Dr Bala Balachandran
Founder Dean of Great Lakes Institute of Management ,Chennai
The proposals made by the Yash Pal Committee on reshaping higher education in India are a step in the right direction, but the only way to stem the rot in the education system is by having honest, qualified, intelligent and non-corrupt people.
Build an efficient and a faster approval system
It is sad that many students and parents are duped by false claims made by private institutes. But the reason for the sudden mushrooming of these fly-by-night institutes is because of a corrupt, inefficient and slow system. Unless you grease the palms of AICTE, it is not possible to get an approval, even if you are a good institute.
In fact, there are quite a few top-notch Indian institutes that are not approved. For example, the Indian Business School (ISB) does not have an AICTE approval and yet Financial Times ranked it 15 among the top business schools in the world.
One-size-fit-all will not work
Having one uniform structure to acknowledge institutes, colleges and universities is probably not the way forward. There should be three to five regulatory bodies to supervise recognition. We just have to ensure that there are no bureaucratic hurdles that will retard the process. We should look at how countries such as the United States of America, Australia and Israel have been successful in setting up these regulatory bodies and building a solid and an efficient education system.
A regulatory body for foreign universities
Allowing foreign universities to come to India is a good suggestion. But I am not sure if schools such as Kellogg School of Management will come to India. But there' a word of caution for Mr Sibal. He should not be in a haste to invite foreign universities to the country. He should set up an effective filtering system to screen the entry of foreign universities and ensure they meet the requirements laid out by the regulatory body. The same set of regulations should be applicable to Indian universities, as well.
However, the screening process can only be successful provided it is managed by the "right kind" of people. People like our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Ratan Tata, who are visionaries untouched by greed. We need to have spotless people!
Give the right incentives to educationists
Setting up more Indian universities is not the solution to improve the quality of higher education in India. Where are the qualified teachers? Scholars and researchers leave the country for better opportunities, so give them the right incentives, and recognise their efforts. Exceptionally qualified academicians in the western world are keen on teaching Indian students. I am positive we can get our Indian academicians located abroad interested in India, as well.
Let the good deemed universities live
Abolishing deemed universities, as proposed by Professor Yash Pal, may not be a clever idea. The C.R. Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (AIMSCS), which is a phenomenal institute, is a deemed university. It will be unfair killing all deemed universities. The best way to find out how good a deemed university is by conducting a confidential student poll.
It does not take much to change the system, just conviction.