“In­dia must work to­wards in­creas­ing its cur­rent gross en­roll­ment ra­tio”

India Today - - INTERVIEW -

Es­tab­lished in 1984, Vel­lore In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy ( VIT), Tamil Nadu, was the brain child of its founder and chan­cel­lor, G. Vish­wanathan. Built on 350 acres of land, this premier pri­vate en­gi­neer­ing col­lege has bro­ken records by achiev­ing 100 per cent place­ment for its stu­dents. With the stu­dent strength of 18,000, VIT has adopted full- flex­i­bil­ity credit sys­tem al­low­ing stu­dents the free­dom to choose sub­jects, pro­fes­sors and even the class tim­ing. He dis­cusses the rel­e­vance of an in­ter­na­tional sys­tem of ed­u­ca­tion and the grow­ing need for uni­ver­si­ties in the coun­try with Deepshikha Punj.

Home im­prove­ment

In­dia should open at least 1,500 new uni­ver­si­ties to im­prove its gross en­roll­ment ra­tio (GER). But even af­ter the govern­ment ap­proval, not even 100 uni­ver­si­ties have been opened. In all the ad­vanced coun­tries, the GER varies from 50 to 90 per cent, whereas in our coun­try it is 12 per cent. Avail­abil­ity of higher ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­ity is much be­low than what is re­quired. Peo­ple should mis­un­der­stand this for mush­room­ing of col­leges. Our re­quire­ment is of more uni­ver­si­ties. Be­tween a col­lege and a univer­sity, in most coun­ties, higher ed­u­ca­tion is of­fered on univer­sity cam­puses. In our coun­try al­most 90 per cent of higher ed­u­ca­tion is of­fered in col­lege cam­puses, only 10 per cent is at the univer­sity cam­pus.

In­dia and the world

Per­son­ally, I am not against for­eign univer­sity com­ing in. It will help us im­prove the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion. But at the same time, cost of ed­u­ca­tion will go up. That is the ex­pe­ri­ence of some de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. My sug­ges­tion would be, they can be en­cour­aged but they must be asked to choose their own part­ners in In­dia. Even if they leave, stu­dents and coun­try will not be af­fected.

In­dia has about 400 govern­ment and 150 pri­vate uni­ver­si­ties, but our coun­try still needs at least 1,500 more uni­ver­si­ties.

Ride the global tide

Ev­ery year more than 1 lakh stu­dents go abroad for higher stud­ies in

the US, Europe and other coun- tries. This is an in­di­ca­tion that In­dian stu­dents want to get the best of ed­u­ca­tion. It is a warn­ing to im­prove our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. VIT has nearly 100 Mou’s with for­eign uni­ver­si­ties with fac­ulty ex­change pro­grammes. The most im­por­tant fea­ture is the se­mes­ter abroad pro­gramme where stu­dents are en­cour­aged to go out and study one se­mes­ter in the for­eign univer­sity of their choice.

Fu­ture of ed­u­ca­tion

In­dia gets the max­i­mum re­mit­tance of money, prob­a­bly the high­est in the world. This can be put to good use by start­ing more uni­ver­si­ties and en­cour­ag­ing a healthy GER.

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