In the ancient era, India had been a center of higher education in the field of linguistic studies, cultural studies, philosophy, arts and professional studies like agricultural sciences and many more. These courses were extremely popular all over Eastern and Middle Eastern part of the world. Some of the other subjects like Indian dance forms, martial arts, ayurveda, astrology, arts and music used to be imparted to Indian and foreign students. The universities like Nalanda Vishwavidyalaya, Taxshila Vishwavidyalaya, Vikramshila Vishwavidyalaya have been renowned schools of those days.
India has been ruled by different race and ethnicity of human society, hence the system of education kept on changing its shape and process. This led to modern education system that presently exists. The Indian education system has been a cumulative conglomerate mix of different origins that came from different places of the world. Hence, the original value based education system such as 'Gurukul', had lost its existence. If the present status of Indian education system is compared with the developed countries of the world, one would find the need for the improvements. According to the survey of different agencies of the world like Times Higher Education, the top Indian universities do not find a place even in the first 250 top universities in the world. This has become a startling fact and a big worry for India. The ranking of autonomous institute like IITs, IIMs, government institute like central universities and old universities such as Calcutta University ranks below 300 in the world. This implies our education system, methods and process of governance has deteriorated over the time.
The basic education system has some lacunae, as the foundation of the technical education has always been to understand the theory and performing practical or laboratory class properly to learn the theory pragmatically. Majority of our schools lack imbibing the potential higher degree students in practical aspect, which in turn demotivate the students for research at higher level of education. Moreover, the kind of education system we have, emphasis is given on memory based examination systems unlike other countries in U.S. and Europe.
Lack of basic infrastructure in universities for research, improper process of disbursement of government funds, unnecessarily very high number of tracking and governing bodies like AICTE, UGC, NAAC, state governments department, DST and so on hampers the natural blossom of young minds for technical and professional advancement. The fact that, our education system as a whole have not been refrained from corruption, be it the bureaucrats or the middle level government officials. The corruption on all levels gives way to malpractice among the education providers and the seekers as well.
Another important point is the employability after technical education in India, since the practical aspect of curricula has been minimal, the employability of the degree and diploma holders decreases. Thus, in many occasions, higher technical and professional education has become the last resort for the students who fail to secure better jobs after undergraduate level.
Though, the budget allocation for research and development has been quite sizable but the same looks meager with respect to other developed countries. Therefore, it is high time for the government to rethink and make some major amendments in the education policies, organize the private sector in education and stream line the higher education processes. The major emphasis must be given to the development of Institute-Industry, Institute-Society and Industry-Society-Institute symbiotic relationship. Some of our top technical and professional institutes do have Institute Industry Partnership Cells, but not as effective as compared to foreign universities.
The increasing number of pop ups of institutions have maligned the quality of technocrats passing out from various universities. Due to different education policies, especially in higher education and research field, the teachers or professors are compelled to do research work irrespective of their interests to do so and therefore the quality of research and basic teaching is being impaired. In the age of information technology, video conferencing, education site, online libraries and so on so forth, the concept of virtual classes are becoming popular day by day. The conventional chalk and talk teaching methods are equally important for face to face contact between students and the teacher. Hence, blended learning and teaching may be a good choice in India, where we lack adequate laboratory, reference books, journals, research facilities for higher technical education.
The government should allocate more funds towards the enhancement and development of higher technical and other professional education in India. The unnecessary number of monitoring and other certification bodies should be decreased. The policy makers must think about the improvement of school level education and prepare the curricula practical oriented to nurture the young minds. This in turn will generate the interest among students to take up higher education and research in future. "Research by inner desire and not for bread and butter" would be an endeavor towards competitive step comparable to world's best higher education countries.
Dr. Bappa Acherjee
Dr. Bappa Acherjee is presently working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Production Engineering at BIT Mesra, Deoghar Campus and he has authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications including highly cited journal papers, conference papers and book chapters.
Prof. Ashutosh Kumar
Prof. Ashutosh Kumar is working as an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering Department of BIT Mesra, Deoghar Campus since 2011 has also served in various capacities with MNCs for about 6 years.