The XIth five-year plan (2007-2012) envisages establishment of 14 innovation universities in India, aimed at world-class standards. The concept note on innovation universities states that “These Universities would be at the fount[sic] of making India the global knowledge hub and set benchmarks for excellence for other Central and State Universities. The first and foremost criterion for a University to be termed world class is the quality and excellence of its research, recognised by society and peers in the academic world.”
While the concept of innovation universities is very encouraging for Indian higher education, it has its set of challenges and limitations. For example, the execution of this project is not an easy taks in terms of raising resources and allocating them to efficient use. There are others who critique the proposal of innovation universities and suggest that there is a need to raise the quality of all universities gradually instead of few universities radically.
There is a no doubt that Indian higher education is in dire need of exemplars of quality and research beyond IITs and IIMs. Proposal to establish innovation universities is a positive step and will create competitive pressure for top private and public universities to integrate research and quality in their academic offerings.