Aligned with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's agenda of devolution of more powers to state governments, is the ministry of human resource development's two-year old Centrally-sponsored scheme Rashtriya Uchchtar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) or the National Higher Education Mission. Since 2012, CII has been working with the government in preparing snap-shots of each state's efforts in higher education. An annual report titled Annual Status of Higher Education in States and Union Territories of India or ASHE is brought out every year which looks at the federal structure of higher education and gives a holistic view of every state. The 4th edition of the ASHE report will be released in this session. There will also be a discussion on how states can work more closely with industry in developing their higher education eco-system and attracting corporates to increase their gross state domestic product.
Despite the large number of brick and mortar institutes in the country, the quality of faculty and pedagogy continues to be a matter of concern in most institutes. Technology can play a big role here by opening new vistas of tools and aides which not only can improve learning for students but can also make teachers better at teaching. It is not just massive open online courses or MOOCS, distance learning, lectures through online mode or lessons via skype on tablets and mobiles which are the buzzword today but also an entire world of teacher-centric tools such as “adaptive learning” which allow teachers to track the progress and comprehension level of each and every student in the class through digital platforms. This session will bring some of the leading experts in this field to share latest trends and possibilities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Make in India requires a massive Skill India effort. Leading from this vision is the idea of Educated in India. The ministry of commerce sees a huge potential for capitalizing on the large education infrastructure of the country and is keen that the Government of India allow foreign universities to set up campuses here. The ministry of human resource development has revived the Foreign Universities Bill and is working on making this a reality. This session will discuss the issue of cross mobility of students, the need to attract more foreign students to India, impediments in the process and equivalency of degrees issue.
India is working aggressively on creating its own ranking of institutions which will be stream-wise and will look at under-graduate and post-graduate courses separately. India's absence from some of the established world rankings of academic institutions is often cited as proof of poor quality of its academic system. However, the corollary cannot be as straight as that. Apart from the fact that academic institutions have to be seen as performing within the context of their own immediate economic and social environment, the rankings created by different agencies often lay too much emphasis on factors which are either not relevant or important for India. These include factors like perception, student-teacher ratio, number of international students and the number of international faculty. It is therefore imperative that India creates its own system of judging the excellence of its institutions which can ultimately lead to parents and students being armed with a better tool to make informed choices. CII has not only been working closely with the National Board of Accreditation in evaluating the performance of engineering institutions but has also created its own strong tool of evaluating the performance of technical institutes vis a vis the requirements of industry. This session will look at the entire system of accreditation, evaluation and the need for allowing independent bodies such as CII to undertake the task of accreditation and evaluation on behalf of the government.
Excellence in higher education is the key to success of any society and plays an important role in a nation's development. Globally, excellence in higher education, especially technical education, has thrived on robust industry linkages and collaborations. Producing quality human resource and contributing to social and economic development through research are the two vital indicators of excellence of technical institutions. In India, while we have a few success stories of such industry linkages, we still have a long way to go to match the global benchmarks. In order to stimulate industry-academia collaboration, CII started the exercise of mapping the industry linkages of technical institutes in partnership with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in 2012. This yearly initiative maps and awards the best technical institutions on their industry linkages leading to a benchmark in India. This session will look at the four-year journey of this survey.
The private sector has long been a major beneficiary of R&D activities; however, the participation of the private sector in grass-root R&D has not been traditionally encouraging. Academia and industry often work in isolation in R&D, which often prevents research from being industry-oriented and free-flow of knowledge and funds between sectors. Unattractive research remuneration, especially at initial levels of PhD, act as an impediment for able scholars in considering research as a preferred career. Even after the latest revisions in JRF / SRF slabs, several scholars find taking up employment a more gainful option. In an effort to address this situation, and attract competent students in PhD programmes, the government and CII instituted the Prime Minister's Fellowship Scheme for Doctoral Research in 2012. In a short span of time this scheme has created a tremendous pull from both industry and academia. More than 70 projects are undergoing in this scheme at the moment.