Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Accepting that the country's higher education is plagued with lack of quality and inaccessibility, country's Vice President, Hamid Ansari gave a call for academic and curricular reforms.
He said "We have made progress in the field of higher education since 1947. Today, India has the third largest higher education system in the world. We have around 652 universities and university-level institutes that impart higher and technical education. They also provide affiliation to more than 33,000 colleges and institutes,"
Speaking at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the RV College of Engineering, he further added, "However, our higher education system continues to be afflicted with the three problems of access, equity and quality,"
According to him, the higher education enrolment rate in our country stands at 17% which is much lower than the world average of 26%.
He remarked, "Wide disparities exist in enrolment percentages among the states and between urban and rural areas while disadvantaged sections of society and women have significantly lower enrolments than the national average,"
Pointing out the lack of facilities, infrastructure and teachers, he pointed out that "The use of technology remains limited and standards of research and teaching at Indian universities are far below international standard. Curricular reforms leading to regular revision and upgrading of curricula, introduction of semester system, choice-based credit system, and examination reforms are yet to take place in higher educational institutions across the country. Exceptions apart, majority of our higher education institutions perform poorly in the area of quality on a relative global scale,"
He also said that out of the 7 lakhs science and engineering students that graduate every year in India, only 25% are job-ready. "The picture is more dismal in other disciplines if a recent, non-official, employability report is to be believed."
"This is reflected in overcrowded classrooms and distortion of desirable student-teacher ratios, overall shortage of teaching and tutorial space, overloading of laboratory and library facilities, and often a lowering of quality of teaching. All these issues require urgent correctives," the Vice President added.
He signed off by saying "Innovative and relevant curricula should be designed to serve different segments of the job market or provide avenues for self-employment. Emphasis must be given to the expansion of skill-based programmes in order to make our youth employable in the job market,"