Showing posts from May, 2010

Published in EDU on international collaboration

Published an article in EDU magazine on the approaches for identifying international higher education partners.

Is India ahead in industrialization of education?

Here are two very interesting videos highlighting the need for an education system that builds on the strengths of a student and not necessarily mass produces them through a factory line. First, Sir Ken Robinson urges to break the industrial model of education and move to agricultural model. Industrial model pursues "linearity" and "conformity" while agricultural model accepts diversity of talent and creates enabling environment for growth.

Second, video from a New York Times story, is about what every college aspiring Indian student knows--how competitive it is to get into top professional colleges. This directly proves how Indian education system is truly "industrialized" and how middle-class children are tunnel-visioned in terms of career options. It seems India is definitely more industrialized at least by the definition of Sir Robinson as linearity and conformity are very deeply ingrained throughout the educational pipeline.

What are the solutions?…

NCHER Bill India 2010- Need of transparency, not control

Here is a copy of the draft National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) Bill 2010 . The bill is being hotly debated on several levels and current discourse looks more like power struggle rather than attempt for quality assurance.

State governments are arguing that this is leading towards centralization of power and is taking away their autonomy of approving institutions through legislation and appointment of Vice-chancellors. Other debates are focusing on should professional field like medicine would be under the NCHER umbrella or not? There is also a discussion to delink the funding mechanism with the regulatory powers where NCHER will focus on regulation and there will be a separate body overseeing funding process for institutions.

Image Source:  CS Kasturi, Telegraph (May 19, 2010)
The primary purpose for NCHER bill is to ensure quality and accountability in higher education. However, in this power struggle, the purpose is getting lost. My most important critique …

Foreign Universities Bill, India 2010

Here is a copy of the Foreign Universities Bill 2010 presented in the Indian parliament. Apart from the critique, corpus fund requirement of 50 crore rupees (~US$11m ) has already received, there are two other clauses which I find troublesome:

1. Distant/online learning is not welcome: The bill defines foreign institution as one offering "conventional method...not including distant mode." Given that Indian higher education needs innovation, cost-effectiveness and accessibility and distance/online learning technologies are well placed to address some of the these issues, this restriction seems out of context. Here it is also important to note that quality of distance education in India is very poor and hence introduction of new foreign partners may help improve the quality. Government need to define measures of quality for assessing good online education providers and not necessarily eliminate the whole channel.

2. Intent to limit institutional autonomy: The bill states that f…