Chennai: The efforts taken by various top-ranking institutes like IITs and IIMs to enhance quality of higher education in India notwithstanding, the country has slipped two ranks from 91 (2013) to 93 (2014) in the higher education segment in the world global competitiveness index 2014 released on Wednesday by Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF).
Terming India’s slide to 93rd rank as an obvious one, former Anna University vice-chancellor and ex-UPSC member Prof E. Balagurusamy says that India has several issues like shortage of qualified faculty and lack of quality infrastructure in higher education institutions that have gone towards placing the country in the bottom of the ranking.
“Even premier institutes like IITs and NITs, besides centrally funded institutes have 40 per cent faculty shortage. When the scenario is so pathetic, how can you expect us to be in the top of the pyramid?” he asked.
Pointing out that several colleges and universities had no proper laboratory facilities, the eminent academician said that the state and the Centre must take these issues seriously and address them immediately.
Citing the example of how Singapore climbed to the second position, VIT University founder-chancellor Dr G.Viswanathan said that even as a small city-state, Singapore spends huge money for higher education and research, which India failed to do.
“These global rankings look at foreign faculty and students as one of their major criteria. In the Indian context, most of the universities are government run where they neither admit foreign students nor recruit good quality foreign faculty, which becomes a major hurdle for us,” he said.
Adding that Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and University Grants Commission (UGC) failed to fund deemed universities for research.
“Deemed universities and private institutions undertake quality research whereas several government institutions which fail to do so are provided money by the government although they are non-performers. Several factors like these hamper India’s prospects of entering the ivy-league of top nations in ranking,” he said.
The World Economic Forum report states that quality higher education and training is crucial for economies which wish to move up the value chain beyond simple production processes and products.
In particular, today’s globalising economy requires countries to nurture pools of well-educated workers, who are able to perform complex tasks and adapt rapidly to their changing environment and the evolving needs of the production system....
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