Taranjit Singh, Managing Director, JIS Group Educational Initiatives, speaks on regulatory changes needed in India’s higher education and measures to harness demographic dividend...
Q. What are the areas in education that require immediate attention from regulatory bodies?
A. India is a ‘young country’ with over 550 million people below the age of 25 years seeking higher education. With the emergence of India as a knowledge-based economy, human capital has now become its major strength. This has put the spotlight on severe demand-supply of India’s infrastructure for delivery of education, particularly higher and vocational education. Also, due to mushrooming institutes that are coming up to ‘cater’ to this gap, there is a lack in providing quality education coupled with infrastructure. Though Government has taken several measures, some of the key areas that require attention are:
Teaching quality: The quality of a higher education degree is as good as its curriculum and the quality of the teachers. Keeping this in mind and understanding the need of the hour, universities should frame their pedagogy that makes the student’s industry-ready, nationally and globally.
Accreditation: Higher education accreditation is a type of quality assurance process by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met and thus, it is a must to keep a check that all universities are duly accredited.
Infrastructure: Properly sculpted curricula requires a state-of-the-art infrastructure as it creates an environment conducive to quality education.
Research: For the development of quality higher education, R&D should be made integral to pedagogy.
Q. India has demographic dividend over other nations. Are enough jobs available to take advantage of this?
A. As an education provider, I don’t believe that the job market is dwindling. In fact, globally the requirement of skilled and decision-making proficient manpower is on the rise. The reason we notice many so-called job limitations is due to paucity of industry-ready professionals who in turn lack the skill sets needed by today’s corporate world.
As an educational service provider, I believe it is the duty of each and every institution to not only provide quality education but also align its skill-sets to match the fast-changing industry demands through practical education and skill development. However, in the last few years, it has been seen that though India produces more engineers than China and the US combined, several reports have pointed out that India’s engineering institutes do not provide state-of-the-art skills.
Q. Many of the jobs that exist today are likely to become obsolete in future. Are our universities prepared for this?
A. As per present job market trends, innovation today is heralding change in the dynamics of workforce with a heavy emphasis on automation and efficiency. I believe that with emergence of newer career paths, all universities are maintaining or are trying to maintain a balance between the core fields while also introducing newer subjects coupled with the required skill sets.