India of Ideas: Mapping the Status of Higher Education in India and Mobilizing Discourse Towards a Quest for Equity and Excellence
14 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2016
Date Written: July 1, 2016
The problems, policies and debates on the quality and access of research cannot be decoupled from higher education in an educational system like that of India where the impact of primary, secondary and higher education is sequential. The article traces the idea of education from the early Greek and Indian philosophers, the university tradition of India during the British rule which laid the foundations of modern Indian education, to the present-day globalized world that offers transnational education with a large number of private players in the fray. The changing contours of the concept of education, that is, what is to be taught and how it is to be taught, direct us in valuing education for the future by properly placing it in the socio-economic context. This is accomplished by critically examining various strands of literature that deals with the value of education from its economic valuation as a quasi-public good to Amartya Sen’s concept of education as a tool to widen social choices. The article then analyzes the problems plaguing higher education in the Indian context that include: a lack of pluralism in student and faculty profile; openness to travel across disciplines; maintaining the highest quality and integrity in research and learning, including publishing and handling of archives; the woes of mushrooming private institutes; and inadequate financial resources that severely demoralize ambition. Consequently, the article concludes with suggestions for reform to improve equity, access and excellence by applying the highest values of academic standards through rigour, dispassionate research, meticulous training and alternate sources of funding for acceptable standards of infrastructure and access to resources.
Keywords: research, university, India, higher education, development
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation