The Indian Institute of Technology - Delhi, Bombay and Kanpur are the only Indian institutes that have been ranked in the top 300 in the QS World Rankings. Despite having over 700 Universities and 35,000 higher education institutions, the Indian education sector viewed from a global perspective is currently in a not-so-great state. A report by the UGC also states that while 86 percent students complete their Graduation, only 12 percent opt for Post Graduate programs and 1 percent pursues research opportunities. An important fact is that barely 2 to 3 percent of student populations pursue an academic career which is very important as these students become the future professors and researchers at institutions providing higher education.
Due to this very reason, Indian institutes that may possess world-class infrastructure are finding it extremely hard to recruit such people as faculty members. The institutions should present a more academic environment to solve this problem. This would allow the young people who are currently pursuing their pre university studies to also take academics and research as a career. While the government and other governing bodies have taken a positive step in raising the salaries of all faculty members, it is more important to encourage them to improve by studying further or pursuing research in a field of their choice.
Although it has been observed that most faculty members do not pursue a career in research they are also not competent to teach the subjects they have been hired for as majority of institutes who hire them have not set proper criteria. By not recruiting faculty members who are effective, it has been studied that this inversely affects the students- performance. Therefore it is imperative to setup appropriate parameters when hiring faculty members such as faculty members should possess a PhD. Furthermore, it is important that all institutes and universities must check details such as where the candidate has obtained PhD from, the quality of the research and various other factors.
Over the years, the engineering institutes have been ranked solely based on the placements, which should not be the case. Essential factors such as the number of PhDs the institute is producing, research projects the institute is taking up, research papers that are being published should be taken into consideration. The majority of private institutions have been setup from a business perspective where placements are the only thing that matters. However, this shouldn't be the case.
Rise in Industry Academia Interaction is Critical
Even though there is a huge demand in providing quality education to students and research opportunities to a variety of individuals, an increase in the industry academia interaction is critical. Over the years, most of the technology such as computers, internet, smart-phones and others have been discovered in education institutions and with the help of the industry become a part of our present day life. By increasing the amount of money spent for research in normal engineering institutes, the number of students and faculty members interested in the same may go up which will thus raise the standards of the university providing the same. Another important fact which institutes gain by strengthening the industry academia relations is that the students can become job ready by gaining a lot of practical oriented knowledge.
Apart from this, the government has also realized the need to provide quality education to the masses and has started moving in the right direction with the establishment of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA). With the help of RUSA, the government hopes to raise the gross enrollment ration in India to 32 percent which will be a huge boost to the development of the literate people in our nation. Another huge step in this direction has been taken with National Board of Accreditation signing the Washington peace accord, which will help bringing out a world class system of engineering education. While this may look good on paper, all the stakeholders in education need to play an important role as nearly every one of them aren't playing their part. Despite the fact that there are many organizations in the setting up and accreditation of intuitions; it is important to note that there is a need to streamline the process which has already begun.
Although, the fundamental problem is that there are a large number of students who are leaving their studies after completing their 10th class, it is important that our education system encourages them by solving the various problems and giving these students a path to a brighter future. (As told to Dylan D'souza)
He is currently the Director and Country Head of IET India. Before joining IET, Shekhar has worked with various organizations such as Nortel, Achieve Global, ABP group and Tata Infomedia in various capacities. He hopes to see more number of students enroll in higher education courses rather than leave after completing their 10th class.