Due to capacity constraints of quality higher education, nearly eight lakh Indian students spent over Rs. 10,000 crore ($1.6 Billion) in the year of 2012-13 on studies abroad underscoring the need for completely deregulating the education sector and going in a big way for public private partnerships (PPP), according to The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
In an ASSOCHAM recent assessment "Funds flows out of India for Higher Education-2013" reveals that the country needs quality institutes on the lines of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) for students wanting to pursue careers in management, accounting, engineering and chartered accountancy. Such an approach would not only restrict the out go foreign exchange but also spread of global standards within the country increasing employability of the students in the industry and research institutions.
This trend can be reversed with opening up of series of quality institutions with public private partnership by completely deregulating the higher education, said ASSOCHAM Secretary General, Mr. D S Rawat while commenting on the Paper.
On an average, an IIT student pays only US$ 150 per month as fees while those opting to go abroad have to shell out US$ 2,000 to US$ 6,000 fee per month in equivalent institutions in countries like USA, Canada, Australia, and UK, adds ASSOCHAM assessment.
The Chamber is of the view that if higher education is deregulated, India can not only save foreign exchange but can also be a leading destination for students coming from other developing countries. This can create several lakhs of additional jobs in the field of education alone.
In India, a meager 12% of enrolment takes place in higher education, USA tops the list with 82% of enrolments in higher education, whereas those with low enrolment constitute Pakistan (5%), India (12%), China (20%) and Brazil (24%), adds the ASSOCHAM findings.
"This trend can be upturned with opening up of series of quality institutions with public private partnership by completely deregulating the higher education", said Mr. Rawat
The paper also adds, about 95% of all entrance examination participants in the IITs and IIMs do not make it due to capacity constraints in these universities. A good chunk of those left out seek admissions abroad. With the precious foreign exchange saved, the country can build scores of top class institutions.
As a result of highly regulated higher education, human development index is very low in India leading to multiple problems such as corruption, population, poverty, unemployment, productivity, environment, primary health, tourism etc.
Currently, there are about 900 mn jobs in India. As much as 90% of the available jobs are skill-based, requiring vocational training, 9% jobs are knowledge based and 1% jobs are both knowledge and skill based.
The US remains the most popular destination for post-graduate management and engineering degrees, Australia for vocational training, UK for one year degree courses, Russia and China being favoured for medical education, even though the passouts from china cannot practise in India as doctors unless they clear the domestic exams. This shows that India is losing out many of its valuable resources due to insufficient scope in higher education sector.
Therefore, foreign university partnerships with Indian universities offer an effective way to share resources and improve their offering while catering to the growing need of quality education in India. Higher education and vocational training can provide attractive investment returns and are scalable opportunities.