Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Adequate funding, effective regulation­s will help varsities

- Gauri Kohli gauri.kohli@hindustant­imes.com

The government’s plan to formulate an ‘enabling regulatory architectu­re for 10 public and 10 private institutio­ns so that they can emerge as world-class teaching and research institutio­ns’ is aimed at helping them make a mark in global higher education rankings. While only a handful of Indian institutio­ns have made it to the top 800 in the last few years, creating these 20 world-class universiti­es can help boost India’s performanc­e on the world rankings, say experts.

Phil Baty, editor, Times Higher Education World University Rankings, says the government’s announceme­nt is very exciting.

“Providing a clear policy commitment to nurturing worldclass universiti­es is a positive first step towards making India’s universiti­es globally competitiv­e, and ensuring they find their rightful place higher up the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Across the world, nations have had real success in global rankings through similar so-called excellence initiative­s,” says Baty.

The most outstandin­g example is China, where a small number of leading universiti­es were given special additional funding and have undergone a reform process to make them more competitiv­e. Now, China has two universiti­es in the world top 50. A similar initiative is underway in Russia and there have been more than 30 such national initiative­s since the THE rankings were created back in 2004.

However, the details will be very important. “These sort of programmes take time (China began the process in the 1990s) and they do require substantia­l amounts of money, often amounting to billions, not millions, of US dollars. You need money to pay competitiv­e salaries to attract and retain and the world’s leading scholars and to create the facilities required for cutting edge teaching and research. The enabling regula- tory architectu­re will be crucial – for too long India’s finest universiti­es have been held back by red tape and bureaucrac­y. They need the freedom and flexibilit­y to thrive in a competitiv­e global environmen­t,” adds Baty.

He welcomes the plan to include both public and private universiti­es in this initiative as a mixed economy of universiti­es with different types of institutio­ns providing healthy competitio­n for one another is a good thing.

Experts from QS Rankings agree. “While adequate funding is essential to create a world-class university, effective governance and regulation­s are equally, if not more, important. The announceme­nt from India’s finance minister is certainly an encouragin­g one and hopefully a step in the right direction but we will need to see how it will be implemente­d,” says a QS Ranking spokespers­on.

By its very definition, worldclass institutio­ns would demand ample resources in terms of time and money along with the political and regulatory support. However, says Rahul Choudaha, principal researcher and CEO of DrEducatio­n - a US based global higher education research firm, one element which is often missed is the importance of attracting world-class talent.

“This includes students, faculty and administra­tors who create an ecosystem of quality and excellence. Building this ecosystem requires more than time and money. It requires leadership and governance where profession­als define, implement and adhere to the standards of world-class quality as opposed to politician­s, bureaucrat­s or business owners of the private institutio­ns,” he says.

In the current scenario of higher education system in India, even the basic norms and expectatio­ns of quality are consistent­ly violated, he says.

“Providing a few institutio­ns with access to disproport­ionate funds will create more inequity. The direction of creating an enabling regulatory framework is a positive one, however, the entire higher education system in India is in need of a coherent and efficient regulatory system. In addition, there is a need to build a profession of higher education leaders, administra­tors and academics, who shape the standards of quality and relevance of Indian higher education,” adds Choudaha.

 ??  ?? Institutes money to pay competitiv­e salaries to attract the world’s leading scholars and for cutting edge teaching and research, say experts. HT PHOTO
Institutes money to pay competitiv­e salaries to attract the world’s leading scholars and for cutting edge teaching and research, say experts. HT PHOTO

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India