Tuesday, April 28, 2009

From University World News - AUSTRALIA: Vice-chancellors buoyed by budget hopes

Australia's 38 public universities lost an estimated A$800 million (US$568 million) last year as a result of the global financial meltdown. With the nation now officially immersed in a recession and higher education institutions facing the prospect of an even more serious decline in revenues, vice-chancellors are looking to the federal government and next month's budget for a substantial boost in spending. For a complete story by Geoff Maslen, click the web link http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20090424130751184.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Procedure for opening a Liaison Office in India

Any foreign organization intending to open a Liaison Office in India is required to obtain prior approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the central bank in India. Approval is usually granted for 1 to 3 years and can be renewed on expiry. RBI generally grants approval within 6 months of receiving the complete application. Complete application set comprises of the following:

  1. Form FNC 1 (3 copies)
  2. Letter from the Principal Officer of the Parent Company to RBI
  3. Letter of Authority of Parent Company in favor of local representative
    (All three documents need to be signed by the Principal Officer of the Company)
  4. Two copies of the Memorandum of Articles and Association (Charter Documents) of the Parent Company attested by Indian Embassy/ Notary Public in the country of registration
  5. The latest audited balance sheet of the parent company

Operating through a Liaison Office

Once the Liaison Office is opened in India, it must maintain a QA 22C account with the bank. This is a special account which only allows inflow of funds from abroad. All expenses of the Liaison Office must be met through remittances to the office from the parent company (situated abroad) through the bank. However, it is not subjected to taxation within India. The Liaison Office must file regular returns to the RBI which includes audited annual accounts and an activity report for the year.

The detailed RBI notification regarding opening a Liaison Office in India is available at: http://rbidocs.rbi.org.in/rdocs/notification/PDFs/13272.pdf.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Search for Dell's Netbook

Dell in India seems to be always in a state of confusion. I am using Dell Inspiron 1525 and am planning to buy a good Netbook for past few months. I went to a Dell store in Delhi recently and I am flabbergasted that Dell doesn't have a product to match any of the Netbooks available in the market. There is one nice product - Dell Mini 12 - which could have been the best of a Netbook-Notebook combo. But it comes with a paltry 80 GB hard disk. One of the tech website did mention that Dell has launched a 160 GB Dell Inspiron 10. I later found that Dell too has now put the product specification on its website. However, when you search the Dell India website, it doesn't give a price. The website simply asks you to contact a Dell re-seller. And when you go to re-seller, he is either not aware of the product or is not able to tell you a price. In any case, Dell store managers are the worst lot I have ever seen in any tech shops. One of the multi-brand tech shop bluntly mentioned to me that Dell launches its product on website but it takes months to be seen on the store shelf. I know that Dell sells mostly through online transactions. But why open Dell stores and not equip them with demo products and price information? I did rather use a Samsung, Lenovo, HP or an Asus Netbook!!!! But my hunt for a good netbook will continue till I get one that I really like at first sight.

The University of Newcastle, Australia

A Brief Introduction

The University of Newcastle (www.newcastle.edu.au) became an autonomous institution in 1965. The University has an international reputation for expertise in innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Newcastle was one of the first Australian universities to introduce the Master of Business Administration as well as the first integrated Professional Program for Law students. The University of Newcastle is recognized nationally and internationally for excellence in key areas, including engineering and research performance. Pioneered some 25 years ago, problem-based learning forms the core of University’s programs in medicine, engineering, architecture, construction management, nursing and law. Our students have access to a high quality learning environment preparing them to be work-ready professionals who can pursue a career anywhere in the world.

The University of Newcastle has a student population of over 28,000 including 6,000 international students from more than 80 countries studying both on and off-shore in business, engineering, medicine, nursing, science, teaching and technology. The University has 85 undergraduate programs and 150 postgraduate coursework programs which are delivered through five faculties: Business and Law; Education and Arts; Engineering and Built Environment; Health; and Science and Information Technology.

As a research-intensive institution, the University ranks among the Australian “Top 10” for research funding and outcomes, one of the world’s “Top 100” universities for engineering / technology and computer sciences, one of the “Top 60” universities in the Asia-Pacific region and is positioned at number 63 in the world for biomedical research. Supported by world-class facilities, our researchers are recognised for their ground-breaking discoveries. The University hosts the only Australian-based researcher in the ‘world’s hottest 10’ – cancer researcher Professor John Forbes – listed by the Thomson Scientific Science Watch Newsletter. With our international reputation in health and medical research, the University has joined with the Hunter New England Health service and the community to form the Hunter Medical Research Institute – the only major medical research institute in regional Australia.

Through the University’s commercial arm, Newcastle Innovation, the University of Newcastle partners with industries across the globe developing technologies and solutions to overcome challenges in a range of fields. The University increased its intellectual property disclosures ten-fold since 2003, increased its commercialization of new technologies three-fold in the last four years. The University’s energy management is in the top tier in the sector. We are one of the lowest consumers of energy of all Australian universities, and are continually working on new, sustainable strategies to improve our energy efficiency.

The University’s Australian campuses are located at Callaghan – 12 kilometres from the Newcastle city centre; in a city precinct in the Newcastle CBD; on the Central Coast halfway between Sydney and Newcastle; and at Port Macquarie on the NSW Mid-North Coast, three hours drive north of Newcastle. Each campus is literally minutes away from spectacular beaches, waterways, national parks and state forests.

With a history of more than 40 years, The University of Newcastle has grown from a locally-focused institution to one that is globally-oriented. The University enjoys significant research and teaching partnerships with universities throughout Asia and the Pacific as well as Europe, North America and Africa. Moving forward on a local and global scale, the University established a campus in Singapore in 2006 and continues to strive to develop strategic alliances elsewhere in the world, particularly in Asia – enabling the University to better contribute to regional development.

Established: 1965
Full-time Academic Staff : 800
Students: 28,000
Undergraduate Programs: 85
Postgraduate Coursework Programs: 150
Australian publicly funded research: 9
Shanghai Jiao Tong World Ranking 2008 : Top 3%
Top 100 in Engineering, Technology and Computer Sciences

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Indian Higher Education System, Institutional Framework & Governance

Higher Education System
British established schools in India to teach English and the sciences. In 1857, three universities were established in three metropolitan cities, Bombay (now Mumbai), Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Madras (now Chennai) following Oxford or Cambridge as models. Another university was established in 1887 in Allahabad in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. These universities imparted education in the liberal arts and sciences. The main objective was to prepare people for careers in the civil service, legal profession and in medicine. The need for technical education was also felt by the British, who established the first industrial school attached to the Gun Carriage Factory in Guindy, Chennai, in 1842.

It is important here to understand the reasons for India’s emergence as a pool of skilled manpower, especially engineers, scientists and researchers. After gaining independence in 1947, India chose to focus on teaching of science and mathematics at the school level as it felt that engineers, scientists and technologists would be the key to industrial development. Such a focus on mathematics, science and technology has positioned the country to play a larger role in the world economy.

In India, unlike other developed countries like the U.S., elementary math and science are taught not by generalists trained in elementary education, but by teachers who majored in math and science. Another characteristic is that mathematics course work is more integrated in Indian classrooms. Algebra and geometry are introduced early and, instead of being treated as separate subjects, broad mathematical concepts are integrated and reinforced through the years. The educational system, thus, made mastery of math and science almost a national obsession. And when it came to careers, one could count on about half of the students aspiring to engineering or medicine. This trend of teaching and learning continues even today, despite the emergence of several new areas of occupation. In India, an engineering or medicine degree is still much sought after – though an MBA degree has made deeper in-roads among the new generation.

As regards the schooling system, one difference between Indian schools and schools in some developed countries deserves attention. Indian students attend school 210 days per year. In contrast, for instance, U.S. students attend school 180 days per year. Multiply the thirty additional days of education per year times 13 years (the length of Kindergarten to K-12), and Indian students receive 390 additional days of instruction. Put another way, Indian students receive two plus more years of instruction than do students in the U.S. over the course of their K-12 journey. The instruction gap grows even larger when one factors in time spent in after-school and weekend tutoring during the high school years. Similarly, the global orientation begins with learning of languages in schools. A typical Indian student learns three languages before leaving high school. English education is required of all students and begins early – in elementary school. Most Indian students will also learn Hindi as well as one of the 17 regional languages spoken in India depending on where they live. Since English has become the international language of business and the Internet, India, unlike most countries, has not had to overcome language deficiencies to interact with countries around the globe.

