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Higher Education 2016-09-28

How running a university efficiently can help you get autonomy, reduce regulations

. As all institutions do not provide quality education, the Centre is planning to give autonomy to "good" universities and make them 'innovation hubs' while impose heavy regulation on "non-performing" institutes.

How running a university efficiently can help you get autonomy, reduce regulations

India currently has 761 universities and more than 49,000 colleges producing approx 37 lakh graduates and post-graduates, out of which only 27 per cent are employable, according to CII-Wheelbox survey. Moreover, we find many institutes opening and shutting every year in India. As all these institutions do not provide quality education, the Centre is planning to give autonomy to "good" universities and make them 'innovation hubs' while impose heavy regulation on "non-performing" institutes.

According to the HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, "We will support good universities by giving autonomy and reduce regulation, while universities that are not performing well would be heavily regulated. The government would, however, extend support to upgrade those.” Asserting that the country can make progress only through innovation, Javadekar said that the Centre could come up with plans of partnerships between universities and industries to encourage innovations.

Most universities in India need to have a system of governance and management that, on one hand, is responsive and flexible and decisive, and on the other is sensitive to the views, needs and interests of those who make up the university community. Autocratic dictatorships are unlikely to work for long, but it is equally true that chaotic and complex committee structures will turn off those who need to support and work with universities. Very large governing bodies are almost always ineffective in providing effective governance, and tend to become debating chambers that often miss the real issues of strategy and direction.

According to A K Srivastava, Vice President, Competency based education, Amity University, “Everybody in Academia talks about autonomy, but it should come with adequate responsibility. A system which produces more un-employable than employable is not socially sustainable in itself. Hence, granting autonomy to such system may bring more harm than good.” He further added, “Autonomy should be given to those institutions that get rankings in the Times Higher Education World Ranking or QS Rankings or IITs and IIMs, who have proven the worth of their education.”

Speaking on the Centre’s decision to provide autonomy to good universities, Dr. Hari Krishna Maram, Chairman and founder-CEO, Imperial College says, “It's a great move of MHRD giving autonomy to good universities as when you look at global universities rankings, Indian universities are nowhere in top 300. This move of autonomy will allow universities to bring a lot of changes in curriculum design, student selection, faculty selection, research, international tie-ups, fees fixation which are the most critical for any university. If you look at the history of Indian education we are the pioneers and brought the education systems to this world.”

Professor Rishikesha T Krishnan, Director, IIM-Indore feels that entrepreneurs in the education sector must pay heed to quality. “With the education entrepreneurs, the big issue is as to how you are going to ensure quality. I visit a number of private institutions from time to time. What I see is that they are all able to create great infrastructure, they have beautiful campuses, but that’s not the case when it comes down to quality, which is largely a function of faculty they’ve hired, what they’ve invested in the pedagogy, what kind of environment they create to retain faculty,” he says.

He advices these entrepreneurs to pay attention to these issues to build world class institutions, saying, “These are very important issues. I honestly believe that our private entrepreneurs in higher education are not paying attention to these issues. Until they pay attention to these, they will find it very difficult to build world class institutions.”

Therefore, it has now become imperative for universities to consider all factors and work on those not-so-productive ones to make them effective in order to run a university on a long term basis. 

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