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Higher Educational Institutions - A Boon or a Bane

By Dr. Shobha Rekh, Professor and Head - Dept of E&T, Karunya University | Thursday, 01 Dec 2016, 05:16 IST
In today's world, with the fast changing technology, it is high time we analyse where the educational institutions are heading. There is a question arising out of every investment done. A child starts its quest to excellence with curiosity as to why, what and when? There were times when an educational institution was considered a very sacred place, a place of excellence, values and a place which takes you to your next phase of life. Gone are those days.

We are in a paradigm shift where parents stand in queue from early morning to get an admission into the so called ‘Best school’. Parents are to be graduates to get their child admitted in these best schools and are a great injustice to the children if they are illiterate parents. The next phase of life starts with higher education in colleges or universities. The same queue exists. But the entry is based on the marks scored in the XII exams. A difference of 0.1 marks leads to great loss. The other way to get into the so called ‘Best College’ is through a management seat which speaks in lakhs which is again, great injustice to the children of poor parents.

Are the colleges meeting the needs of this generation? Is it meeting the needs of the industry? Is it satisfying the desires or plans of a budding graduate? The answer is highly ambiguous. Are the higher educational institutions a boon or a bane!  There were school dropouts who have landed their career as scientists and have stunned the world with their inventions.  In this fast changing world, are the higher education institutions bringing out the hidden talents or are they killing the hidden talent. There is a separate quota for sports. But are the sportspersons able to exhibit their talents?

There are different aspects on higher education. The outcome of higher education should be able to make the students industry ready, globally ready for another program abroad, or an entrepreneur. 

Why isn’t the colleges industry ready?

It is ridiculous that the students learn something which is not going to be used in the industry. What is hindering the educational institutions? Why isn’t the curriculum designed to meet the standards of industry? A thorough revamping of the educational system needs to be done. It is pathetic that faculties in educational institutions would not even have entered an industry. Then what is the probability of transferring the industrial concepts to students? It should be made mandatory for the engineering colleges to have an industry or a partnering industry, as to how a hospital is mandatory for opening a medical College. Approval of every course should be done based on the construction of the industry in the relevant field or partner with a relevant industry. The qualifying factor for an engineering degree should be one year of work in the industry similar to a house surgeon.  This could entirely change the outlook of the institute. Industry problems will become the student projects and assignments.

The next major question arises on the quality of faculty. The faculty calibre is not tested on industrial standards. There are many institutions which ask for the number of publications from each faculty. But an industrial experience is never counted at par with teaching experience. The entry into a higher course abroad depends on publications. But these are the days where articles can be published on payment. What quality can be expected from such faculty? Are we equipping the students to be at par internationally?

The students enter an engineering college with lot of dreams to become an MD or CEO of a company. But his dreams get shattered. Are the entrepreneurial skills kindled? Is there a scope for a student to become an entrepreneur after his course of study? Or is it the family business he has to carry for generations!

Hard times for the current generation!!!!! It is high time the Indian education system wakes up.  These are the days of Whatsapp and Facebook. Every like is liked by the student. A better grade doesn’t fascinate him. We need to wake up to their expectations. Can we think of an app which appreciates them for the skill sets he acquires? Can that add to the likes in Facebook page? We need to do a detailed analysis to arrive at an education system which would discover and bring out the hidden talent within him. Let us be careful not to impose our choice on him. With little expectations to satisfy the current generation, let us start working towards a better tomorrow.

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