A Good Ini­tia­tive in Higher Ed­u­ca­tion

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

In­dia Rank­ing 2016, the first, state-spon­sored, com­par­a­tive as­sess­ment of uni­ver­si­ties and higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tutes for en­gi­neer­ing, man­age­ment and phar­macy, marks the be­gin­ning of an im­por­tant ex­er­cise. It will help in­sti­tu­tions iden­tify their short­com­ings, and should help chan­nel re­sources for im­prove­ments. The in­tent of the min­istry of hu­man re­source devel­op­ment and rank­ing com­mit­tee is to cre­ate a com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment in the higher ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor to im­prove the qual­ity and out­put of in­sti­tu­tions. The core pur­pose of higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions and uni­ver­si­ties is to ex­tend the fron­tiers of knowl­edge. This can be cutting-edge re­search in science, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and medicine, or re­search in so­cial science, de­sign of in­sti­tu­tions or in­stru­ments that tackle so­cial and eco­nomic ques­tions and im­pact on pub­lic pol­icy. A univer­sity must also be judged by the qual­ity of the hu­man re­source it pro­duces, and the im­pact it has on sys­tems and pol­icy. While the broad cat­e­gories ac­knowl­edge the key func­tion of higher ed­u­ca­tion — 60-70% of weigh­tage is given to teach­ing and learn­ing re­sources, and re­search and pro­fes­sional prac­tices — the pa­ram­e­ters that com­prise these cat­e­gories re­quire re­fine­ment to en­sure that the rank­ing sys­tem be­comes a tool that spurs higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions to ac­tu­alise their core pur­pose. This will mean re­ori­ent­ing the coun­try’s higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions: from de­gree-dol­ing units to knowl­edge cre­ators, and this will re­quire pol­icy sup­port. The In­dian Rank­ing should spur higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions to higher lev­els of ex­cel­lence. Uni­ver­si­ties that cre­ate new knowl­edge are in­te­gral to the real prom­ise of Made in In­dia and Stand Up In­dia. In­dus­try should use the rank­ings to fund re­search in univer­sity de­part­ments.

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