Ancient India had the concept of global education with universities like Takshashila in 800 B.C., the world’s first global university, now in Rawalpindi district of Pakistan. India is a nation now with 1.3 billion people and it should be able to contribute to the global education system by creating educational institutes with internationally recognised standards. Our goal should be that 25 percent of our institutes figure among the top 100 institutes of the world. We need to have much more research as our global research output is 3.5 percent. This can be achieved by taking advantages of platforms such as scholarly websites, by both faculty and students. All stakeholders such as innovators, entrepreneurs, designers, thinkers and academicians need to work together for overall progress of the nation.
Our aim should be to enhance the skills and knowledge of both faculty as well as students. Dr Radhakishnan chaired the first education commission after independence, also called as university education commission, which was set up for improvement of university and technical education. According to this commission, which was constituted in 1948, the major aim of our education system should be to enhance leadership training, social efficiency, development of knowledge and wisdom, higher values of life and cultural progress. The demand of today is to incorporate multidisciplinary topics such as artificial intelligence in various courses as 75 percent of the jobs are supposed to use AI in some form. This will pave the way for new jobs and enhance the employability of our engineers, since only 38 percent of engineers are employable according to the latest reports by National Association of Software and Services Companies.
Higher education institutes have contributed immensely in various missions such as Swacha Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India, Digital India, Make in India, Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, Smart Cities, Start-up India and ATAL Academy online FDPs. Education is an important tool and faculty members are the torch bearers and role models for students. In order to secure the future of the student community, it is imperative to train the teachers in the best way. For enhancing quality and excellence of overall education system, which comprises more than forty-five thousand higher education institutions and fourteen lakh faculty members, faculty development programmes can play a pivotal role. I remember Dr Radhakrishnan saying that the best minds should select teaching as their profession and they must upgrade their knowledge and teaching skills regularly.
With advanced technology, classroom-based education has been transformed to a globally connected interactive process. Teachers must increase their subject knowledge, inculcate creativity, improve pedagogical, analytic and evaluation skills, and capacity to learn to manage classroom situations and to improve student learning. Accreditation, assessment and regulation contribute to quality of higher education. Quality provisions can only be strengthened by the combined efforts of government and nongovernment organisations, councils of higher education, student bodies and academic staff. There is a paradigm shift needed for planning ahead in the field of higher education in which access and quality assurance is the central part of the planning. The aim is to accredit more than eight-hundred universities, thirty-three thousand plus growing colleges, three-thousand five-hundred engineering colleges and three-thousand five-hundred MBA institutions through NAAC and NBA.
Concluding this article with a famous Sanskrit prayer:
Asato ma sadgamaya (From ignorance, lead me to truth)
Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya (From darkness, lead me to light)
Mrtyorma amrtam gamaya (From death, lead me to immortality)
The writer is Principal, SSM College of Engineering. [email protected]