Asian cultures, including India, have a long tradition of revering education and honoring teachers. India, specifically, placed educated people near the top of their caste system. The caste of Brahmins, or the educated, held a special place in India for thousands of years, and the English civil service system reinforced this traditional meritocracy based on academic achievement. Hence, a major characteristic of Indian society is that education is widely viewed as the almost-certain way to move up the ladder, both economically and socially. After achieving independence, India established a higher education system that held the potential to maximize the capacity of the nation’s academically best and brightest. The foundation block of India’s educational success came with the establishment of a national network of institutes in technology, science and mathematics as the Government envisioned that India’s education policies should be directly related to the long-term economic development of the country.

This approach fueled investment in the existing institutes left by the British and in creating new institutions. These institutes were richly endowed, their campuses spread over acres, their facilities compared favorably to those in the U.S., and they attracted highly trained faculty, many of whom completed their graduate studies in the U.S. This investment in its academically outstanding students gave it a pool of highly-educated, highly-skilled workers who spread their wings to several countries and later uniquely positioned India in the global marketplace. Like many public policy decisions, the decision to invest in the nation’s best and brightest came with a hidden cost. The decision left behind millions of students who are denied access to a K-12 foundation of learning.

Institutional Framework and Governance
The current system of higher education is primarily modeled after the British system. The However, some the technical institutions in engineering and management are modeled on the U.S. system. Institutions of higher education use English as the medium of instruction for most courses, particularly in the technical fields. The regional languages remain a major cultural artifact that provides the cultural context.

The institutional framework of higher education in India is complex. There are several types of institutions: universities, colleges, institutions of national importance, post-graduate institutions and polytechnics. They vary in terms of their academic, administrative and financial arrangements. The universities could be of unitary type with single or even multiple campuses or of affiliating type. The concept of an affiliating university is unique to South Asia where a university has affiliated colleges. These colleges conduct teaching-learning under the academic supervision of the university to which they are affiliated. Most of the state universities have colleges affiliated with them. Universities manage and conduct the undergraduate qualifying examinations and the granting of degrees. Colleges provide undergraduate education while Universities impart post-graduate education and conduct research. Most universities and colleges offer multidisciplinary programmes, however, there are also some that are confined to a particular discipline only – such as agriculture, law, technology, language, medical etc. Only the universities are generally authorized to grant degrees. By special acts of Parliament, the institutions of national importance have been authorized to grant degrees. Post-graduate institutions and polytechnics can grant diplomas.

Higher education in India starts after the secondary or K-12 level. While it takes three years for completing a B.A., B.Sc. or B.Com. degree in India, pursuing an engineering degree would take four years, and medicine degree five years (with six months of additional compulsory internship). Postgraduate courses generally are of two years duration. There are some courses like Master of Computer Application (MCA) that are of three years duration. A bachelor’s degree in law can either be taken as an integrated degree programme lasting five years or a three-year programme as a second degree. The master’s degree is normally of two-year duration. It could be based on course work without a thesis or on research with a thesis. M. Phil. degree is a pre-doctoral programme taken after completion of the master’s degree. This can be either completely research based or can include course work. A Ph.D. degree is awarded two years after the M. Phil. degree or three years after the Master’s degree. The students are expected to write a substantial thesis based on original research for the award of a Ph.D. degree.

Universities in India can be classified under various categories like Central Universities, State Universities, Agricultural Universities, Private Universities, National Institutes of Importance, Open Universities (for distance learning) and Deemed Universities. (An institution of higher education can be given the status of “Deemed-to-be-University”. Deemed universities enjoy academic status and privileges of a university). The Agricultural Universities are funded by the Central Government’s Ministry of Agriculture and the State Government depending upon the status of the university. Private universities are supported by various bodies and societies which are technically not-for-profit. The degrees of private universities are awarded by the parent affiliating universities.

Institutes of national importance are the crown jewels of higher education and research in India. These are autonomous bodies outside the ambit of University Grants Commission (UGC) that controls the governance of universities. These institutions have different funding structures, and have own curricula, academic calendar and compensation system for faculty. Admission to these institutions is highly competitive. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Science and All India Institute of Medical Sciences are examples of such category of institutions. Presently, there are 33 institutes of national importance.

In the 1950s, the Central Government took initiatives to impart world-class education in engineering and technology on the lines of Massachusetts Institute of Technology of the U.S. The first IIT was set up in 1951 in Kharagpur and the second one in 1958 in Bombay with the cooperation and participation of the then Government of USSR under the UNESCO technical assistance program. Presently, there are 7 IITs in the country. In addition, 6 new IITs started their session this year.

In early 1960s, the Central Government started introducing management education in India. Two Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) were established with the collaboration of Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962, one in Ahmedabad and the other in Calcutta. At present there are 7 IIMs in the country. IIMs do not have the authorization to award degrees. They award postgraduate diplomas. The doctoral programs at IIMs also do not award Ph.D.s, but the graduates are called “Fellows”.

The institutional framework for research and development in India can be divided into two broad categories: defense and civilian. In the latter category there are 5 major institutions responsible for research and development in their respective fields. These are: Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (IARI) and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). In addition, there are a number of autonomous research institutions under the Department of Science and Technology.

The Indian Constitution specifies “education” as special responsibility of the Central Government. This gives exclusive legislative power to the Central Government for co-ordination and determination of standards in institutions of higher education and research, and scientific and technical institutions. The Central Government’s Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is, therefore, responsible for major policies relating to higher education in the country. The
MHRD provides grants to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and establishes central universities and institutes of national importance. The Central Government is also responsible for declaration of educational institutions as ‘Deemed University’ on the recommendation of the UGC.

Presently, there are 102 autonomous organizations under the administrative control of the Department of Higher Education, MHRD, out of which 54 are centrally funded institutes of technical and science education.

Institutions of Higher Education under MHRD

  • Central Universities - 24
  • Apex level bodies - 5
  • Apex level bodies (Technical Education) - 2
  • Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) - 7
  • Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) - 7
  • National Institutes of Technology (NITs) - 20
  • Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) - 4
  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc) - 1
  • Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research (IISERs) - 3
  • National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training & Research (NITTRs) - 4
  • Boards of Apprenticeship Training - 4
  • Sanskrit and Vedic Institutions - 4
  • Institutions of Hindi and Other Languages - 3
  • Planning - 4
  • Public Sector Undertaking - 1
  • Other Institutions - 9

Total = 102

Source: Adapted from MHRD, Government of India, Annual Report 2007-08

The State Governments are responsible for establishment of State Universities and colleges, and provide plan grants for their development and non-plan grants for their maintenance. The coordination and cooperation between the Union and the States is brought about through the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE).

Besides policy issues, the MHRD promotes development of various areas of higher education by way of special programs and schemes, including awarding of scholarships. The International Cooperation Cell of the Ministry coordinates the bilateral and international collaboration in education sector, besides implementing and monitoring educational exchange programs with various countries. The Cell also coordinates the review of proposals received from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board and the Project Approval Board.

The UGC is an organization of the central government (MHRD) that provides funding support to government-recognized universities and colleges. It does not allocate plan funds to exclusive medical and agricultural universities. Although development of state universities is the responsibility of State Government, UGC provides special grants to State Universities including agriculture universities having engineering and technology departments. UGC is not only a grant giving agency in the country, but also provides recognition to the universities in India and is responsible for coordinating, determining and maintaining the standards in institutions of higher education.

UGC has established 57 Academic Staff Colleges for conducting specially designed orientation courses for newly appointed teachers and refresher courses for in-service teachers. The UGC also establishes autonomous Inter-University Centres (IUCs) to provide common advanced centralized facilities and services for universities which are not able to invest heavily in infrastructure. Presently, there are six IUCs functioning within the system.
Inter-University Centres
1. Inter-University Accelerator Centre, New Delhi
2. Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astro-Physics, Pune
3. UGC-DAE Consortium for Scientific Research, Indore
4. Consortium for Educational Communication, New Delhi
5. Information and Library Network, Ahmedabad
6. National Assessment and Accreditation Council, Bangalore
Source: MHRD, Government of India, Annual Report 2007-08

To achieve excellence in teaching and research, the UGC has been assisting identified Universities for granting the status of “University with Potential for Excellence”. Nine universities have been accorded the status so far. A similar scheme has been initiated for colleges. UGC has identified 97 “Colleges with Potential for Excellence” with the objective to improve their infrastructure, adopt innovation in teaching, learning and evaluation, besides introducing flexible approach in the selection of courses at the degree level. The colleges will also be given “Joint Degree Conferring Status” with their names.

Besides the MHRD and UGC, which is responsible for coordination, determination and maintenance of standards, other key players in the higher education system are professional councils. These councils are responsible for recognition of courses, promotion of professional institutions and providing grants to undergraduate programmes.

