Discover Studying Abroad
|
|

Straight Talk: Indian government must limit research to select institutions

PM Narendra Modi recently said that research should be pushed to state universities. Here Dr. Pushkar argues against such a move.
BY Pushkar |   10-01-2019

Robot Testing Session Workshop at NSCM Kolkata

[Writing in these pages, I argued earlier that the “Indian government must immediately make research and publishing optional for all teachers except for those at teaching-cum-research institutions and research centres.” However, while speaking at the inauguration of the 106th Indian Science Congress in early January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for pushing “research in our colleges and state universities.” In this article, I disagree with the need and utility of doing so. Instead, I argue that the government should limit research to select higher education institutions, both public and private.]

Speaking at the inauguration of the 106th Indian Science Congress meet in Phagwara recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi correctly stated that India’s “strengths in research and development are built on the backbone of our national labs, central universities, IITs, IISc, TIFR and ISERs.” He went on to say that “over 95 percent of our students go to state universities and colleges where research is still limited” and “a strong research eco-system must be developed in these universities and colleges.” Finally, the prime minister said that he would call upon the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council to find ways to “push research in our colleges and state universities.”

There is no doubt that elite research and teaching institutions such as the central universities, the IITs, IISc, TIFR and IISc contribute immensely to the nation’s research and development. It is also true that, despite improvements in recent years, the quantity and quality of research produced by India’s universities compares unfavourably with that of leading world powers, including China. But the way forward, contrary to what the prime minister said, is not by pushing research at state universities and colleges, most of which are in a broken state due to poor funding since the past several decades, widespread corruption, shortage of faculty, even higher shortages of research-capable faculty due to years of faculty hiring practices that are based on everything-but-merit, unequipped libraries and laboratories, overall poor infrastructure and other ailments. Indeed, the government’s efforts over the last decade to promote the cause of research by insisting on research and publications from teachers across elite institutions as well as state universities and colleges has made India the leading producer of fake journals – where almost anyone can literally publish anything for a small fee and within a very short period – with teachers from Indian colleges and universities among the leading contributors.

The government needs to consider other policy options to strengthen the country’s research eco-system and improve its overall research and development. But before that, a correction to what the prime minister said regarding the numbers of students who attend state universities and colleges in necessary.

The total enrolment in various higher education institutions stands at 36.6 million. However, 95% of Indian students do not attend state universities and colleges. According to the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2017-18 report, there are 903 universities and 39,050 colleges in the country of which 343 universities are privately managed i.e. 38%. Among colleges, 78% are privately managed. Furthermore, 67.3% of all students attend private colleges. Since the first AISHE report 2010-11, the total share of the numbers of private universities and colleges and the percentage share of students attending such institutions has increased, showing the declining importance of state universities and colleges. As discussed a little later, this has clear implications for designing policies to promote research.

The Indian government must consider the following policy options to promote the cause of research in preference to pushing research at colleges and state universities.

First, the University Grants Commission (UGC) needs to tweak the Academic Performance Indicators (APIs) so that research and publishing is made optional for college teachers i.e. those teaching undergraduate students only. The primary obligation of college teachers is to teach and they must not be saddled with research. The other reason for making research optional for college teachers is that most work in colleges with poor or deficient infrastructure, whether at public or private institutions. Finally, most college-level teachers are poorly qualified for research, because they are poorly-trained, or because they were not hired on the basis of their research capabilities but teaching skills, or because they were simply hired for reasons other than merit.

In assigning college teachers with the task of primarily teaching, it must also be kept in mind that nearly 80% of India’s 36.6 million students are at the undergraduate level. These students need their teachers to teach and prepare them for their future and for most that future is outside academia.

Second, after freeing college teachers from the compulsion of carrying out research, the government must identify a select number of state universities which have a good-enough record of research and support them. It is well known that state-run universities in some states or some state universities in different parts of the country have done fairly well on research despite limitations of funds and infrastructure. These universities must be supported with additional funding and with research grants. However, the majority of state universities should be categorized as teaching-focused institutions and supported only to the extent that is needed for running bachelor’s or master’s programmes in various disciplines.

Third, as is evident from the AISHE reports, the importance of public institutions – in terms of total number of student enrolments - will decline further over time and that of private institutions increase. Therefore, and this point needs to be made with great emphasis, private institutions cannot be neglected or sidelined as far as realizing the research potential of Indian’s higher education sector is concerned. While it is true that most private colleges and universities are a scam, more than a handful of them have emerged as credible over time. They have hired research-capable faculty and intend to make a mark as teaching-cum-research institutions. A few among them have been or will be selected as Institutions of Eminence and become eligible for research grants from the government.  But many others which will not make the cut will need government support for research. India has reached a point where the large and growing size of private institutions has made it necessary for the government to extend its support to the best of them. Select private institutions, much in the same way as select state universities, must become part of the government’s efforts to boost research.

