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Raise Government Funding for Higher Education Institutes to 6 percent - NAAC Chairman Speaks at ""THE BRICS Summit"" Hosted by Jindal University

December 7, 2015 - New Delhi, Delhi, India

Business Wire India
  • “THE BRICS Emerging Economies Universities Summit” held in India for the first time concludes successfully.
  • Summit hosted by O.P. Jindal Global University witnessed, 9 panel discussions, more than 40 speakers and over 300 delegates.
“Times Higher Education BRICS Emerging Economies Universities Summit 2015”  held in India for the first time hosted by O.P. Jindal Global University  successfully concluded its three-day deliberations at a well-attended event held at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

The three day conference encompassed nine panel debates and discussions around the following themes: Future of rankings by subject, university governance and effective leadership for institution building, the role of information and communication technology in promoting innovation in universities, balancing global education with local aspirations, changing dimensions of liberal arts and humanities studies in emerging economies, the role of international collaborations in promoting global excellence, changing university culture to increase research productivity and visibility and developing a culture of research excellence and funding the future: how universities in emerging economies can diversify their income.

The role that the  private sector can play in making quality education accessible to all in India, does  government intervention in education need to increase or should it be minimized to make our education system more efficient and  how can private universities in emerging economies diversify their income and achieve excellence in research and development were some of the points on which a battery of eminent academicians, education consultants and key market players deliberated upon at the third and final day of the Times Higher Education BRICS and Emerging Economies Universities Summit.

Is running an educational institution or a university for profit still a taboo? C. Gopinath, Dean, Jindal Global Business School, confronted the issue head on, arguing that there should be no inhibitions about running an educational university for profit. “If we don’t raise such issues in the context of, say, healthcare while we go for treatment to expensive private super specialty hospitals, then why should we raise it in the context of education? We need to put money in a system to get dividends” Gopinath said.

Karan Khemka, Partner and Co-Head of Pantheon emphasised that with India’s ever-growing number of education seekers, which runs in millions, there was a need to create more seats, more educational opportunities for the youth. “I think the private sector is the solution to effectively cater to this rising demand. There may be a rotten apple in the basket, but even that would be pushed out by the market forces,” he added.

However, V.S. Chauhan, Chairman, National Assessment and Accreditation Council, India, took exception with Khemka’s observation. “If we can see education as a commodity ready to be sold, then it’s a different debate. But with more private involvement and less government intervention, the task would be to find a good apple in a fairly large cart,” he said.

The NAAC Chairman was of the view that government funding to higher education institutions should be raised to at least six percent from the current two percent. “The government is announcing new IITs, new law schools and more, which is good, but the funding has not matched the level of creating access and equity,” he observed.

Pramath Raj Sinha, founder of Ashoka University, opined that the large part of financing may come from students fees. The rest can be taken care of by philanthropic funding. “If a private university charges Rs. 20-25 lakh for MBA, that’s fairly reasonable as our students are getting the kind of jobs where they can afford it. Why should we subsidize their education?” Sinha said.

O.P. Jindal Global University, Vice Chancellor Prof. C. Raj Kumar observed, “educational institutions should not be run for profit as no center of excellence  across the globe including Harvard, Stanford, MIT etc. are being run for profit.”
The plenary session on the “Future of Ranking by Subject” had several leading academicians express diverse opinions.

Ihron Rensburg, Vice Chancellor and Principal, University of Johannesburg spoke about the excessive emphasis that the current ranking system puts on counting numbers. He said, “Counting of citations does not say much about how the universities are changing lives. It is time to probe deeper and raise some hard questions as to whether the world class institutions, as defined by the current ranking system, can help sustainability of the planet or reduce inequality.”

Speaking about the focus on internationalization in evaluating universities in the Indian context and inherent inequities in the current ranking system Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Manipal Global Education Services, said “The current global ranking system does not appreciate India's diversity and needs. India is a country of 2.5 billion people and 29 states, many of which are bigger than several European countries. So a person from Delhi who works in Kerala University may have diverse cultural background than a faculty from one European country working in another and yet score low on internationalization.”

Kavita Sharma, President, South Asian University expressed that even though Rankings facilitate student and teacher mobility they also promote certain kind of capitalism and said, “It is seen that when countries try to promote themselves as an education hub, they are often driven by economic goals, not education goals.”

Yaroslav Kuzminov, Rector, National Research University Higher School of Economics, said “One limitation of the current ranking system is that it is primarily focused on measuring research performance.”
“World ranking is a brutal reflection of the real world. That's what the world looks like.” Phil Baty, editor-at-large of the Times Higher Education Magazine said “This is a very special summit for us because what we are witnessing is a coming together of countries that are traditionally crowded out of a global ranking system.”

He further observed “However, we will be open to incorporating changes. The take home message for me is to focus more on contexts and quality.”
“Employers value employees who work hard, learn quickly, and bring knowledge, insight and creativity to their jobs and these are the specific qualities that liberal-arts colleges foster”, said, Grant Cornwell, President Rollins College, while speaking on the increasing importance attached by employers to graduates with liberal arts education. 
Chairing the session on, “Balancing global education with local aspirations’ R Sudarshan, Dean, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, said “The question is how to localize education while watching out got risks of using stereotypes and throwing in local color for authenticity.”
The Summit, which was inaugurated by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan on the 2nd of December, hosted delegates from across the world and from various institutions of academic excellence globally. A copy of the rankings was also presented to the President of India.
The International Institute for Higher Education Research and Capacity Building (IIHEd), of O.P. Jindal Global University, collaborated with Times Higher Education to host this summit. The Summit witnessed the announcement of the Times Higher Education BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings, 2016 from India for the first time ever and was attended by more than 40 speakers and over 300 delegates from across the world. 
Delivering his concluding remarks Prof. C Raj Kumar Vice Chancellor O. P. Jindal Global University observed, “We are indeed grateful that Times Higher Education partnered with us, a six year old university to bring this summit to India for the first time ever. The Summit engaged educationalists, academicians and thought leaders from across the global in a dialogue that should continue and help chart out the future course of action for higher education globally.”

Photo Caption: On Podium: Professor C. Raj Kumar, Founding vice-chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University, and Director, International Institute for Higher Education Research and Capacity Building, Seated (L-R): Mr. Pramath Raj Sinha, managing director, 9.9 Media, and founder, Ashoka University, Mr. V. S. Chauhan, chairman, National Assessment and Accreditation Council, India, Mr. Karan Khemka, partner and co-head of the education practice, Parthenon and C. Gopinath, Dean, Jindal Global Business School

Source: Business Wire India


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