“Com­pe­ti­tion main­tains qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion”

India Today - - CHENNA -

Mu­ruge­san Pon­navaikko, vice chan­cel­lor, SRM Univer­sity, dis­cusses his opinion of the In­dian ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. Q. What change have you ob­served in the In­dian ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem over the years? A. Over the years the sys­tem has been open to pri­vate par­tic­i­pa­tion, re­sult­ing in the in­crease of num­ber of col­leges from 4,738 in 1981 to 25,951 in 2010 and the num­ber of uni­ver­si­ties from 123 in 1981 to 533 in 2010. While this has in­creased ac­cess to higher ed­u­ca­tion, in­creas­ing the GER from seven per cent in 2001 twelve per cent in 2010, it has not ad­dressed the is­sues, such as, eq­uity, qual­ity and rel­e­vance.

A large num­ber of seats re­main un­filled to­day due to high tu­ition fees charged by the pri­vate play­ers in higher ed­u­ca­tion, which the pri­vate in­vestors are forced to do to meet the ex­penses. Thus eco­nom­i­cally weaker stu­dents do not have ac­cess to the pri­vately funded uni­ver­si­ties. Q. With new pri­vate uni­ver­si­ties com­ing up, there seems to be a sense of com­pe­ti­tion? Are you fac­ing the heat? A. Com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the uni­ver­si­ties is nec­es­sary for main­tain­ing the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion. Any good univer­sity should be in the com­pet­i­tive race to at­tract bright stu­dents and the in­dus­tries for fund­ing agen­cies to seed re­search in the univer­sity. Also sup­port­ing the core aca­demic mis­sion is most im­por­tant.

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