Why Am I Optimistic About New Universities in India?
However, it would be wrong to assume that vocationalism in Indian Higher Education is a private university problem: It was part of the origin story of modern Indian Higher Education, and even in Independent India, Higher Education was never slated to take the responsibility of making citizens (as in the United States). It is only now that a conversation about Indianness is focusing minds on what role the universities should play, though this conversation, at least so far, is conducted in a tone and style unwelcoming to critical enquiry and new thinking. However, such conversations open the possibility, even if it is just a possibility, of new thinking and new models.
The big opportunity in India, in the next decades, will be in the domestic market, as the reform programmes such as value-added taxation, infrastructure building and rapid expansion of digital services (India has added 100 million new Internet users in the last 12 months) would create many entrepreneurial and job opportunities. This would need a new imagination, which the narrowly focused schools, living in a bubble of testing and campus placements, sorely lack. And, surely an M Sc in Innovation from a school which don't want to break the mould and don't want to commit itself to anything new is a clear non-starter. This is where the big change indeed is: The new universities emerging in India are looking at the Post-IT world more intently than the previous generation of the universities, and they are taking on the challenge of innovation more willingly than their predecessors.