Lack of governance in higher education can be attributed to the widening gap between the demand and supply of skilled manpower in India.
It is now a proven fact that India which has the highest number of youth in the world, is suffering from dearth of skill manpower. A recent survey (Labour Bureau Report 2014) states that the existing skilled workforce in India is merely a 2%, much lower than that in developing nations. As an effective tool for creating a bank of skilled and employable youth, Indian higher education will need constant revamp and upgrade. Towards that, it is only desirable to see whether governance has been a priority for the universities, institutes or colleges that are affiliated to a recognized university. The real picture is very murky. A serious lack of governance at various levels is what has lead to a gap between the acquired and the desired skill set of employable youth in India.
Governance-the real picture
When one refer to educational governance, one is really referring to the administrative workings and an institution’s general working on a daily basis. These two categories will comprise the two aspects of accountability and autonomy in a university or institute. Out of these, institutes of national importance like IITs, IIMs, AIIMS and the Central universities, come under the purview of Central Government. But this isn’t the case elsewhere in India. According to a University Grant Commission report, in 2010, as many as 518 higher education institutions were catering to over 12.3 million students. This is a huge enrollment number that needs to be (responsibly) catered to.
Over the years, Indian higher educational institutions have been bandwagon(ing) the Public Private Partnership model. Some have literally got addicted to the support system that affiliations provide. The early year establishment of foreign institutions in affiliation with Indian education providers was being done primarily to attract enrollment numbers and also to strengthen the financial and psychological backbone in Indian private higher education system. But, this went too far and the level play ground for statutory bodies became questionable. Resultant was that governance again became questionable.
Good governance in higher educational institutions must take into consideration some very important points.
For one,accountability is of utmost importance. This can only go so far as there are clearly-defined and agreed-upon objectives already in place. For another, transparency is another important aspect of good governance. Yet still, rules and regulations should be the same for everyone, irrespective of caste, creed, social standing or religion. Also, efficiency and effectiveness are the next things to keep in mind. Finally, governance should cater to the aspects of responsiveness to change and a forward looking attitude which matches the need of the future.
In order for India’s youth population to meet robust employability standards in India and abroad, higher educational governance needs to go through a tectonic shift. The recent move of the Union ministry of human resource development (MHRD) to liaison with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is a welcome move. USAID is going to be providing a range of efficient analytical, diagnostic and organizational development services that are going to help in setting up and revamping Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). USAID will also help significantly to boost the In-STEP project (India Support for Teacher Education Program) through a three-month customized training programme for over 100 Indian teacher-educators at the Arizona State University. The governance challenge does not stop here; it extends into the areas where curricula needs to be altered and tailored made to meet the manpower demands of companies like IBM and Microsoft, that respect Indian talent and want to absorb manpower from here.