Universities with Potential for Excellence
Jawaharlal Nehru University
University of Hyderabad
3. University of Madras
4. University of Pune
5. University of Jadavpur
6. Madurai Kamraj University
7. North Eastern Hill University
University of Mumbai
University of Calcutta
Source: MHRD, Government of India, Annual Report 2007-08

Among the various organizations related to higher education, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is a body that is involved in the systematic planning and organized development of the technical education system in the country. To ensure this, AICTE was vested with statutory authority for planning, formulation and maintenance of norms and standards, quality assurance through accreditation, funding in priority areas, monitoring and evaluation, maintaining parity of certification and awards. The purview of AICTE covers programs of technical education including training and research in Engineering, Technology, Computer Sciences, Architecture, Town Planning, Management Studies, Pharmacy, Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Applied Arts and Crafts, and Vocational Education at different levels.

Professional Councils in India
All Indian Council for Technical Educations (AICTE)
2. Distance Education Council (DCE)
3. Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR)
4. Bar Council of India (BCI)
5. National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE)
6. Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI)
7. Medical Council of India (MCI)
8. Pharmacy Council of India (PCI)
9. Indian Nursing Council (INC)
10. Dentist Council of India (DCI)
11. Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH)
12. Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM)
Source: MHRD, Government of India, Annual Report 2007-08

There are two primary accreditation bodies involved in the accreditation of academic institutions and programs. AICTE established an autonomous body, the National Accreditation Board (NAB) to award accreditation status to programs as “Accredited for Five Years”, “Accredited for Three Years” and “Not Accredited”. Accreditation is based on an 8 point criterion which includes organization and governance, financial resources, allocation and utilization, physical resources, human resources, teaching and learning processes etc. All technical programs must be approved by the AICTE, but not all programs are accredited by AICTE. NAB is a provisional member of the Washington Accord. Indian students completing programs accredited by the National Board of Accreditation of AICTE will have easier access to education and employment opportunities in member countries like the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is an autonomous body established by the UGC to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country. NAAC offers recognition to universities and primarily assesses the quality of institutions of higher education that volunteer for the process, using an internationally accepted methodology.

The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) is a voluntary organization of all universities which provides a forum to administrators and academicians to exchange views and discuss issues of common concern. It acts as a bureau of information exchange on higher education. AIU also has responsibilities for issuing Equivalence Certificates to Indian and Foreign students who obtain overseas qualifications. Recognition by AIU is important for many post-graduate autonomous institutions. The present membership of AIU is 900, including two international associations of universities.

There are inherent strengths in the system like being the largest, cost-effective, wide network, co-existing public and private institutions, accessibility to neglected sections of society, and value-oriented philosophy of education. At the same time, Indian higher education institutions suffer from certain weaknesses like centralization, duplication of institutions, varying standards of quality, and lop-sided growth, politicization and bureaucratization. As a result, it continues to provide graduates that are unemployable despite emerging shortages of skilled manpower in an increasing number of sectors. The standards of academic research are low and declining. Some of the problems of Indian higher education are well known, such as the unwieldy affiliating system, inflexible academic structure, uneven capacity across various subjects, eroding autonomy of academic institutions, and the low level of public funding. Many other concerns relate to the dysfunctional regulatory environment, the accreditation system that has low coverage and no consequences, absence of performance incentives, and the unjust public funding policies.

Private investments into education cannot increase unless there is a complete revamp of the existing regulatory framework. For instance, for higher education, an Act of Legislature or Parliament is required to establish a university. Getting the status of a deemed university requires complicated entry methods, and so does the affiliation system. Driven by populism and in the absence of good data, there is little informed public debate on higher education in India. The diversity in educational institutions and the complexity of governance mechanism presents significant challenges for international institutions in navigating through the Indian higher education market.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Update from Indian Higher Education Sector - February 2009

Highlight of the Month
Foreign varsities will not make it to India soon
The Foreign Education Providers (Regulation for Entry and Operation) Bill that would have enabled Ivy League institutions to set up centers in India and thereby bring in tough competition on the higher education sector has been shelved by the government. The Bill sought to regulate the entry and operations of foreign education providers and envisaged giving them deemed university status. The National Knowledge Commission, the high profile panel backed by the Prime Minister of India, had called for liberalizing policies to allow foreign universities to set up centers in the country to create a more competitive educational environment and thereby bring about qualitative changes in the existing Indian university system.

Policy Updates
Government to regulate admissions and fee structure of private universities
Amid opposition from private deemed universities, the University Grants Commission (UGC) is set to regulate admissions and fees in all professional courses in these institutions from the next academic year. Top institutions like Symbiosis, Pune; Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; Bharatiya Vidyapeeth, Pune; Manipal University and BITS, Pilani are among 125 institutions granted deemed university status in the country. Admission procedures and fees vary in deemed universities which attract 100,000 students every year. The UGC has been receiving complaints against the private institutions mainly of malpractices in admissions.
It is proposed that a National Fee Committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge, will be constituted to fix fees for all deemed universities. The Universities will thereafter have to adhere to the fees decided on by the committee which will be valid for three years. The regulation also states that admissions will be through a national level Common Entrance Test to be conducted by an association of deemed universities. Students will be admitted on the basis of criteria fixed by the Commission. To oversee admissions, UGC will constitute a national level admission monitoring committee headed by a former Vice Chancellor of a central university. While many deemed universities have termed the regulations retrograde curbing their autonomy, some deemed varsities have welcomed the new guidelines since it will check the exponentially rising commercialization of higher education in the country.

Easier visas for foreign students
India is easing entry regulations for foreign students and taking special steps to ensure they are not harassed under its most concerted effort to market the country as a global higher education destination. Monitored by the Prime Minister, the government has put together India’s first comprehensive strategy to woo foreign students. The Indian Council for Cultural Research (ICCR) will be in charge of coordinating the blueprint. The number of foreign students in India has increased by 300 per cent since 2000. It had 25,947 foreign students in 2006 compared to 6998 in 2000 according to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). But at least three times as many Indian students go to the U.S. alone. Some of the steps the Indian government plans to implement before the coming academic session are:
(a) Amend rules to grant foreign students provisional registration on arrival from Foreigners’ Registration Regional Office (FRRO)
(b) Research scholars to get priority clearance; inter-ministerial committees to examine delays
(c) Grant visas that allow three entries per academic year
(d) FRROs to provide students with grievances easy access to senior officials
(e) Exit visas within three days of student producing No-Dues Certificate from university
(f) Foreign ministry to deploy officer to deal exclusively with foreign students who approach Indian diplomatic missions on admissions
(g) All missions abroad to provide details of universities, Indian culture, documentation required
(i) HRD ministry to ensure minimal standards and facilities for foreign students
(j) UGC to give funds to establish and maintain an international students’ center in each institution
(h) A cadre of registered ‘student agents’ to assist and guide foreign students
(i) ICCR to create a fund to financially assist foreign students in emergencies

886 new engineering colleges and 1084 B-Schools on cards
Institutes dishing out engineering and management degrees are mushrooming in the country. Despite global depression, the rush for starting professional institutions is at an all time high. According to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the dash for starting professional colleges is more pronounced when it comes to engineering and management rather than other streams such as pharmacy, hotel management, catering technology or architecture. AICTE has received 886 applications for starting engineering colleges and 1084 application for new management institutes. Five states – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala account for 69 per cent of engineering graduates, implying that they also have most of India’s engineering colleges. This year too most of the applications for starting new colleges have come from these states making educationists worry about the high regional imbalance creeping in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Orissa which together account for only 14 per cent of India’s technological colleges. Several academicians fear that quality is losing out in the race to expand seats but AICTE feels that meeting the massive demand of professional education is imperative.

BRICS B - schools to pool in resources
The Association of BRICS Business Schools (ABBS), a common forum for management institutions from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was constituted recently. The first of its kind consortium is headed by the President of Xavier Institute of Management Education. An agreement to form an association was discussed and signed by a group of business schools for the five countries to promote cooperation, academic exchanges and research projects among themselves.

Institutional Updates
ISB ranked 15th top business school
The Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, has been ranked 15th in the global business school rankings by the Financial Times, London. This is the second year in a row when the ISB has achieved a high rank among leading international business schools. Last year, it was ranked 20, making it the first Indian business school to be counted among the top 20. The ISB was established in 2001 by a group of leading industrialists and academicians from India and abroad. From 126 students in 2001, the ISB has steadily increased the number of students each year. There will be 440 students graduating in April 2009. The School will be increasing the number of students to 560 in 2010. It will be setting up a second campus in Mohali (near Chandigarh) where classes are likely to commence in 2012.

