Transforming Higher Education In India: Newer Imperatives To Increase Relevance Of Higher Education In Today's World

By - 25 March 2020


25 March 2020

The higher education space in India has never been more robust and diverse as it stands today. According to some reports, the higher education system in the country is the third-largest in the world when the number of students is considered. The higher education sector has especially witnessed massive growth since 2001, with the country having more than 993 universities and 39,931 colleges along with 10,725 stand-alone institutions at present. (As per a report of the All India Survey on Higher Education, MHRD 2018-19). The growth and scope for higher education and technical education in the country have the potential to make this sector one of the most innovative and market-responsive domains.

The paradox, as per present realities, however, paints a different picture. A recent report published by the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) puts the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education as a dismal 26.3 per cent for 2018-2019. While the figure itself isn’t strong, further disaggregation of the data into gender, caste divisions and other inequities make it even bleaker. However, the greatest issue that plagues higher education in India is not its GER alone.

Despite the potential and numerous institutions, our higher education system has been unable to ensure employability for its students. The National Employability Report for Engineers, 2019 indicates that 80 per cent of engineers trained in India continue to be unemployable for available jobs. This plagues other disciplines as well, which is unsurprising when we consider two key factors. The first is the fact that most of the emphasis within higher education in the country is towards ‘academic’ or the perceived learning of what is considered essential, as opposed to focus on learning that is based on praxis. To add to this, teachers that impart higher education in the country are almost all academics themselves and not practitioners of the discipline.

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