"Accreditation agencies do not have the capacity to process applications resulting in large backlogs"

"Accreditation agencies do not have the capacity to process applications resulting in large backlogs"
Abhay Anand | May 9, 2018 - 7:16 p.m. IST
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Dr. Ishari K Ganesh, Chancellor, Vels Institute of Science Technology & Advanced Studies (VISTAS), speaks on various challenges in front of the higher education sector in India...
Q. What are the regulatory challenges in the Indian education system?
There are several regulatory challenges, but there are four major ones.
First, overlapping regulations at different layers – for opening a university/college; offering a course; getting accredited – which adds to the time and cost of entering and operating in this sector.
Second, a lack of clear and easily accessible documentation of the requirements for a private institution to be set up without any difficulties.
Third, the accreditation is limited to only two agencies, which do not have the capacity to process applications thereby resulting in large backlogs.
Fourth, neither of the agencies has recognised the need to move to outcome-based recognition norms and instead saddle applicants with input-heavy norms.
The need of the hour is that we require important policy reforms in order to encourage greater private participation. This participation would eventually lead to a more competitive environment in the higher education sector and foster growth.
In this context, it is imperative that we understand that India has one of the largest higher education systems in the world, primarily dominated by private players who account for 60 per cent of the total institutes and 64 per cent of total enrolment of students.

Q. India being a young nation with over a million children entering into the higher education, while limited number of jobs are available. How do you look at this challenge?
The youth should be educated in becoming job creators rather than job seekers. Job creation is a foremost challenge facing India. With a significant and unique demographic advantage, India, however, has immense potential to innovate, raise entrepreneurs and create jobs for the benefit of the nation and the world. In the recent years, a wide spectrum of new programmes and opportunities to nurture innovation have been created by the Government of India across a number of sectors.

Q. Many of the jobs that exist today are likely to become obsolete in future. How prepared are our universities to offer future skills?
The universities should look to train its students and recognise the benefits of integration of industry recognized skills with regular studies and post assessment. This will help empower our youth with skills that will help them look at entrepreneurship as an option.

Q. There is a discrimination towards private institutions. What is the reason according to you?
There is no doubt that discrimination exists when it comes to providing research funding for private institutions. However, with private institutions improving its research infrastructure at par with institutes of national importance, funding to private institutions has improved to a large extent in the last decade or so.  

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