Anna University to set up campus in Dubai
Anna University in Chennai is expanding its global reach by setting up a campus in Dubai. The off-shore campus in Dubai will offer undergraduate courses in four disciplines – automobile, chemical, electrical and civil engineering from the next academic year. Initially, the university faculty members from the Chennai campus will set up the facilities and teach on the Dubai campus.
Anna University also joined hands with the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, U.S. to offer its first joint Ph.D. degree. To begin with 10 students from the Indian side and 10 from the American side will be admitted to the joint degree program to encourage research in five thrust areas – biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology and communication and transportation, and construction engineering. A student joining the Ph.D. program will spend two years in India and two years in the U.S. and will have supervisors in both places. The agreement signed between the two universities also provides for student and faculty exchange programs.

NAAC accreditation for Symbiosis University
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has awarded an ‘A’ grade to Symbiosis International University, Pune, after assessing its curriculum, teaching – learning and evaluation, research, consultancy and extension, infrastructure and learning resources, student support and progress, governance and leadership, and innovative practices. The Symbiosis International University has 19 constituent institutions under its ambit. It has seven facilities – Law, Management, Computer Sciences, Engineering and Humanities and runs 71 programs including Ph.D.

Infosys collaborates with University of Cambridge on research projects
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Infosys Technologies, one of the India’s largest IT companies and the University of Cambridge, U.K., for joint research projects in the areas of engineering, management and business, architecture and pharmacology. The partnership with Cambridge University is a start of a joint effort between one of the best universities in the world and Infosys, which will craft an opportunity to come together for undertaking projects in selected areas of research.

Country Updates
ICAI and CPA Australia sign pact
Chartered accountants in India can now take up accounting and auditing work in Australia while accounting professionals from Australia will get an easy entry into India as the accounting regulators of both countries have signed a pact. Accounting and auditing rule maker the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) inked a pact with the Australian chartered accountancy body CPA Australia for mutual recognition of each other’s professionals, a move that will enable Indian chartered accountants to practice in Australia. As per the agreement, members of ICAI who are graduates will be eligible for CPA Australia membership on passing just one paper. On the other hand, members of CPA Australia will be eligible for ICAI membership subject to passing two papers on Corporate and Allied Laws and Taxation and two more papers on Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics and Financial Reporting, if they have not already passed them as a part of the CPA Australia program.

Institute for System Level Integration woos the Indian market
The Institute for System Level Integration (iSLI), a collaborative academic venture of four universities – University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Heriot-Watt University and the University of Strathclyde, is the world’s first center of excellence to concentrate on postgraduate education and research in the methodology and applications of systems on chip design and system level integration and related software and hardware technologies. The Institute is keen on partnerships with Indian engineering colleges and to recruit Indian students for the Institute’s one year M.Sc. in system level integration. The program is aimed at fresh graduates and professional engineers and is administered on the campus of one of the partner universities on a rotational basis. Upon successful completion of the program, the students graduate with a joint degree program from all four universities. The Institute is keen on recruiting Indian students since they are hard working and possess strong technical skills. Currently 60 per cent of the class at iSLI comprises of Indian students.

University of Strathclyde, Glasgow to explore overseas centre in India
The 213-year old University of Strathclyde, Glasgow is exploring options of opening overseas centers in India for its business management programs and is looking out for local partners to support its plans in India. The University has 10 overseas centers around the globe and is looking to having a presence in India. The University is also encouraging Indian students to pursue higher education in Scotland. The university is known as a major technological institution with a reputation for technical education and research. The university offers an open learning program for professionals at such centers. It has a “Flying Faculty” which flies to different locations to teach students, only one of its kind in the world. The University has centers in the Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Athens and Switzerland. In India, it will open two such centers either at Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi or Mumbai. The center would start with offering MBA program which is globally ranked among top 30 business schools and then roll out the Master’s degree in Marketing and Supply Chain Operations.
Around 300 Indian students study at the University of Strathclyde to pursue higher postgraduate courses in science, engineering and business every year. The University is keen on recruiting more students from India. The university also has a key agent contact program in India and has tie-ups with 10 such partners to help attract Indian students to the university.

Spain to promote its language and culture in India
In order to promote Spanish language learning and teaching in India, the Spanish government plans to establish Instituto Cervantes centers across India. The Cervantes Institute is a worldwide non-profit organization founded in 1991 by the government of Spain to promote studying and teaching of Spanish language and culture. The Institute has been operational in 42 countries and will now be opening its first center in India in New Delhi. Spanish being one of the four most spoken languages in the world and opening such centers in India will establish a direct connection between Indian languages and Spanish. The Institute will operate in two ways. First, it will set up centers in metros to impart direct training in classrooms including Kolkata, Bangalore and Mumbai. Second, to reach to the masses, it will offer distance learning courses. The Institute has signed an agreement with the Indira Gandhi National Open University for the distance learning courses.
Source: Leading Indian dailies, regional newspapers, magazines, newsletters and websites

Update from Indian Higher Education Sector - January 2009

Policy Updates
Government may ban deemed universities
A special panel set up by the Prime Minister has recommended banning deemed universities. The panel is of the view that the deemed universities are exploitative, charge huge fees, do not provide quality education besides giving a very different projection of the university system. Initially only three institutions in India – namely the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, Indian Statistical Institute and Pusa Institute in Delhi – were recommended for deemed university status for their academic excellence. However, since then the number of deemed universities have grown at an extraordinary rate without any control of the state governments. While March 2006-09 saw Central and State Universities growing by 11% and 22% respectively, deemed universities grew by 96% according to the data available with the Ministry of Human Resources Development(MHRD), Government of India.

UGC announces list of fake universities
The University Grants Commission (UGC) announced the state-wise list of fake universities in India as on January 18, 2009. Following is the list of 22 fake universities:

Maithili University/Vishwavidyalaya, Darbhanga

Varanaseya Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya
Commercial University Ltd
United Nations University
Vocational University
ADR-Centric Juridical University
Indian Institute of Science and Engineering

Badaganvi Sarkar World Open University Education Society, Belgaum

St. Johns University, Kishanattam
Madhya Pradesh

Kesarwani Vidyapith, Jabalpur

Raja Arabic University, Nagpur
Tamil Nadu

D.D.B. Sanskrit University, Trichy
West Bengal

Indian Institute of Alternative Medicine, Kolkata
Uttar Pradesh

Mahila Gram Vidyapeeth/ Vishwavidyalaya, Allahabad
Indian Education Council of U.P., Lucknow
Gandhi Hindi Vidyapith, Prayag, Allahabad
National University of Electro Complex Homeopathy, Kanpur
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose University (Open University), Aligarh
Uttar Pradesh Vishwavidyalaya, Mathura
Maharana Pratap Shiksha Niketan Vishwavidyalaya, Pratapgarh
Indraprastha Shiksha Parishad, Noida
Gurukul Vishwavidyala, Vridanvan

IIM-A recommends removal of curbs before allowing B-schools’ entry
The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) has suggested that the government should first remove restrictions and grant greater operational and financial autonomy to the Indian Institutes of Management before allowing entry of foreign business schools in India. Foreign business schools would be able to set up campuses within India once the Foreign Universities Entry and Operations Bill is passed. It will be difficult for the Indian management and business schools to compete with foreign business schools once they are allowed to set up campuses in India since they will not be required to face government regulations that Indian schools have to comply with. It is feared that the IIMs will soon slide to mediocrity. Citing the example of Harvard Business School which has endowments which are 3,000 times that of IIM-A, they will be able to attract the country’s best students and best faculty. IIMs have raised the point of competition not only from foreign schools but also from private schools. This is yet to be recognized by the government.

Varsities keen on 4-year B.Sc course
In a move that could help revive higher education in science, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Delhi University have promised to look favorably into a suggestion mooted by three national science academies for starting a four year B.Sc. course after which a student would be able to enroll for a dual M.Sc. and Ph.D. course. Those wanting to opt out a year after enrolling in the dual course would get an M.Sc. degree. If the new system works well once implemented, it could also be extended to the humanities stream, especially, economics.
The three academies – Indian Academy of Science, Bangalore; Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi; and the National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad that decide on science education in the country had proposed that the American model be looked at seriously. Under the proposed system, students in the first year will get grounding in the core science streams before choosing and specializing their electives. The thrust will be on encouraging a richer inter-disciplinary approach instead of the text oriented uni-dimensional B.Sc. that is currently being followed.

Institutional Updates
IITs contemplate to offer combined master and doctoral program
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are contemplating to offer combined master and doctoral program for engineering and science students with an aim to attract more students willing to pursue research in science and engineering. Many of the brightest Indian students interested in pursuing research in the sciences or engineering leave the country to study combined M.S./Ph.D. or M.Tech./Ph.D. courses in the U.S. and other western countries since most of the universities in U.S. and Europe offer combined master and doctoral program. But Indian science students need to complete their post graduation before applying for Ph.D.
The courses will also be cheaper than the corresponding courses abroad. If approved by the council, students can apply for the combined course after completing graduation. The proposed course will offer an M.Sc./Ph.D. degree and M.Tech./Ph.D. degree. The courses are expected to commence from this academic year. The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) is the only institution in the country which offers combined courses in master and doctoral program. The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, allows select students the opportunity of pursuing a Ph.D. directly after their graduation. But students who leave midway are not granted a postgraduate degree.

