www.bloncampus.com | December 1, 2017
There can be no better time than now for a realistic and optimistic outlook about India and its education system in particular. As we complete the second decade of the first century of the third millennium, let us evaluate and assess critically where we stand as a nation and to what extent education moulds our destiny as we move forward.
We have approached the new millennium with the hope of a more fair, just, prosperous, peaceful and educated society. In recent history, our place in the company of developed nations seems much more practical and achievable.
The nation has been making long strides in the areas of infrastructure and economic development as well as in science, technology and education. The government is going all out to make India a preferred destination for investment in diverse areas, from infrastructure to digital technology, finance and biotechnology. To sustain this pace, it is quite natural that a robust system of education runs in parallel to provide a highly qualified, talented and committed pool of trained manpower.
In order to make India a front-line country and economy, the government has launched schemes such as Digital India and Make in India, which require the education system — especially higher education — to gear itself to the task of realising these missions. The pursuit and success of these goals will largely depend on the availability and commitment of the talented and trained human resource. It is here that the role of education is most crucial.
The government has started a number of initiatives to underscore the need and importance of research and innovation in institutions of higher learning. In 2016, it announced the Institution of Eminence scheme to make 10 private and 10 public universities world-class by providing them the much-needed autonomy and freedom to grow, develop and flourish in the next 10 to 15 years. This scheme, among other things, aims to provide these institutions with complete academic, financial, administrative and regulatory autonomy so as to raise their competitiveness at the international level. All centrally-funded institutes and those in the private sector have the opportunity to take part in this nation-building exercise.
The government also plans to lay a foundation for higher education that provides students access to world-class teaching methods and meets the dual challenge of providing employment while focusing on inclusive education.
Finally, the way we teach and learn also needs to reflect and meet the changing requirements of contemporary times. Digital technology needs to take centrestage in the way the educational process is transacted in universities and homes. Increased use of technology has the potential to free us from the limitations of time, space, reach and, to some extent, affordability. It has made education far more flexible, accessible and personal. It has added a renewed excitement to the process of learning.
Let us, therefore, make our institutions potent tools of change that help make India a more just, equitable and educated society.