Everyone in India today understands that Higher Education in the country requires transformational change. For the size of the country and its higher education needs, the overall ratings of Indian universities are nowhere near what universities from other Asian countries have achieved. Research output from Indian universities and institutes as a percentage of Asian or world output is abysmally low. This, despite the the worldwide recognition of India a key supplier of intellectual capital to the rest of the world!
While there is considerable debate on what is wrong with the system and no one prescription would do the ‘trick’, there no denying the fact there is need for better inquiry into identifying what issues need to be addressed and how results can be achieved. In other words, there is need for inquiry and deep change management at the very core.
Need for a Shift in Higher Education Governance
Shifts in governance in higher education in India have been largely driven by changes in the regulations brought about by legislative means that in turn came from recommendations from various Commissions of Inquiry constituted by the government. These Commissions of Inquiry in the past have suggested varying degrees of change some of which have been implemented through legislative and administrative means.
It is interesting to note that these changes have not brought about a larger strategic approach with its own momentum. There have been no review of whether previous approaches have worked or not. Or no efforts have been made to develop higher education based on deeper inquiry. We believe that there is a need for a systemic ecological change that is required for which a new paradigm of Educational Governance is required to be put in place.
It is no wonder that, in India, certain types of institutions that held preeminence in higher education at one point in time soon gave way to another type without the expertise accumulating over time unlike those in developed countries. For instance, consider the case of the “Presidency” universities of the late 19th century fading away from preeminence during the fervor of Indian independence with the emergence of Banares Hindu University or Viswa Bharati University etc., later to be superseded by the IITs, IIMs, AIIMS and so on. According to some respected observers this later genre of government-funded institutions are likely to be overshadowed in future by more nimble private universities in the country. As opposed to this, consider the preeminence of universities such as Harvard in the US or Oxford in UK for several centuries. The "letting go" of entire genre of institutions and having to create new forms of educational institutions is the result of lack of proper research to nail down what is good and worthy of retention, what new ideas need to be brought in, and what is to be dropped.
Studying Higher Education Governance
This site is an an encouragement to those who wish to do deeper inquiry into Higher Education governance in India with beliefs in the following premises:
Self regulation is the cornerstone of any higher level knowledge work. Excellence can come only from self-directed efforts of the intellectual assets available in the country of which the “academy” is an important one.
Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education exists and has greater potential than what has been achieved.
With well directed hard work it is possible for social entrepreneurship to create overall excellence in Higher Education an also create distributive justice in Higher Education.