Indian HE: Small is beautiful

Nieuws | de redactie
6 maart 2012 | A government agency warns that India’s universities have grown too big. Fusing too many colleges into one university has led to governance inefficiencies and a decline in quality. All universities with more than affiliated 100 colleges or 50,000 students should be split up accordingly.

India’s higher education system is undergoing massive change. Onthe one hand, there is a group of major universities moving from a3+2 year Bachelor/Master system towards a 4 year university degreemaking Master program superfluous. On the other hand, a thrivingdeveloping economy leads to ever greater numbers of students pushing into universities.

Some of those universities have become too big by now, says anew report by the University Grants Commission (UCG),the official body in charge of university financing and qualitymaintenance. State universities with more than 100 affiliatedcolleges or 50,000 students should be split up accordingly.University of Mumbai, for example, accounted for about 549,432students and 653 affiliated colleges in 2011.

Inefficiencies, decline in quality frommergers

The UCG experts criticize that bringing too many academic unitsunder one roof has led to inefficiencies and a decrease in quality.”Steep decline in the academic standards, profiteering by thecollege managements, low level of the quality of teaching,vulnerable examination systems etc were reported from a number ofaffiliated colleges from several states.”

“Further, in view of the increasing load of affiliatingfunctions due to recurring large number of affiliated colleges, theState universities have become examination conducting bodies forthese colleges with ill-equipped, age-old administrative machineryand personnel. Small is beautiful, in large systems, disaster isimminent.”

The UCG commission also sees that its recommendations will faceresistance from some institutes. “One argument is that when theuniversity gets bifurcated/trifurcated, the collective wisdom whichhas gone into its making will be affected. So some colleges may notlike to go out of the university because of the reputation andgoodwill which the university has. As a new university, it mighttake time to build up such reputation/goodwill.”

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