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Aiming to improve the quality in Higher Education Institutions the University Grants Commission has adopted the Higher Education Quality Improvement Programme Mandate. 5 verticals of Quality Mandate developed by UGC cover evaluation reforms, eco friendly and sustainable university campuses, human values and professional ethics, faculty induction and academic research integrity

University Grants Commission has adopted the Higher Education Quality Improvement Programme Mandate to improve the quality in Higher Educational Institutions. The quality mandate aims at evolving higher education system to equip country’s next generation with vital skills, knowledge and ethics for leading a rewarding life.

  • Student evaluation plays a crucial role in improving the quality of Higher Education in the country. In order to make student assessment more meaningful, effective and linked to ‘Learning Outcomes’, the report ‘Evaluation Reforms inHigher Educational Institutions in India’ is very timely and beneficial for HEIs.
  • SATAT– Framework for Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Campus development in Higher Educational Institutions, framework encourages universities to adopt reflective policies and practices to enhance the environmental quality of the campus and to adopt sustainable green and sustainable methods in its future.
  • To infuse the culture of human values and ethics in educational institutions, UGC has also developed a policy framework- “Mulya Pravah – Guidelines for Inculcation of Human values and ProfessionalsEthics in Higher Educational Institutions”.
  • Guru-Dakshta– A guide to Faculty Induction Programme (FIP) will fulfill its main objective to sensitise and motivate the faculty to adopt learner centered approaches, ICT integrated learning and new pedagogic approaches to teaching-learning, assessment tools in higher education

Other initiatives by UGC:

  • Deeksharambh– To help new students adjust and feel comfortable in the new environment, help them inculcate the ethos and culture of the institution, help them build bonds with other students and faculty members, and expose them to a sense of larger purpose and self-exploration.
  • Paramarsh –A scheme for Mentoring National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC) Accreditation Aspirant Institutions to promote Quality Assurance in Higher Education
  • STRIDE will provide support to research projects that are socially relevant, locally need-based, nationally important and globally significant. STRIDE shall support research capacity building as well as basic, applied and transformational action research that can contribute to national prioritiers with focus on inclusive human development. STRIDE shall support creation, development andintegration of new ideas, concepts and practices for public good and strengthening civil  society.

Indian higher education system :

  • India’s focus on expanding the higher education sector to provide access has led to a situation where research and scholarship have been neglected.
  • Funding issues:
    • The Central government’s slant toward premier institutions has continued ever since the Eleventh Five Year Plan where in spite of a nine-fold increase in Budget allocation State institutions have been left to fend for themselves with funding mainly directed towards starting more premier institutes.
    • Investment by State governments has been also dwindling each year as higher education is a low-priority area. The University Grant Commission’s system of direct releases to State institutions which bypasses State governments also leads to their sense of alienation.
    • There has been a demand to take spending on education to 6% of gross domestic product for decades.
  • Low enrolment:-
    • The gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education is 24.5 meaning out of every 100 youths eligible for higher education, less than 25 are pursuing tertiary education.
  • Desired levels of research and internationalization of Indian campuses remain weak points
  • It follows a largely linear model with very little focus on specialization. Both experts and academics feel Indian higher education is tilted towards social sciences.
    • Only 1.7% colleges run PhD programmes and a mere 33% colleges run postgraduate-level programmes.
  • Regulatory issues:-
    • The country has a poor record with both the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) being seen more as controllers of education than facilitators.
    • As a regulator of India’s higher education, coordinator of vastly different kinds of institutions, and custodian of standards, the UGC had begun to look ill-equipped.
    • Regulatory bodies with licensing powers hurt the autonomy of professional higher education, leading to serious imbalance in the diarchy they were under, and partitioning general from professional higher education in several crucial areas of knowledge.
    • Privately set-up institutions in medicine, engineering, and other fields created the ground conditions in which strict regulation acquired justification. The power to license led to corruption.
    • The existing model is based on deep and pervasive distrust among regulators over the possibility of universities doing things on their own, and doing it well. The current framework that require universities to be constantly regulated by laws, rules, regulations, guidelines and policies set by the government and the regulatory bodies have not produced the best results.
  • Lack of autonomy:
    • All aspects of academic life, including admission norms, syllabus design, and examination were controlled by the affiliating university.
    • In colleges set up and run by the government, recruitment of faculty was the state government’s prerogative.
    • When certain state governments stopped fresh recruitment altogether and moved over to the practice of hiring contractual or ad hoc teachers, no college could practise autonomy to alleviate its suffering.
    • Autonomy to function through their own structures of governance first began to diminish in many provincial or state universities in the sphere of appointment of vice chancellors. State universities could not resist the imposition by those with political power of poorly qualified and unsuitable individuals as vice chancellors.
  • The vacancy crisis broke the sense of professional community among teachers and their organisations. Even teacher quality was abysmal
  • Ranking systems:-
    • Additional autonomy granted on the basis of NAAC rating and status in NIRF begs questions about these systems of evaluation. They are neither authentic nor valid. The reason they lack authenticity lies in the processes through which they are derived.
    • The NAAC is based on an inspectorial process. Its reliability suffers from both ends involved in any inspectorial system in our ethos.
    • NIRF’s need arose from India’s poor performance in global ranking systems but the question is if Indian institutions of higher learning were found to be generally too poor to be noticed globally, how would they get any better if ranked among themselves
  • Roots of Vulnerability
    • Currently there is a dominant ideology of commercialisation of knowledge and teaching.
    • Higher education is not leading to graduates entering the work sector as the education is not in sync with the needs of the companies.