Country Updates
U.S. universities sell executive courses in India
Faced with a severe downturn at home, several U.S. universities have now turned to India to sell their executive education programs. A team of professors from nine universities including the Ohio State University, George Washington University and Northeastern University visited India to meet top companies such as Siemens India, RPG Enterprises, Glaxo Smithkline, Mphasis and Infosys Technologies. In the past, executive education programs have been a good source of revenue for universities in the U.S. where in some cases their annual revenue was as high as 40 per cent. Until some months back, companies in the U.S. used to fully reimburse the students who went for such programs but not anymore since the meltdown. There are no takers for these programs.
India could be a good hunting ground for these universities as there is shortage of executive education programs in Indian business schools. Though there are over 1,500 business schools in India, only the Indian Institutes of Management and other quality B-Schools offer such programs. In contrast around 500 universities in the U.S. run executive education programs. The U.S. Universities however have not slashed the executive education fee. Some are charging USD 100 per hour as executive education fee from Indian companies.

Cambridge University lures Indian students
The University of Cambridge, in a bid to seek out youngsters with the highest academic potential in India, has launched a new scholarship program at the under graduate level named after its noted alumnus and India’s Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. This scholarship is the first initiative on the varsity’s behalf to provide financial support to undergraduate Indian students. The program which has been launched with a corpus fund of £1.5 million is meant for the academic year 2010 for all disciplines across the board. Cambridge already offers financial aid to Indian students at the master’s level. Launched in Delhi last year, the Manmohan Singh Scholarship is currently supporting three Indian students at St. John’s College.

British universities urged to sign up to immigration system
British universities and colleges have been asked to sign up now to a new points-based immigration system if they want to teach international students. Universities, colleges and schools who want to sponsor international students had until February 2009 to apply under the student tier of Britain’s tough new points system. The points-based system was created to ‘manage’ the number of people coming to Britain to work and study. The introduction of the student tier – Tier 4 – by the end of March will complete the rollout of the system.
So far more than 800 universities, colleges and schools have signed up. Under the new rules schools, colleges and universities must pledge to take responsibility for any students they bring to Britain from outside Europe and have a license to do so. The new system will be rolled out over the next 12 months. International students will have to be sponsored by a government-licensed institution, prove that they have the means to support themselves and their families, and supply their fingerprints.
Source: Leading Indian dailies, regional newspapers, magazines, newsletters and websites

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Update from Indian Higher Education Sector - December 2008

Policy Updates
India to double allocation for science
India proposes to double the fund allocation for science and technology from one percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) to two percent and make basic sciences and mathematics the preferred subjects for children. In the 10th Five-Year Plan (2002-07) the allocation for science and technology was around Rs. 252 billion. Based on the lines of the National Science Foundation in the U.S., the government proposes to establish a National Science and Engineering Research Board, an autonomous body to promote basic research in science and engineering providing unfettered financial assistance to researchers, academic institutions, research laboratories and industrial concerns.

Government to setup 14 World-Class Universities in 11th Five Year Plan
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has proposed to establish 14 National Universities aiming towards world-class standards in the 11th Five-Year plan period. A preliminary draft of the concept paper on setting up of these universities was prepared by an Expert Committee constituted by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) have also been taken into consideration by the Expert Committee while revising the draft concept paper which is yet to be finalized by the Committee.
State-wise cities identified for locating 14 world class universities during the 11th plan period are Andhra Pradesh – Vishakapatanam; Assam – Guwahati; Bihar – Patna; Gujarat – Gandhinagar; Karnataka – Mysore; Kerala – Kochi; Madhya Pradesh – Bhopal; Maharashtra – Pune; Orissa – Bhubaneshwar; Punjab – Amritsar; Rajasthan – Jaipur; Tamil Nadu – Coimbatore; Uttar Pradesh - Greater Noida; West Bengal – Kolkata

Parliamentary panel pulls up AICTE
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development has pulled up the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for its inability to check commercialization of education and regulate technical education in the country. The committee faulted the council for trying to expand its mandate when it had been unable to fulfill the tasks assigned to it. The lopsided development of technical education in the country was evident with the majority of institutes concentrated in southern India. Failing to coordinate development of technical education was a major functional failure of AICTE. The committee also found that AICTE was unable to check commercialization of education. The fee committees and the admissions committees set up by the state governments as per Supreme Court orders to prescribe fee to be charged by technical institutes and oversee admission procedures, had been unable to address the problem.

Institutional Updates
Deakin University, Australia partners with Indian universities
Deakin University has decided to extend its collaboration and cooperation with different universities and companies in India. Recently a high profile team from the University toured India and signed a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding. Deakin has signed MoUs with the University of Delhi, IIT in Roorkee, Mumbai and Kharagpur, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and IMT Ghaziabad. The areas of agreement range from student exchange to research. The Indian students will stand to benefit from Deakin’s trimester programme wherein one can take a three year degree within a span of two years. Deakin’s alumni network is so strong in India that the University’s India office assists in getting job placements.
The University has programmes in almost all disciplines and a host of scholarships for Indian students including the India research fund. The Deakin authorities are also in talks with Australian External Affairs ministry to relax visa regulations for international students.

Country Updates
Indian students head for Australia instead of the U.S.
Australia is set to become the preferred destination for education over the U.S. for Indian students. The Indian student enrollment in Australian universities increased from 13,000 in 2003 to approximately 85,000 in 2008. U.S universities have the maximum number of Indian students on their campuses but the increase in student enrollment this year as compared to last year has been only 13%. Australian campuses have seen an increase of 51% in enrollments during the same period. The reason for the increase can be attributed to world class education provided by Australian universities, its multi-cultural environment, migration points and the permission to work while studying. The most sought after streams are management, commerce, engineering, hospitality and other vocational training courses.

Exclusive bouquet of programmes offered by French Universities to Indian students
The Indo-French Consortium of Universities (IFCU) was launched in January 2008 with the objective of Indo-French scientific, technical and educational co-operation. It has the dual objective of increasing student mobility to each others’ countries. To increase the number of Indian students in French universities which is only 1500, some have adopted English as the medium of instruction instead of French. The consortium is also working on the dual degree program at the Masters level which requires the student to enroll for a three year course in India of which he spends two years in India and one year in France. The student is then awarded two degrees – one from the Indian university which also increases the student’s chances of doing a Ph.D. from any French university. Indian students are also offered the sandwich Ph.D. program wherein a student can be registered for Ph.D. in India but work on a certain aspect of his Ph.D. in France and upon completion be awarded the Ph.D. degree by the Indian University. The science and technology of the French Embassy in India offers a research fellowship to Indian doctoral and post doctoral students.
Source: Leading Indian dailies, regional newspapers, magazines and newsletters

Update from Indian Higher Education Sector - November 2008

Highlight of the Month
Foreign universities Bill unlikely to be tabled soon
A proposed legislation to allow entry of foreign universities in India may not be tabled in the winter session of the parliament since the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is yet to finalize rules for deemed universities. These rules would apply to foreign universities as the Foreign Educational Institutions(Regulation of Entry Operations, Maintenance of Quality and Prevention of Commercialization) Bill, 2007 proposes they be granted deemed university status before enrolling students.
Declaring foreign universities, deemed universities would bring them under the ambit of University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations. However, a new clause in the draft Bill allows the government to exempt them from the provision of the proposed legislation, making it possible for these institutes to avoid regulations on seat reservations and fee structures. Foreign universities are currently now allowed to offer degree courses in India although the country allows 100% foreign direct investment in the sector. At present nearly 150 foreign institutions offer courses with Indian varsities under a twinning arrangement which is allowed by the education department.

Policy Updates
Agency mooted for professional education
The Administrative Reforms Committee (ARC) has suggested abolishing the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and setting up of special agencies for higher and professional education. Professional education should be separated from the domain of the existing regulatory bodies and handed over to specially created agencies – National Standards and Quality Councils for Medicine, Management and other streams – while the existing regulatory bodies would remain confined to issues concerning registration, skill upgradation and management of professional standards.
In its 9th Report the ARC has said that the new professional councils should be created by law and their role would be to lay down norms, standards and parameters on issues concerning growth and development of their stream, including the setting up of new institutions, designing and updating curriculum, faculty improvement and carrying out research and other key issues concerning the stream. The report also suggested these councils should have full autonomy with the higher decision making body having a majority of independent members with just two or three members drawn from the government who could be there in an ex-officio capacity.

