Friday, March 25, 2011

Does India Really Need More Colleges and Universities?

While the rest of the world is considering the death/irrelevancy of colleges/universities, questioning their monopolies as Givers of Degrees, and while the rest of the world is benefiting from brilliant educational innovations such as the Khan Academy, MIT Open Courseware, content in schools, among other great initiatives, India is stuck in web of greedy for-profit educational institutions and pliable governments, who are only too eager to please corporate education efforts (read this Business Standard story about government largesse towards corporate universities).

There is some innovation happening in the field of education in India: For example, IITs and IISc courses being converted into freely available videos. NGOs such as Pratham are doing some good work. But India is a country of 400+ million students, and Government plans such as Right to Education (RTE) and Sarvasiksha Abhiyan are simply not effective.

All the government wants to do in the name of promoting education in India is to privatize higher education, authorizing moneyed players to loot students, by claiming that they have teachers from abroad.

Yes, the same teachers that the West is discarding for being ineffective and irrelevant. India has always been a haven for discarded and outdated professionals.

At least, Kapil Sibal should put in an independent Education Regulatory Authority of India, which sees to it that our students aren't being defrauded in name of good education.

As far as Colleges and universities are concerned, why must we blindly copy concepts from the West? Things that they themselves are questioning?

Education cannot be a business: Think Campusless teaching. Think Apprenticeships. Think Continuous Learning. 

Also read:
How to improve education in India: A proposal 

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