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Showing posts from June, 2011

Indian University Admissions: The Crisis of Confidence in Quality

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Expansion, growth and access have been the buzzwords for Indian higher education in last five years. However, they all sounds hollow when you hear that some colleges in Delhi University expect 100% marks for admissions. As this cartoon from Manjul shows, "aiming high" has a new standard.

The talent pool aspiring for quality higher education is increasing at a much faster rate than number of institutions with quality. This means that more students with highly competitive academic preparedness are available, however, the institutions with high quality have not increased in the same proportion. According at a recent article in Times of India, number of students with over 95% marks in CBSE (XIIth grade) have shot up from about 1200 last year to over 2100 this year, while the number of undergraduate seats in the University of Delhi roughly the same as last year at 54,000.

Instances like this, question the whole rhetoric that Indian higher education is reforming and expanding acces…

Agents for international student recruitment: Have we not learned anything from Australia and the UK?

Australia and the UK have been revered for their best practices and proactiveness in using agents for student recruitment. Then came the "trouble" in international student market in Australia and the UK, resulting in tightening of student visa norms. What's the relationship between tightening of student visa and agents? Many agents enabled "short-cuts" (read document frauds) for students in using education for immigration. (Here is my related post where I argue that a handful of self-proclaimed or certified "good" agents are not the industry.)

At a time when Australia and the UK are tightening the student visa, more students are looking to study abroad and agents are hungry for new destinations beyond their traditional favorite markets. At the same time, American public institutions are looking for more international students to meet their budget cuts. This is a perfect storm for the US higher education and international student recruitment practices.…

Indian Vocational and Doctoral Education: Tale of Two Extremes

Indian post-secondary education faces acute problems at two extremes. On the one extreme is the skill-based vocational education and on the other is research-based doctoral education. Both are facing serious quantitative and qualitative challenges in terms of attracting talent, delivering value and meeting the needs of the society.

According to the Ministry of Labour & Employment, 12.8 million people enter labour force annually, however, vocational training capacity is available for only 4.3 million per annum. Further, a report by the World Bank noted that over 60 percent of all graduates of vocational education system in India remained unemployed, even three years after graduation.

Likewise, doctoral education system is struggling with the issue of optimizing quality and quantity. According to the latest official statistics released by UGC, number of PhDs awarded in 2007-08 increased by only 484 as compared to previous year. In the same period, student enrollment in "Gradua…

Recruitment Agent Debate: Are Institutions Ready for Disclosures?

International student recruitment using agents is evolving into a hot debate in the US. There have been arguments in favor by Mitch Leventhal and AIRC and against the agents by Philip Altbach and Alan Ruby arguing for institutions to be responsible for good behavior. Finally, NACAC proposed to stop double standards of what constitutes best practices in recruiting international and domestic students. In the context of these development, today I also attended an interesting session at NAFSA entitled "Opportunities and Challenges of Working with Education Counseling and Recruitment Agents"  The panelists supported the use of agents for recruiting students.

My take on agency debate is two-fold. First, a small segment of good agents do not make the industry. Second, are institutions and "good" agents ready to provide evidence of their effectiveness?

Segments: The agent debate is about 95% of  unethical and unprofessional agents and not about 5% of good quality of agents.…