 
-x-
 
Pushkar (@PushHigherEd) is director, The International Centre Goa. The views expressed here are personal.

COMMENTS
Name:

Email:

captach
Can't Read  
Enter Above Code:

Comments:
Candida
I really like it whenever people come together and share views. Great website, keep it up! www.educacional.com.br
13 July 2020


Chang
I got this site from my buddy who told me regarding this site and now this time I am visiting this website and reading very informative articles or reviews here. http://discuss.kinyutaka.com/
05 July 2020


Marianne
Wonderful goods from you, man. I've understand your stuff previous to and you're just too fantastic. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it wise. I can't wait to read far more from you. This is really a wonderful site. www.wg-travel.com
04 July 2020


Rita
If you are going for most excellent contents like I do, only visit this website daily for the reason that it provides quality contents, thanks Www.fndtech.com
30 June 2020


Rita
If you are going for most excellent contents like I do, only visit this website daily for the reason that it provides quality contents, thanks Www.fndtech.com
30 June 2020


Piper
Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I'll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I'm still new to everything. Do you have any suggestions for newbie blog writers? I'd genuinely appreciate it. community.aurorafoss.org
27 June 2020


Jerrell
I leave a leave a response each time I appreciate a article on a site or if I have something to contribute to the discussion. It's caused by the sincerness communicated in the article I read. And after this article Straight Talk: Indian government must limit research to select institutions. I was actually excited enough to drop a comment :-) I do have a couple of questions for you if it's okay. Could it be just me or does it look like like a few of these remarks come across like they are left by brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are writing on other sites, I'd like to follow anything fresh you have to post. Could you make a list all of all your shared sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile? judi casino online
26 June 2020


Vito
Right now it looks like Movable Type is the best blogging platform out there right now. (from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog? https://formulamasa.com/elearning/members/namesnake8/activity/198302
14 June 2020


Aundrea
May I simply say what a relief to find an individual who truly understands what they're discussing on the web. You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people have to check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you're not more popular because you definitely possess the gift. guia.clarin.com
13 June 2020


Kathi
Superb blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed here? I'd really love to be a part of community where I can get comments from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks a lot! kitexchange.com.au
10 June 2020


Gina
you are truly a excellent webmaster. The website loading velocity is amazing. It kind of feels that you're doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you've performed a wonderful job on this subject! http://forum.724servisler.com/
09 June 2020


Harold
If some one wishes to be updated with newest technologies therefore he must be go to see this web site and be up to date daily. weblib.lib.umt.edu
08 June 2020


Ahmed
Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back very soon. I want to encourage that you continue your great work, have a nice day! www.kayak-anglers.com
07 June 2020


Cynthia
It is not my first time to pay a quick visit this web page, i am visiting this web site dailly and get nice data from here everyday. judi casino sbobet indonesia
06 June 2020


Hassie
It's very straightforward to find out any matter on web as compared to books, as I found this paragraph at this website. phantichdukien.com
05 June 2020


Edmundo
As the admin of this web page is working, no question very soon it will be renowned, due to its quality contents. http://blackbizlist.net/author/littersoda5/
05 June 2020


Alvaro
Quality articles or reviews is the main to interest the viewers to pay a visit the web site, that's what this web page is providing. www.vocabulary.com
03 June 2020


Mia
Hi there, after reading this amazing article i am too glad to share my experience here with friends. www.spreaker.com
03 June 2020


Tawanna
I pay a visit each day some sites and information sites to read articles or reviews, but this website presents quality based articles. hk2.51php.com
02 June 2020


Boyce
Just want to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity on your post is just spectacular and i could assume you're a professional in this subject. Well along with your permission allow me to clutch your feed to stay up to date with impending post. Thanks one million and please keep up the rewarding work. muorigin-wiki.webzen.com
01 June 2020


Shanel
Hello, every time i used to check website posts here in the early hours in the break of day, as i enjoy to gain knowledge of more and more. wifidb.science
28 May 2020


Chet
I_ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It_s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before. I just couldn't go away your web site before suggesting that I really loved the usual information an individual supply in your visitors? Is going to be again continuously in order to check out new posts This is a topic that's near to my heart... Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though? http://goodreads.com
16 June 2019


Vilma
You have made some decent points there. I checked on the web for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site. I really like it when folks get together and share opinions. Great website, stick with it! Amazing! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It's on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Excellent choice of colors! http://cspan.co.uk
21 January 2019


Sign Up for our newsletter

Sign Up for latest updates and Newsletter

x