Quality Concerns In Higher Education In India Education Essay

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Progress of a nation is possible only when its citizens are dynamic, enterprising and responsible. Without such citizens, a nation cannot achieve progress in any field and education is the most important tool to create such types of citizens. Higher education plays a vital role in the overall development and growth of a nation. It imparts in-depth knowledge in different ways of life. Further, it not only broadens the cerebral power of the individual within a narrow specialization but also gives a wider perspective of the world around. Higher education is no longer a luxury, it is essential for survival. The core mission of higher education is to educate, to train, to undertake research and to provide service to the community. In the context of globalization, the scope and demand for higher education is increasing day by day and this demand can only be fulfilled by the quality higher education. Quality education is the "Mantra" of present day education system whether it is elementary or higher education. The quality in higher education is the biggest need of the hour as our country is progressing towards becoming the educational hub of the world. But, Indian higher education system does not stand anywhere among the world higher education systems in terms of quality. Poor quality of higher education depends on various factors such as favorable environment for teaching and learning, infrastructure, teachers, curriculum, effective feedback and monitoring system etc. Present paper focuses its attention on the issue of quality concerns in India and factors influencing the quality of education.

Key Words: Quality, Concerns, Higher Education


Higher education is a powerful tool to build modern, value-based, knowledge based, culture based, and peaceful society which can lead the country towards becoming super power in the world. It is also considered one of the important and strong tools for the development of any country. Primary education is necessary for creating base, while, higher education is extremely important for providing cutting edge. Higher education contribute to the growth of nation by providing specialized knowledge and skill manpower.

India's higher education system is the second largest in the world, after the United States. The main governing body at the tertiary level is the University Grants Commission, which enforces its standards, advises the government, and helps coordinate between the centre and the state. Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by 12 autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission. Indian higher education system has expanded at a fast pace by adding nearly 20,000 colleges and more than 8 million students in a decade from 2000-01 to 2010-11. As of 2011, India has 42 central universities, 275 state universities, 130 deemed universities, 90 private universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 33 Institutes of National Importance. Other institutions include 33,000 colleges as Government Degree Colleges and Private Degree Colleges, including 1800 exclusive women's colleges, functioning under these universities and institutions as reported by the UGC in 2012. The emphasis in the tertiary level of education lies on science and technology. Indian educational institutions by 2004 consisted of a large number of technology institutes. Distance learning and open education is also a feature of the Indian higher education system, and is looked after by the Distance Education Council. Indira Gandhi National Open University is the largest university in the world by number of students, having approximately 3.5 million students across the globe.

But in spite of all these developments and growth, quality of higher education remained the main concern for all the stakeholders in the education system i.e. students, parents, institution management, faculty members, policy makers and society as a whole because poor quality of higher education effects the overall progress of any nation. Indian higher education is far away from the global educational standard. India is nowhere in the recently released (year 2011) world universities rankings. India doesn't figure in world to 100 universities. The three rankings - Times Higher Education world University Rankings, Academic rankings of world universities compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and QS World University Rankings - are just out and none of our prestigious institutions of learning like the IITs and the IIMs make it to the top-200. While overall, US universities dominate all three rankings with its Harvard and Princeton, most of the other countries are ahead of India, including Thailand. IIT Bombay finds itself at the 225th position far beyond of 187th position in 2010, IIT Delhi is on 218th position and IIT Madras is on 281st position in the QS rankings. These data represents that Indian higher education does not stand anywhere among the world higher education institutions with respect to quality.

Meaning of Quality in Education:

The quality in education need to be defined in the wider sense of the overall aim of education as the all round development of the individual and his commitment to social objectives; and viewed in this context, there is no doubt that vigorous efforts will have to be made to improve these to suit the changing needs of the country. It has become increasingly evident that the relevance of education, its significance, its validity for personal aspiration, its link with societal needs and goals, its efficiency and impact are the basic parameters of every educational system.

Quality in education can also be interpreted from a different viewpoint; it means educational standards are judged from examination results. An educational institution that shows high pass percentage is considered to be an institute of great quality.

Concern for the Quality of Higher Education:

India needs multi-dimensional and broad-based quality education to maintain its leadership in the 21st century, therefore India should show the concern over the quality in education as the education in India is not competitive in terms of the quantity and quality with other countries. Quality in higher education is a burning issue which can be ensured through regular review of the function of the institutions either through self assessment or through outside agencies and by accrediting the institutions. The expansion of higher education over the years has also resulted in educational malpractices, which exist in the form of capitation fees being charged by the private institutions at the time of admissions in addition to the fees. The entry of large number of private institutions has also resulted in rapid increase in proceedings involving students, teachers, employees, management of higher educational institutions and universities and other stakeholders negatively impacts the quality of education and efficient function of the institutions. Also there has been spurt in activities of Foreign Educational Institutions operating in India since mid 1990s. While some of them are resorting to various mal-practices to appeal and attract students, particularly in smaller cities and towns. Many of these institutions have come up since there is yet neither a centralized policy nor the regulatory regime.

