India/August 27, 2022/Source: https://www.businesstoday.in/
A few regulations are par for the course, but foreign universities are welcome as India wants to de-bottleneck its education system, the minister said.
India will offer all kinds of educational institutions – public, private and foreign. Regulatory curbs will not hinder any of them, but monopolies will not be allowed, Minister for Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan said at the Business Today India@100 Economy Summit ‘Achieving Global Leadership’ in Delhi on Friday.
Speaking at the session titled ‘Jobs: Laying the Path for the Demographic Dividend to Bloom’, he said: “It is the state’s responsibility to create a level playing field. One section of the society will be protected by government intervention. Those who can afford to pay from their own pocket should pay.” He added that was the recommendation of the government’s National Education Policy rolled out in 2020.
“That is why we are inviting all foreign universities to our country with Indian regulations and curriculum. Certain minimum regulation will be there, but we are open and want to de-bottleneck our education system. Nobody’s monopoly should be there,” he said in response to a query on regulatory curbs hindering foreign institutions from diversifying in India.
Addressing the issue of the glaring difference in the qualities of Indian and foreign education systems, evident from the first Indian university (The Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru) appearance only at rank 155 on QS World University Rankings 2023, he pointed out that India’s challenge is multi-fold, choosing to focus on two aspects – quantity and quality. “One hundred and thirty million students are in the marketplace without any formal education or skilling. If they are skilled, capacitated and given knowledge, their productivity will increase.” Giving examples of Google-parent Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and former PepsiCo top boss Indra Nooyi, he said we should also appreciate our education system. “I accept that we need innovative models. Challenges of our education system is affordability, accessibility, quality and inclusivity. This country needs a multi-pronged approach. A majority of the section still depends on the state (for education).”
Adding that technology is the greatest enabler of quality education to all parts of the country, and that even the poorest of the poor can benefit from it, he referred to the government’s Budget announcement of rolling out 200 satellite channels to beam educational material. “The challenge will be to produce quality education material and its economic possibility.”
Students and the education community will be the biggest beneficiary of high-speed 5G internet’s expected arrival in India by the end of 2022. “We have the ambition to create quality internet in all six lakh villages in our country. India is bound to come out as a robust knowledge-based society in a few years,” he said.
The current Indian education system is inadequate, he admitted, adding that the NEP’s focus to create innovator thinkers in the younger generation is by to decolonising the education system. “We have to be rooted, modern, forward looking, scientific,” he said.
Admitting that the newly introduced CUET examination faced a lot of implementation issues, adding to students’ pressure and stress, he said: “By September, all kinds of entrance exams will be over. We will formulate an expert group to look into this. The primary motto should be that students are confident, less burdened. Exams should be joyful. Every year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes to students with this approach: ‘Don’t fear exams, defeat exams’. When I come to this interview, it is an examination for me.”
On the lost education years of the pandemic for students, he said he would not be able to estimate the time required to reverse the loss. “With some innovative strategies by each state, each state has devised its own way of recovery, I hope there will some improvement.”
On being asked about the success of the Delhi government’s education model which has caught the attention of other countries, he pointed out that the performance of Class 10 and 12 students of Delhi’s government schools have been declining as per a recent National Assessment Survey. “Dilli ki shiksha vyavastha khokhla aur nautankibaaz hai. (Delhi government’s education status is hollow and gimmicky).”