PM of India asks for reforms in higher education

Prime Minister of India Mr. Manmohan Singh's has called for reforms in higher education, recommending higher remuneration for faculty and mandatory curricula revision every three years.

The Planning Commission has said that Government of India should look at alternatives so as to improve the wages of professors and to tap the large pool of teachers of Indian origin. It has been proposed that the faculty (including research students) can get a share of the money earned from research projects for the corporate world. The Planning Commission has also proposed that some faculty be recruited on salaries higher than government pay scales, on contract basis for five years with no assurance of automatic renewal. The contract system would be mostly for NRIs with special research funding support. Tenured appointments should also be available at a certain stage for professors achieving objectively set academic standards. In order to improve teaching methods, it recommended less “chalk-talk classroom teaching” and a more interactive tutorial-seminar system which should be practical. Addressing the criticism by the corporate world that most students coming out of the higher education system are unemployable, it recommended that universities revise curricula once in three years and the revision be open to outside peer review. The process of revision should be decentralized to departments rather than academic councils of the universities. The Government of India is aiming to bring two percent students under the scholarship fold and double the number of junior research fellowships. This is aimed at improving research quality. The Government of India is also working on information communication technology for all 367 universities and on connecting 18,000 colleges through the National Knowledge Network, as recommended by the National Knowledge Commission. The Planning Commission also said that it had given in-principle approval to the setting up of three new IITs, seven new IIMs, 20 National Institutes of Technology, five Indian Institutes of Science Education Research, 20 IIITs, two Schools of Planning and Architecture.

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