanding as much as Rs.one crore as capitation fees for courses in x-ray technology etc.There is no ceiling at all for some of the specialized courses. If certain standards are prescribed and even the private medical colleges and also medical hospitals are brought under some international accreditation rules, there is going to be real chaos in medication education standards in the country.
One can’t match the competition from the private sector higher education institutions today. So, what the Union education minister says about regulating the higher education is a complex process and one wonders whether he has any clear idea beyond the oBC quota politics.
The foreign universities will surely come but most of them would be substandard ones. The best and the most famous like Oxford or Harvard won’t come for the simple reason they might be confident of attracting students right into their campus in the USA, as it also means they money comes to them directly. Why they should undergo unnecessary rules and regulations?
In fact, what is critical and what is overlooked at present in our opinion is the neglect of our general universities. We need a special policy for the Central universities. Almost all of them must become all India institutions, they are not at present (one instance is Visva Bharati) and thus we have to introduce all Indian students body and all India teaching faculty. Then, there are centers of excellence like Kolkatta, Mumbai and Madras universities, the oldest. We have to have special allocations and also special focus on specific departments.
So, the third segment must be for state universities, they have also mushroomed and have become playthings in the hands of whimsical Chief Ministers! So, the hands of the Union education minister are full and we need to have even a separate ministry for higher education.
The situation on the higher education front is tougher and it requires tougher decisions and tougher choices!