The University Grants Commission (UGC) of India has made news recently by ordering the closure of Pearl Academy, a popular fashion school with more than 4000 students, because they were offering foreign degrees, from UK's Nottingham Trent University, illegally.
While some people would see this as an attempt to clamp down on Foreign Education in India, and make Indian Higher Education, already quite parochial, more inward-looking, this particular development may not signify any of that. While the closure of Pearl Academy would make news, especially because it is owned by the global education conglomerate, Laureate Education (something that the Indian media seemed to have overlooked, with some effort presumably), the UGC has been showing teeth and enforcing regulation for some time now.
The infamous IIPM, which operated without any license for years and offered an MBA, Masters Diploma in Business Management, to thousands of students, as well as running the equivalent of an educational ponzi scheme by guaranteeing employment of its students using a part of the fees they paid, was closed down recently, as was Mewar University last year for giving out foreign degrees without authorisation. The Indian approach to Foreign Higher Education, which was defined by legislative inaction to create any clear frameworks coupled to loose enforcement allowing a free-for-all regime, is now showing signs of change - both in terms of efforts to roll out clear guideline for foreign collaborations and an activist approach to enforcement.
It would indeed be a mistake to expect that the Indian Government, with its strong Hindu Nationalist ideology, would necessarily be very open and welcoming to Foreign Education. We know that the Indian HRD Ministry has been interfering even in supposedly autonomous institutions, either by decree, or through key appointments (in some cases, by overturning the decisions of the governing boards), or by implicitly endorsing demands of student unions affiliated to the Hindu Nationalist cause. India also instituted its own Higher Education ranking mechanism and implicitly rejected the notion that its universities need to compete for global rankings (which may indeed be seen as a defencive move as its universities usually do so poorly, especially compared with other Asian nations).
However, at the same time, one should be aware that this Government has been quite keen on foreign investment, particularly in manufacturing and technology, and has been open to foreign technical education in the country. A less reported, but perhaps more significant, move is the recent proposal to reform Professional Education sectors, such as Accountancy, Company Secretaryship and Medicine, by creating independent regulators for each of these areas instead of the current catch-all institutions such as Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) or Indian Medical Association (IMA), which are both professional bodies and sector regulators themselves. One way of looking at it is that the government is creating a bureaucratic layer and moving away from professional self-regulation. However, given that these bodies have manifestly failed to modernise the sectors they are responsible for, and have been known for corruption and incompetence (particularly the IMA, whose ex-President was caught taking bribes for granting expansion of seat capacity of a medical college), the Government move is unsurprising. The stated reason for the move, to create diversity in the sector and for development of an export-facing service economy in India, point to greater openness to foreign professional bodies and qualifications.
I would argue that there is no apparent conflict between the moves to close Pearl Academy and the new openness to global education. What Pearl Academy was able to do was clearly illegal - it was a private training institution offering a foreign degree - and it was just loose enforcement that kept it going for so long. There are people who would argue that poor countries do not have the 'right' to regulate their own Higher Education sectors - and indeed this is what is being pushed in many African countries, which have become a free-for-all for American For-profit operations - but that kind of anarchy, as previous experiences in India would show, does not necessarily enhance quality or access to Higher Education. There may some players with good intentions, but that kind of setting, where no norms are sacrosanct, usually create 'markets for lemons', where frauds and charlatans thrive - and drive out honest operators. The lack of enforcement is not of interest of anyone, including For-Profit providers trying to offer World Class education (in fact, it creates a disincentive for good education).
I am therefore cautiously optimistic about Foreign Education in India. India needs to be open to global Education, and given the demography, the time to act on it is now. The new guidelines should make it easier for Indian universities to establish partnerships and collaborations, and hopefully the New Education Policy, due later this year or early 2017, would establish clearer frameworks for Foreign institutions to operate in India. Together with the reform of the Professional Education sector, and good enforcement, this should create incentives for legitimate foreign institutions to create partnerships or even campuses in India. Indeed, there is much to be done - the current bureaucratic, punitive, regulatory structure is hardly the way to go to create a dynamic world-ready Higher Education sector, but it seems that the basics - frameworks and enforcement mechanisms - are being worked upon now.
Popular posts from this blog
A friend has recently forwarded me a quote from Lord Macaulay's speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the quote below: "I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation." The email requested me to forward me to every indian I know. I was tempted, but there were two oddities about this quote. First, the language, which
Introduction : The Business of Gift Giving Business gift giving has always been common and contentious at the same time. Business gifts are usually seen as an ‘advertising, sales promotion and marketing communication medium’ (Cooper et al , 1991). Arunthanes et al (1994) points out that such gifting is practised usually for three reasons: (a) in appreciation for past client relationships, placing a new order, referrals to other clients, etc.; (b) in the hopes of creating a positive, first impression which might help to establish an initial business relationship; and (c) giving may be perceived as a quid Pro quo (i.e. returning a favour or expecting a favour in return for something). The practitioners of gift-giving generally argue that doing business is often an aggregation of personal interactions and relationships, and gift-giving should be seen as a natural way of maintaining and enhancing these relationships. ‘Business gifts, especially one given in the course of the festive s
Buzzwords have disadvantages. Right now, experiential learning is one, and that means we put the label on everything and it stops to mean anything. Also, this means reasonable conversation about experiential learning becomes difficult - at times such as this, either you preach experiential learning or you are traditional, antiquarian and hopelessly out of touch. But, overlooking the limitations of experiential learning can cause big problems. Experiential Learning does many things - putting practice at the heart of learning is an important paradigm shift - but not everything, and it is important to be aware what it does not do. Usually, we equate the terms Project-based Learning (the method) with Experiential Learning (the idea) and Learning from Experience (the ideal), treating them as one and the same and using the terms interchangeably. Any talk about distinctive meaning of these terms is usually seen as pedantic, but really represent very different ideas about education.
