DailyPost 1609

There was a time when we generally had mostly government education at the professional level and there was barely any murmur about the quality of education. Might be the cut throat competition with very few seats on offer and reasonably dedicated and qualified faculty in an academic environment, did the trick year after. We have been hearing the success stories of private higher education institutions transforming foreign lands. We had a few shining examples already like BITS Pilani, CMC Vellore and a few others. Winds of change had destined to bring a new wave of quality education through the private sector. The capacity needed to be  increased anyway,  given the ever burgeoning number of students queueing up for professional education.

The need of the country was also humungous.  The scare resources both by way of funds and getting top quality teaching resources would be the major obstacles in the accomplishment of the dream of a well spread out quality professional education in the country. The private sector was to come in handy. They even agreed to.  It was a  well proven model in most of the developed countries. Given their professional excellence in lots of other areas, it was safely presumed that the private sector would do the magic here as well. We also believed that money would do the magic. People on the edge of poverty, always feel that money can bring in quality as well. In hindsight it does seem to be true.

Infrastructure has always been touted as the game changer and today we have professional colleges who would be at par with the counterparts in other countries,  if we talk of physical infrastructure. Such colleges are flaunted as malls and are successful in scraping the bottom of the barrel of the low end talent. With funding and infrastructure in place, the only bottleneck which could be blamed squarely on the government’s head was the lack of autonomy. Over a period of time, autonomy was recklessly distributed and today we have autonomous private institutions and private universities all around the place. All the requirements were finally met with.

But then what happened to the quality for which private sector is so famous. Did the right people get into the higher private professional education sector? What has been the quality of faculty and who ensures their professional growth? Was there any selection process for the students? Many were not able to even understand the language, leave aside education. Doing away with large chunks of capitation seats did not make any difference. Armed with  powers of curriculum, content, pedagogy and evaluation, these institutions became fiefdoms. With placement industry catching the tail, the cycle was complete. Profession education, faculty growth, research and industry were all degraded simultaneously.


Sanjay Sahay

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