Central universities to get funds for overall development
The Government has decided to allocate about Rs. billion for overall development of the 24 existing Central universities during the 11th Five Year Plan. The University Grants Commission (UGC) sent committees to the Central universities for assessing their requirements. The reports of the committees have indicated need for greater funding than what has been allocated. The grants allocated will help the universities to plan out specific programmes, appoint new people and expand the infrastructure facilities. The grants are meant for both expansion of facilities, creation of new positions and making expenses on development.
UGC will also make separate allocation for the 16 upcoming Central universities and the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University set up in Amarkantak. Separate allocation will also be made for state universities and government run deemed universities.

Post Graduation may be possible sans graduation
In a path breaking proposal and in line with the western education system, the UGC has suggested that students without completing their degree courses can get admission to post graduate programs through lateral entry under the Community College Scheme by undergoing a bridge course. Once they clear such a course, they can participate in the post graduate courses at the community colleges which may be started in the country. The community colleges may be launched in the same fashion as they are in the U.S., Australia and Canada.
These institutes propose to impart three-year degree programmes in various subjects with a provision for awarding Diploma at the end of each year. The advantage of participating in these degree programmes will be in terms of the option to pursue post graduate courses through the bridge course. The bridge course will like a package programme that will enhance the level of competence of the candidates to the level of a post graduate student. There may be a central scheme on community colleges. The recommendations of UGC will be placed before the Ministry of Human Resource Development for final approval.

Scientists for B.Sc. with choice
The Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, and the National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad, India’s three largest associations of scientists have jointly proposed changes in university science education, seeking a four-year B.Sc. and freedom in subject choices long denied to students across India. After the four-year B.Sc. programme, students can directly pursue a Ph.D., or exit after one more year with a master’s degree, under the restructured post-school science education system proposed by the three science academies. The academies, whose members include the nation’s top scientists and science policy makers, have called for flexibility in course choices to counter the current practice of straitjacketing students into pre-defined subject combinations. According to the proposal Biology students should be able to study physics, mathematics students should be able to study humanities.
There is a realisation that the country is not producing the quality of scientists it needs. The 3 academies have warned that just increasing investments in science education will not improve quality. The current B.Sc. is compartmentalised and forces students to pick rigid subject combinations, or even specialisations, in the first-year itself. Scientists believe this practice prevents students from acquiring strong foundations in the core sciences. In the proposed B.Sc., or B.S., programme, students would have to study mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and earth sciences, computers, and humanities during the first two years. They would be able to pick a subject for specialisation in the third and fourth years, but would have to choose electives for at least 15 per cent of course credits from outside their own area. Students who complete such a programme could directly join Ph.D. or opt out after one year with a master’s, but the academies believe students who complete such a 4-year course would stand a better chance of employment than existing B.Sc. graduates.
The academies have proposed that the four-year programmes should be initially introduced only in institutions with good track records of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research. But some researchers caution that improving university science education won’t address another key problem that Indian science faces — the brain drain of Ph.Ds.

Public Private Partnership in higher education proposed by industry lobby
Foreign universities are now increasingly looking forward to partnerships with Indian universities specifically institutes of higher learning and research with a view to expand their programmes and outreach. Keeping in view the prevailing situation, the industry lobby Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)-Ernst & Young in a study have revealed that despite government initiatives, there exists a significant gap in the demand for higher education and the supply of infrastructure facilities. The government needs to step not only through improvised regulatory framework but through a different form of strategy—public-private partnership (PPP).
According to the study, higher education institutions (HEIs) can operate as a not-for-profit basis like as a trust or a society. Few HEIs that operate as a company registered under Section 25 of the Companies Act are not recognised by the UGC and AICTE. The participation by the private sector in HEIs has been on the rise in recent years but the scale of demand and opportunity has led to signification lapses in quality and governance. Hence an effective PPP model backed by appropriate regulation can resolve the issue. The proposed regulatory framework should also facilitate the entry of foreign institutions.
The report emphasises that PPP is one of the key approaches to infuse the required investments in the education system from the private sector in cooperation with the facilitating regulatory supervision of the government. FICCI has noted that without adequate government funding, public institutions find it difficult to develop infrastructure to enhance student intake and expand enrollment. According to the report, over 170 million students eligible to pursue higher education in India are out of its ambit and the poor and uneven infrastructure is one of the key reasons behind it. With a total eligible population for education at 460 million, only about 63% are studying in India. This percentage is very low when compared to other nations like Brazil and Russia where 88% and 89% of the eligible education population are studying, the report underlined.

Institutional Updates
Government cell to recruit global faculty for IITs
In a bid to help the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) tackle the severe faculty crunch, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has decided to set up a head hunting cell that will enable IIT Directors to go abroad and recruit quality global faculty members. It will fund the cell with an initial investment of Rs 100 milion which could be increased later. The cell will be called the “Faculty Induction and Development Cell” and will work under the MHRD.
Over the next five years, the IITs will need around 3500 professors. At present, the IITs are facing a shortage of teaching staff of over 20%. The 7 existing IITs have 2630 faculty members according to MHRD. The six new IITs that will be sent up in Gandhinagar, Patna, Bhubhaneshwar, Punjab, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh as part of the 11th Five Year Plan will need at least 50 faculty members to begin with. According to MHRD, there are around 50,000 Indians involved in higher education research in top engineering and technology institutes across the world who could be recruited for the Indian engineering institutes.

Global majors at IIM-A for campus hiring
Despite the global slowdown and threat of job losses looming large in the finance sector everywhere, international firms made an appearance at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad to pick students for the summer of 2009. Firms such as UBS, BCG and Goldman Sachs among many others conducted interviews on campus. The process of summer placements has been encouraging in Kolkata and Kozhikode. Though the packages offered to the students are not comparable to that of last year, the officials in IIM believe, they have no reasons to worry. The institutes maintain that as of now, there are no signs of students opting out of finance sector jobs.

European scholarships for Delhi University students
Students of the Delhi University will now have the opportunity to study at any one of the 12 selected European universities with financial aid that will take care of all their expenses during the stint. The scholarship program offered to the varsity has a budget of 10 million euros. The European Commission has initiated a large scale collaboration between 12 European and 8 Indian institutions called the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window. Delhi University is among the 8 institutions and the only one from the Capital, which also includes IIT Kanpur, Jadavpur University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The foreign partners comprise of the University of Amsterdam, Lund University, Sweden and Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany. The contract between the Indiana nd European universities is for a period of 3 years and up to April 2012.
The Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window will facilitate mobility of undergraduates, postgraduates, doctorates, post doctorates and academic staff. Out of the 400 bursaries, 300 are meant for Indian students and the rest for their counterparts in Europe. The External Cooperation Window is different because Indian students will be competing with Indian students and not with students from other countries.

Country Updates
Australia mulls exchange scheme for mining students
The Australian government is considering introducing a student exchange program for the Indian School of Mining in Dhanbad. Apart from this, many vocational courses are being introduced at Curtin University of Technology in Australia and Indian students can apply for such courses since they have been designed to meet industry needs. Australia needs over 4 lakh skilled manpower in the next ten years to meet the lack of manpower in the mining industry.
According to data available, exports from Western Australia to india was 5.3 billion, which accounted for 56% of Australia’s total exports in 2007-08. The major component of trade is gold, diamond, copper concentrate and other minerals. Many Indian mining countries have already set their base in Australia and many more are in the pipeline.

British Council to focus on vocational education
The British Council in India will focus on vocational education even though India has a rich heritage of vocational skills. The Council feels there is a strong need to upgrade the institutions that impart vocational education so that they can create a more employable workforce. In U.K. there is a significant thrust on vocational education as most of the students opting out of higher education go in for vocational courses. Keeping this in mind, the British Council intends to facilitate a channel of communication between both the countries and enable a meaningful exchange in terms of teaching. This will include inspection of existing infrastructure and equipment in vocational institutions, capacity building, teacher training, syllabus improvisation and also reviewing the process of certification. The British Council is also interested in strengthening research collaborations both in contemporary and traditional areas. The Research Council of U.K has established their first ever office in India and the British Council will work closely with them. The Council will also work on developing leadership of institutions and it has already initiated discussions with the University Grants Commission.

More Indian students in U.K. universities
Universities in the U.K. are recording consistent rise in the number of Indian students enrolling for higher studies as per the latest data released by the British Council. The number of student visas issued this year till September is 25,4000 up 20% from 21,000 in the year ago period. The British Consulate said it had received 37,000 applications. India remains second in a list China tops.

