HE cannot be separated from other types of education. The challenge is to provide firstly, access (GER – Gross Enrolment Ratio – is 12% of 18-24 age group, world average is 23%); secondly, the quality of teaching learning is a bottleneck – if it improves, the GER will go up – this will improve by enhancing the domain knowledge of the teacher; technology cannot teach, teachers can. We must provide the appreciation and knowledge of ICT but also provide the best content. Pedagogy is important and it is important to focus on Technology enabled teaching and learning.
Teacher training has become very important for pre-service and in-service teachers as well as contiunuous enhancement right from KG to HE. ICT@Schools and National Mission on Education are two important initiatives. National Knowledge network is also getting funded now.
According to NASSCOM, only 25% engineers are rated employable. How can we link in an emphasis to Vocational Education – this needs to be looked at. Only 5% of our workforce has a skill based certification. There are 230,000 VETS in the country.
HE cannot function without a strong research program. Funds are being pushed into scholarships and research programmes to support our PhDs and HE scholars. There is, to an extent, some dilution in research at the HE level. We need more stringent quality definitions and criteria for promotion and advancement.