University Education Commission (1948-49) rightly felt the uneasy sense of the inadequacy of the higher education system particularly in terms of quality and standards. Reiterating the importance of quality in higher education and its sustainability, the Kothari Commission in (1964-66) remarked that "the situation of higher education was unsatisfactory and even alarming in some ways that the average standards have been falling and rapid expansion has resulted in lowering quality". We have to therefore, gear up the machinery of higher education to fulfill the aspirations of people and be conscious towards quality maintenance as well as its role to elevate the country to new heights. In his message, Dr. Radhakrishnan communicates "there is need for change in the perception and attitude of universities realizing that their field is wider, task is greater and goal is higher in building a strong and happy India." The universities are not merely places of conferring degrees and distinctions. They besides being places of learning, also centers of service and wholesome development of human personality of men and women turning them into fine human beings. This will demand for quality education at higher education level.

India needs to emphasize on quality education and following key issues for improving the quality of higher education in India:

Fig. 1, Key Issues in improving Quality of higher education in India

Factors Influencing Quality in Higher Education:

Quality in education depends on several factors. A few of them include:

Politicization: Politicization of higher education has posed a serious threat to the quality of higher education. Appointment of Vice-chancellors in many instances is being viewed politically. The challenge of education document indicated that depoliticization is not an early acceptable condition for the political parties in the country. (Min. of Education, 1985, p. 75)"

Poor quality of intake: In order to attract students for admission, the colleges go on awarding high grades/marks to undeserving candidates. The colleges/university departments admitting students on the basis of career marks get cheated in many situations and thus get poor quality of students.

Managerial Inefficiency: generally, principals are appointed basing on the seniority and the managerial efficiency is not taken into account. There is no regular orientation programme for newly appointed principals. It affects the quality of education as they don't have the influential managerial skills.

Overcrowded Classrooms: lack of adequate number of teachers and classrooms force many colleges to reduce their number of groups and merge them into larger groups making it possible for a teacher to carry out effective classroom interaction.

Inadequate Student Services: Most of the higher education institutions today are not capable enough to provide services like conducting orientation programmes, health services, hostel facilities, guidance and counseling services to the students.

Inadequate material resources: Most of the higher education institutions at present does not have proper material resources like building, play ground, good number of classrooms, infrastructure, laboratory with sufficient equipments, toilet facility, and staffrooms.

Non- accountability of institutions: Non-accountability of the institutions leads to the poor quality in higher education.

Inefficiency in Teaching: An effective teacher needs to be lifelong learner and need to strengthen his knowledge voluntarily. A good institution is known by its teachers. The institution should be supplied with various journals and good library facility which will energize the teachers' proficiency and competency.

Fig. 2, Factors Influencing Quality in Higher Education

Examination Reforms: Reforms in the examination system is the most common phenomenon in the recent past. Most of the researchers and academians are not satisfied with the present examination system. It may be true for years because the pitfalls in the evaluation system make the examination system ruin. The evaluation is not reliable. This can be changed by using the new methods of grading system and other various innovative methods.

Teaching Methods: the curriculum framework should be such a way that it should provide new knowledge which is useful to the society and also provide the employability opportunities. The teachers should use qualitative teaching learning material and also aware of use of multimedia, IT and OHP.

There are other factors also which are affecting the quality of higher education such as motivation of the teachers and students, favorable environment for teaching-learning process, irrelevance of the curriculum leading towards the low employability etc. which needs to be improved for enhancing the quality of higher education in India.


Thus it can be concluded that education is the key to the progress especially higher education which provides the cutting edge and skilled manpower. But, quality of higher education is declining and is a matter of concern for all the stakeholders as well as for the whole nation. Indian higher education has expanded in quantity but lacking behind in terms of quality. India cannot progress until it higher education system is qualitatively strong enough because this poor quality is resulting in low employability, low performance of the specialized individuals, lack of innovative and creative ideas etc. which are the key elements of success and progress in present time. In all, there is a need to enlarge the adaptive capacity and quality of the higher education system so that it is more responsive to the changing world of work and meets the diversified needs of economy - both domestic and global. For that purpose diversification of the Indian higher education and training system has to be pursued as a goal. This can be achieved by having a proper mix of public and private, formal and non-formal institutions. Special initiatives are required to enhance employability. Curriculum and content has to be continually renewed through Teaching and Learning Support Networks and specific skill development network may be set up. Collection of data on job market trends, its analysis and dissemination is important. Drawbacks mentioned above need to be transformed into the strength of the Indian higher education system but this can only be done with the strong willpower, determination and readiness to change.


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