HE Summit Keynote: Prof. Pental

Our education system is a bit like Karol Bagh Market (a popular and crowded market place in Delhi). There must be some wisdon to separate engineering, agricultural etc institutes separate from universities, he said. There is some wonder to this; why we have not looked at university as a comprehensive systems as in countries like USA and UK. We have 30,000 students at the PG level; about 1,50,000 at UG level. There is very little connection between the medical colleges etc. and the basic sciences of the university system. The reasons he attributes to competitive politics and perhaps a certain level of anxiety.

There are 3,00,000 open learning students with whom there is negligible interaction. Knowing well that the services sector is doing very well and most of DU’s graduates are ending up in the services sector; sometimes at the risk of contributing to the science and technology initiatives of the country.

We have 70% PhDs in our UG teaching. At the PG level, we have made significant investments. At the UG level, the problem is to teach the teachers. DU’s response is the Institute of Lifelong Learning – to create content, novel material that is state of the art. We are not leveling ourselves to the level where it can generate serious excitement in teaching in the classroom. This is where ICT can become important. Also DU’s recently introduced semester system at the UG level will improve discipline, engagement with the students and attendance. Not only that vocational training as part of the university system is an important initiative (e.g. medical transcription).

We need to learn how to scale up. We have a lot of small models that work. IT tools will be of great importance – whether through administrative tools or content.

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