Higher Education

India’s higher education sector is in dire straits. In some parts of the country, it fares worse than school education. Several studies have found that not even half the hundreds of thousands of graduates our universities produce every year are employable. The reasons for this are many, some of which are poor quality of teachers, focus of the examination system on producing graduates rather than evaluating knowledge acquired, lack of quality and lack of market transparency. Even though all these are known consequences of excessive regulation, the government has not been taking any steps to take advantage of competition and choice in this sector too.

Key Issues

  • Several Entry Barriers – Setting up of a college involves a large capital investment. Risking so much money itself should be an effective incentive for colleges to offer quality education and attract more students. Unfortunately, the present license-raj policies offset that risk for the investors by ensuring a supply deficit through regulation. Several licenses and other barriers have to be crossed before one can set up a college in India. Bureaucratic discretion without accountability and non-transparent procedures in issue of licenses have ensured that there is no level playing field among institutions and anecdotes of corruption have become folklore.
  • Lack of competition – It is common knowledge in India that most private colleges and universities are controlled by influential people who often undermine the role played by competition in safeguarding subscriber interests. This has prevented free and fair competition in the sector that has led to a grossly escalating demand-supply mismatch.
  • Poor teaching quality – Despite all the regulations imposed on the sector, there are no rules that govern teachers. They are not accountable and poor teaching goes unpunished. This impacts students the worst as they are unable to access quality education for a secure future.

Policy Solutions

  • India Institute strongly suggests that policy reform be made to allow the entry of foreign players into the Indian education sector as research has proven better outputs through competition.
  • We believe in deregulating the sector to facilitate a level playing field for all where market forces come into play to improve quality along with better market transparency.
  • We believe that the concept of incentive-based salaries for teachers is the need of the hour in order to ensure quality education. The concept of performance based pay has to be introduced to guarantee accountability of teachers as well as encourage competition.

Higher Education Policy in India through the Ages