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New Age Universities in India. A Focus on Higher Education

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A focus on Indian Higher Education
Indian Higher education system is the third largest in the world, next to United states and China. While the private sector is already playing a crucial part in the expansion of India's universities system. Its tole will only grow as the Government alone cannot meet the exponentially growing demand for higher education.

The main governing body at the tertiary level is the University Grants Commission (UGC), which enforces its standards, advises the Government and helps co-ordinate between the centre and the state.

The Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by 12 autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission. In advanced economies, people usually take up postgraduate degrees if they are looking at research or teaching oriented careers. India needs many more university teachers. The emphasis in the tertiary level of education lies on science and technology.

Universities are at their heart places for learning, whether publicly-or-privately-funded. Such learning is also contextual, responding to the needs of the knowledge endeavour, and drawing from the immediacy of the socio-economic and cultural milieus. India's socio-economic realities will increasingly require the private sector to engage with critical social questions.

The market requires immediate skills according to the changes taking place, but what is indispensable are basic perspectives, concepts, foundations, ideas about learning how to learn, how to think, how to ask questions, and perhaps more critically, understand the location of one's position within learning traditions as well as political, economic and culturally embedded contexts.

All these aspects of higher education as the need to engage with the needs of a productivity economy. The role of the private sector in Indian higher education has increased significantly over the last decade, with majority students currently enrolled in private institutions. This role will only increase considering the substantial investments required in the sector.

A number of private universities have been established in various states as also central government of India has granted deemed university status to a number of educational institutions. In this era of liberalization and global education, it is relevant to attract, encourage and promote their private sector investment in the realm of Higher Education and lay the legislative pathway to establish and incorporate private self-financing Universities in India.

This is the right time to develop and implement a progressive framework that provides for opportunities to deserving private institutions and educational promoters, with relevant and sufficient experience and exposure in the field of higher education, so as to contribute towards the expansion of higher education and research.

The role of the private sector in University education will gradually acquire more significance with rising GER targets. The policy environment needs to encourage genuine private investment, , within the framework of education as a not-for-profit activity, where revenue surpluses are prepared back for development of the University.

In most developed nations including the US, over 50% of the population goes into higher education. For decades, India has seen a dismal figure of 10% of her population going into higher education, until recently. This scenario appears to have changes for the better. It is to be noted that India has over 31,000 institutions of higher learning, among the highest in the world. Central universities comprise 7%. Overall, number of institutions in the country has grown at the rate of 11%.

The rapid growth of institutions, mostly private, has allowed students in dire need of qualifications to pay the requisite sum of money and attempt to acquire them.

India Today

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