Today, Helen Goddard, 26, a highly popular music teacher of a City School for Girls, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Her crime was to carry out a year long lesbian affair with one of her pupils, who appeared in the court and admitted that the affair was consensual and it was she who pressured Helen into the affair. For Helen, a bright musician and a devout Chistian, this is an extraordinary lapse of judgement. Also, she was teaching in the £13,000 private girls only school in London. She was surely aware what the consequences of her action will be. The fact that she still could not stop herself tells us that lovers do not always act rationally, something we always knew. There is more in this affair than personal tragedies. For a start, this has all the dramatic elements: a bright, beautiful teacher more in Julia Roberts mould [as in Mona Lisa Smile], a stiff upper lip school [not unlike Wellesley] and a story like Notes On A Scandal with an added twist. Indeed, Helen
In most societies today, making profits are accepted as moral, if not especially praiseworthy. This was not as obvious as it appears today – people used to be embarrassed about making a profit not so long ago. Crazy as it seems today, it is worth thinking why it was so. Profits, as economists will put it, is the reward for risk-taking, for putting a business enterprise together in the pursuit of an objective. In this definition, remember, profits are not what it is commonly understood to be – the gross middle-line towards the bottom – but a figure net of entrepreneur’s earning [wages for his labour], dividends and interests on borrowed capital, and provisions for building and other physical assets [a sort of rent, offsetting what these assets could have earned if leased out]. This pure profit – surplus – accrues to a business as a reward to its organisation, for the act of entrepreneurship itself. Economists were divided on how this surplus comes about. The conventional wisdom was,
There is no other city like Kolkata for me: It is Home. The only city where I don't have to find a reason to go to, or to love. It is one city hardwired into my identity, and despite being away for a decade, that refuses to go away. People stay away from their homeland for a variety of reasons. But, as I have come to feel, no one can be completely happy to be away. One may find fame or fortune, love and learning, in another land, but they always live an incomplete life. They bring home broken bits of their homeland into their awkward daily existence, a cushion somewhere, a broken conversation in mother tongue some other time, always rediscovering the land they left behind for that brief moment of wanting to be themselves. The cruelest punishment, therefore, for a man who lives abroad is when his love for his land is denied. It is indeed often denied, because the pursuit of work, knowledge or love seemed to have gotten priority over the attraction of the land. This is particularly
Introduction: Hastings in the history of Indian Education Whether or not one includes Warren Hastings in the history of Education in India is a matter of perspective. If writing the history of education means writing the history of schools, the impact of Hastings' administration would be quite limited. If anything, the rapid implosion of local rulers in Eastern, Southern and Northern India during Hastings' tenure had meant a bleak period for the indigenous education system, as patronage and funds would have dwindled away for many of them. The Company administration really concerned itself with the schooling of the natives only after 1813, as Nurullah and Naik rightly pointed out ( see my earlier post ) and one can legitimately start the story at this point. However, if history of Education in India is to encompass the transformation of Indian Scholarship, on which foundation the new, colonial, system of Education would be built, the story must start with Warren Hast
Introduction Erna Petri née Kürbs, a farmer’s daughter from Herressen in Thuringia, arrived in Ukraine with her three year old son to join her husband Horst in June 1942. Horst, an SS leader inspired by Nazi ideologue Dr Richard Walter Darré, settled in the plantation of Grzenda, just outside today’s Lviv, to become a German Gentleman-Farmer. Erna saw Horst beating and abusing the workers in the plantation within two days of arriving there, which was, as Horst explained, necessary for establishing authority. Erna joined in enthusiastically, settling into a combination of roles of ‘plantation mistress, prairie Madonna in apron-covered dress lording over slave labourers, infant-carrying, gun-wielding Hausfrau.’  However, there were clear rules in the plantation, and Erna was very much expected to play the woman’s role of being a Cake-and-Coffee hostess. When four Jews were caught in the estate while trying to escape from a transport to a death camp, Horst told Erna and her female
I wrote a note on Kolkata, the city I come from and would always belong to, in July 2010. Since then, the post attracted many visitors and comments, mostly critical, as most people, including those from Kolkata, couldn't see any future for the city. My current effort, some 18 months down the line, is also prompted by a recent article in The Economist, The City That Got Left Behind , which echo the pessimism somewhat. I, at least emotionally, disagree to all the pessimism: After all Kolkata is home and I live in the hope of an eventual return. Indeed, some change has happened since I wrote my earlier post: The geriatric Leftist government that ruled the state for more than 30 years was summarily dispatched, and was replaced by a lumpen-capitalist populist government. Kolkata looked without a future with the clueless leftists at the helm; it now looks without hope. However, apart from bad governance, there is no reason why Kolkata had to be poor and hopeless. It sits right
The ‘Why’ Question? Adolf Hitler was appointed the German Chancellor by President Von Hindenburg on 30th January 1933. This was an extraordinary turn of events. Previously, President Von Hindenburg consistently refused to appoint Hitler the Chancellor, despite the impressive electoral performance of NSDAP in July 1932, Hitler’s uncompromising demand of the Chancellor’s post and a repeat election in November 1932 which failed to break the deadlock. Explaining his refusal, Hindenburg wrote in a letter on 24th November, “a presidential cabinet led by you would develop necessarily into a party dictatorship with all its consequences for an extraordinary accentuation of the conflicts in the German people.” The question ‘why’ Hitler was appointed Chancellor, despite the President being acutely aware of what might follow, is therefore a significant one. The NSDAP had election successes throughout 1932, and was already the biggest single party in the Reichstag and various Landtags acros
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.