Queens University establishes Indian studies centre
In order to foster cultural and social relations between Indian and Northern Ireland, Queen’s
University, Belfast has established a centre for Contemporary Indian Studies. The centre aims to promote India’s culture along with its scientific and economic development through student and faculty exchange programmes. The centre will be formally launched 2009. The centre will be inviting Indian students from various universities like Jawaharlal Nehru University, Bengal Engineering and Science University, University of Madras, Jadavpur University, Amity University and the University Hyderabad to carry out research in the areas of history and science. The centre will act as a mediator between the research work carried out in these centres of excellence and the industry. The centre will also offer two scholarships to Indian scholars: Split-Site scholarships and Queen’s India Welcome Scheme Scholarship to work with the Irish University in the area of Hindi language.

Consortium strengthens India’s French connection
During President Nicholas Sarkozy’s visit to India, the Indo-French Consortium of Universities (IFCU) was formed with the desire to form a pool of Indians who have been to France and have experienced life and culture in France, who can be ambassadors of France in India. The Consortium realizes that to make this kind of collaboration there needs to be increased student mobility. The Consortium is working towards structured agreements that allow Indian students to go to France to study and spend a sufficiently long time there. Then they come back with a degree that is recognized in India. The main objective of the IFCU is to promote and encourage the creation of dual degrees along with PhDs and co-guidance. On addition, it will also be promoting language training and cultural exchange as part of these programmes. A concept that is high on the Consortium’s priority list is the Cyber University, where professors from both countries will offer contemporary courses on the internet.

France offers engineering scholarships
France is currently offering scholarships to meritorious students of engineering from India for post graduate studies for two years in France for the academic year starting September 2009. For this purpose, ALTEN – a leading European research and development consulting and advanced engineering group ‘n + i’ – a network of 75 renowned French Embassy have come together to fully finance such students. ALTEN and the French Ministry of foreign affairs are offering 25 full scholarships of around 20 – 25,000 euros for two years for Indian students who wish to enroll in MS programme in all core engineering fields through ‘n + i’ which works in collaboration with the higher education office of the French Embassy in India. The ‘n + i’ is a non-profit making network that brings together over 70 premier post graduate engineering institutions from France. It aims at developing academic ties between India and France in the domain of scientific and technical education and spreading awareness about higher education in France.

Sweden woos Indian students and professionals
Sweden is planning to relax the procedure for obtaining work permits for students. This will enable students to avail to avail work permits without leaving the country after completing a semester of study at an institute of higher education in Sweden. Earlier students would return to India and apply for a work visa with the Swedish Embassy. In the past decade around 500 Indian students study in Sweden annually. This provision will give them an opportunity to stay back and find jobs in Sweden. The changes will come into effect from December 15. Sweden also plans to woo Indian professionals. Scandinavian countries plan t ease visa processes, lengthen work permits and introduce the resident visa system to attract young migrants from India. The country is trying to draw professionals from fields like hospitality, IT, engineering and medicine. Under the new policy, duration of the work permit for migrant workers will increase to two years. The renewal process will be simplified and individuals will be able to renew their permit in Sweden.

U.S. varsities regain ground after 9/11
The number of Indian students going to the U.S. has shown an increase of 13 per cent and is only marginally overshadowed by the resurgence of interest in the U.S. from Chinese students whose increase has been 20 per cent. But since 2001-02 since it took over from China, it has remained the leading place of origin for students coming to the U.S. The surge in foreign enrollment has relieved and please U.S. administration which came under criticism from the academia for instituting stricter controls that led to a momentary decline in foreign students after 9/11. Tougher U.S. procedures had led many foreign students to countries such as Canada, U.K. Australia and Singapore but the U.S. has evidently regained ground. The U.S. has also seen a surge in students from Nepal. There was a 15% increase in enrollments from Nepal in the past year putting it in the 11th place.

Yale University launches India initiative
U.S. based Yale university has launched its India initiative with a corpus of 75 million USD to increase its engagement with India and South Asia. The initiative will create new faculty positions on India scientific courses and new curriculum across the arts and science disciplines apart from student recruitment efforts, faculty and student exchanges, research partnerships and leadership education. Yale’s India initiative will create Yale’s professional schools of architecture, environmental studies, law, management, medicine, public health and nursing. As part of the initiative, the university will triple the number of faculty from India to about 30 specialist positions. Yale has committed 30 million USD from its own unrestricted endowment resources and expects to raise atleast 20 million USD from donors within the next year.
Source: Leading Indian dailies, regional newspapers, magazines and newsletters

Update from Indian Higher Education Sector - October 2008

Highlight of the Month
Cabinet approves 12 new central universities
With an aim to setup a central university in every state of the country, the Government cleared a proposal to establish 12 new central varsities and upgrade four existing state universities to central universities. The 12 new proposed central universities will come up in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand.
The state universities which will be upgraded to central universities include the Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Srinagar (Uttarakhand); Dr. Harisingh Gaur University, Sagar (Madhya Pradesh); Guru Ghasidas University, Bilaspaur (Chhattisgarh) and Goa University, Goa.
A budget of Rs. 32.8 billion has been sanctioned during the 11th Five Year Plan for the project. Of this, Rs. 27 billion will be used for setting up the new central universities and the remaining Rs. 5.8 billion will be spent on the four existing state universities to help them with the upgradation.

Policy Updates
Cabinet refers Distance Education Council Bill to GoM
The Ministry of Human Resource Development’s proposed legislation to setup an independent Distance Education Council (DEC), for maintaining and monitoring the standards of open / distance learning in the country, was referred to a Group of Ministers (GoM).The decision was taken after objections were raised by a number of ministers over the HRD Ministry's proposal to setup an independent Distance Education Regulator.
According to the HRD Ministry, the DEC would be an independent statuary body which will promote, coordinate and regulate the standards of all distance education programmes offered in the country. A Distance Education Council functioning under the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is already looking after the distance mode of education in the country.

Complete overhauling of B-school syllabi on the anvil
The curriculum of the Management programs in India is all set for an overhauling with the Central government deciding to set up an expert committee to make the syllabus more akin to international standards. The syllabus will be made more output based and relevant for global corporates. The syllabus is being revised from a theory-based to a performance based one since India is planning to apply for a membership to the United States based Association to Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Founded in 1916, the AACSB has granted specialized business school accreditation to more than 500 degree-granting institutions in 30 countries. The AACSB is regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious accreditors of business school programs.
The Indian Institutes of Management in Ahmedabad and Bangalore have shown interest in receiving such accreditation as it would enable their students to apply for work permit in any of the member states of AACSB without writing any other examination. The pre-requisite to get such accreditation for admission to management courses would be revamped completely with more focus on the actual preference of the students in the industry than the physical infrastructure of the institutes.
India already is a temporary member of the Washington Accord which benefits Indian engineering students. The National Board of Accreditation will soon apply for getting associated with AACSB. The expert committee is likely to submit its report within six months will also focus on interdisciplinary courses relating to management

Government to upgrade infrastructure for Tourism Education
The Ministry of Tourism has got approval for its scheme that provides for creation of institutional infrastructure necessary for Hospitality and Tourism-specific education. This revision of the scheme had become necessary to meet the growing demand of the industry of trained manpower. As per the assessment of the Ministry, the industry requires about 200,000 trained persons annually. The supply as against this is just fractional, of about 12,000 persons from all the institutes in the country.
The approved scheme until now covers strengthening of the existing Institutes of Hotel Management (IHMs) and Food Craft Institutes (FCIs) and setting up of the new ones. Under the enlarged dispensation, it will also allow funding of the ITIs, polytechnic institutes, government colleges, universities and PSUs, to the extent of Rs. 20 million in each case, for starting hospitality courses.
The scheme, as approved now, provides for the setting up of 19 new State IHMs and 25 State FCIs during the 11th Plan. The total supply of 12,000 trained manpower consists of 78% at the managerial level and 22% at skill level, whereas requirement is in the ratio of 34% and 66% respectively. To overcome the acute shortage of trained personnel at skill level, it has been stipulated that, the State IHMs would also conduct Craft Courses besides the Degree Course of 3 years.

Infotech schools face government watchdog
India’s premier schools for information technology may soon have to give up their individual administrative mechanisms including fee and course structures under an umbrella governing body being planned by the Centre. The Ministry of Human Resource Development is seeking to herd all Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT) under a single administrative body called the IIIT Council that will set policies for the schools. Each of the IIITs has an independent administrative structure not linked to that of any other IIIT. India has 8 IIIT at present and the ninth one located in Gwalior called the IIITM also offers Management courses.

The common mechanism will be made mandatory for the 20 new IIIT promised under the 11th Five Year Plan. The existing institutes will be given the option of subscribing to the common mechanism or forfeiting the IIIT tag. The plan may be difficult to implement since many of the IIITs were started by the state governments that continue to maintain significant control over them.

Plans to legally recognize IIT degrees shelved
The Centre has shelved plans to legally recognise degrees offered by the five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) and six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). The Ministry of Human Resource Development had sought to introduce amendments in the IIT Act and the National Institute of Technology Act which has run into a road block with the Law Ministry over language of the amendment.
The degrees offered by the five IISERs – premier institutes of science research set up at the recommendation of the Prime Minister’s scientific advisory committee are now not recognised officially. Six new IITs in addition to the seven already existing ones are already offering courses but their degrees too are not recognised as B.Tech. degrees and requires an amendment to the existing Act for formal recognition. The new institutes in Rajasthan, Punjab, Patna, Bhubhaneshwar, Gandhinagar and Hyderabad can only legally offer diplomas. The new IITs still have three years before they have to award their first set of degrees since their first batch of students will graduate in 2012. But the IISERs in Calcutta and Pune started in 2006 are in their third year and the institute in Mohali in its second year. These institutes offer five year integrated courses. Non- recognition of these courses will come as a big blow to nearly 650 students at the five IISERs and around 600 students enrolled in the new IITs.

Government to setup 1500 new ITIs
The Planning Commission has given its "i-principle" approval for opening of 1500 new Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and 5,000 Skill Development Centres in un-serviced blocks across the country. With an aim to improve the supply of skilled professionals, the Central Government has approved the up-gradation of 500 Government ITIs - 100 with domestic funding and 400 with World Bank assistance. The up-gradation of the remaining 1396 Government ITIs through Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode has also been approved.

Institutional Updates
Two IITs in world's top universities list
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) and Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) have been ranked amongst the Top 200 Universities of the World this year, the list of which is dominated by educational institutions from the U.S. and U.K.. The survey, called the 'THE - QS World University Rankings 2008', ranked IIT-Delhi and IIT-Bombay at 154 and 174 positions respectively.
No other Indian university has been able to make it to the Top 200 Universities' list, which has as many as nine Asian institutes among the top 50, including three based in Hong Kong.
The institutions identified by the 'Times
Higher Education (THE) - QS World University Rankings', as the World's top universities in 2008, represent 20 countries with Israel represented for the first time. Whilst North America dominates with 42 universities, Europe and Asia Pacific are well represented with 36 and 22 respectively. The list has been topped by Harvard University (U.S.) followed by Yale University (U.S.) and University of Cambridge (U.K.) The University of Oxford (U.K.) has been ranked 4th. China has as many as five varsities in the Top 200, with Peking University placed at 50 and Tsinghua University at 56. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Seoul National University are the two new entrants into the list this year.

IISc plans to setup interdisciplinary centre
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore is planning to setup an interdisciplinary centre at the cost of Rs. 20 billion. The centre, to be called the Tata Centre for Interdisciplinary Research (TCIR), will be setup within the IISc campus by 2009. The proposal is in the final stages of approval with the Sir Ratan Tata Trust, which will provide Rs. 4 billion - Rs. 5 billion as initial funding for the project. The rest of the long term projected costs will be met from other sources, including the industry.
According to the plan TCIR will be setup up by January 2009 and Ph.D. students will be admitted by June. It will be a virtual centre to start with, but will have a 300,000 square feet centre within the IISc campus by the end of next year. The TCIR will have between 60 and 70 faculty members drawn from within the IISc, industry and universities.

Education City to be set up near Delhi
To reform the current scenario of education at all levels, the government of the northern Indian state of
Haryana announced the setting up of the Rajiv Gandhi Education City at Kundli near Delhi. The Haryana government would soon pass the Private University Act to encourage private sector investment in higher education.
The Central Government has already approved the setting up of an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Rohtak, a B-School and a Knowledge Park on the campus of Guru Jambeshwar University in Hisar, a Central university in Mahendragarh district and the Indian National Defence University (INDU) in Gurgaon.

Bhopal to get School of Planning and Architecture and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research
The foundation stone of the School of Planning & Architecture (SPA) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) were recently laid in Bhopal. The Central Government has sanctioned the setting up of two new Schools of Planning and Architecture (SPAs) at Bhopal and Vijayawada at a cost of over Rs. 34.8 million.
The SPA at Bhopal will not only cater to the growing demand of architects and planners, but also promote research in these fields. The school will offer Bachelor's and Master's programmes as well as Doctoral and Post-Doctoral programmes
in the fields of architecture and planning.
The IISER at Bhopal is the fourth in the series established by the Centre, other three being located at
Pune, Kolkata and Mohali. The fifth IISER has been established at Thiruvananthapuram along with the one at Bhopal. The classes of the first batch of students of the M.S. programme at IISER Bhopal started from August 18, 2008 in a transit campus of the Industrial Training Institute (Gas Rahat). The permanent campus will come up at Bhaunri, 13 kms from the Bhopal airport.

Nanotechnology centre to come up in AMU
The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) will set up a state-of-the-art Nanotechnology centre to facilitate advanced research and studies in material sciences. The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India has allocated over Rs. 24 million to set up the centre at AMU. At present, there are only 20 seats in the Nanotechnology course offered by AMU at the postgraduate level. With the setting up of the centre, the varsity would be able to enrol more students in the course

Ratan Tata gives USD 50 mn to Cornell University
The Cornell University has received an endowment of US $ 50 million from the Tata Education and Development Trust, a philanthropic entity of the Tata Group led by Ratan Tata. The endowment, one of the most generous endowments ever received from an international benefactor by an American university consists of US $ 25 million to establish the Tata-Cornell Initiative in Agriculture and Nutrition, which will contribute to advances in nutrition and agriculture for India; and $25 million for the Tata Scholarship Fund for Students from India, to help attract more of the best and brightest students to the varsity from India.
The goal of the new agriculture initiative is to improve the productivity, sustainability and profitability of India's food system, with the aim of reducing poverty and malnutrition
Cornell's long-standing expertise in international agriculture and nutrition will also receive a significant boost through Tata's gift. The establishment of the $25 million scholarship fund will help meet the Tata Group's pledge to bring more Indian students to Cornell. The scholarships will be offered to between 6 and 10 students annually, depending on level of need, and could ultimately support up to 25 Tata scholars at Cornell at any one time.
Tata's scholarship gift comes on the heels of a new Cornell financial aid initiative that took effect this semester. About 4,500 undergraduates are already benefiting from the plan, which greatly reduces the amount of loan debt for students from families with certain income levels. The plan covers qualifying students from the United States, as well as Canadians and Mexicans, but does not cover other international students. The Tata scholarships will be increased to the optimal number over three or four years. During that period, Cornell will launch an extensive outreach campaign in India to build awareness of the scholarships.

International civil aviation university to come up in Hyderabad
Concordia University of Canada has decided to set up an aviation-focussed university in India's first aerospace special economic zone, coming up in Andhra Pradesh. The university is likely to start offering programmes next year while the campus would come up in 2010. The proposed International Civil Aviation University (ICAU) will be developed as a centre of excellence with sister campuses in Montreal (Canada) and Toulouse (France). Concordia University, is looking for Indian partners for the university. The university, which is looking for local investors for this $40-50 million project, expects that 10,000 students would enroll for its various programmes after a few years.
The university plans to offer undergraduate and graduate training programmes in engineering and management. Initial programmes proposed include BSc Mechanical Engineering, MSc Aeronautical Engineering, BSc Aviation Management, MSc Air Transport Management and Aviation MBA.

Country Updates
Australia opens exam centres in India to recruit doctors
Australia is set to open five examination centres in India to recruit overseas trained doctors, desperately needed to meet the acute shortage of medical professionals in the country. Indian doctors, who have applied for migration to Australia, will be able to sit for a multiple-choice exam that will test their medical knowledge at one of the five centres in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. Until now, Indian doctors had to sit for the exam in testing centres set up for the past few years in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai or London.
The Australian government, under the MedicarePlus reforms introduced five years ago, had pledged not to actively recruit or in other words poach doctors from developing countries such as India. After careful review the Australian Medical Council stated that India no longer forms part of these sensitive areas. India is perhaps the biggest single source of overseas trained doctors migrating to Australia. About 6,500 foreign doctors come to work in Australia each year, most of them from the Indian subcontinent, Britain and South Africa. The Australian health system relies heavily on foreign doctors, particularly in regional and remote areas where Australians don't want to work. Forty percent of all doctors in Australia were overseas trained and a large proportion of these doctors hail from the Indian subcontinent. Almost 15% of overseas trained doctors in Australia are Indians.
Source: Leading Indian dailies, regional newspapers, magazines and newsletters

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