Rationalising Academic Research in the Country

In a recent development, MHRD has decided to constitute a committee to drive up the research performance of academic Institutions. This is a welcome step, because as India moves in the global knowledge economy, the country will have to improve its research capacity and performance, and this can only be done by targeted and competitive research. This initiative of the MHRD will bring an end to the random disbursement and we can expect a rather selective and efficient approach in allocation of research support for academic institutions.

Chairman of the Centre’s Department of Biotechnology will head the 18-member committee that has been proposed by MHRD for this purpose. The committee will also have former heads of UGC, AICTE, and NCL. The heads of NAAC, NBA, IISc Bangalore and JNU are among other educational establishments that will be part of the committee. Some of the key objectives before the committee will be to review existing arrangement for funding of research, both core funding of research–facilities, infrastructure and project funding in academic institutions–to identify gaps and create a framework to evaluate research and rankings.

This issue of digitalLEARNING being our annual directory edition has a holistic coverage of the education space in the country. We have endeavoured to cover the views of the key academics who are engaged in providing education to our boys and girls in schools and colleges, and also the private sector companies that are revolutionising the education solutions through their new technologies and systems. Our interaction with the academia and the industry throws light on the ways by which the teaching systems are getting transformed. One key issue that emerges is the need to bridge the academiaindustry gap. Lot of efforts are being made for achieving this objective, but we need to work further on this aspect.

You will agree that in an increasingly competitive era, skills have become an important determinant. We have an interesting article on this subject, which throws light on the strategies that the industry and the institutions are adopting to provide latest skills related learning to the students. This issue of digitalLEARNING also has an insight of the higher education space. It is of interest to note that there has been a steady growth of universities in India from 343 in 2004-05 to 610 in 2012-13. And it now seems that India could soon emerge as the university capital of the world. Our large youth population is sure to benefit from the rise of so many universities.

In November we are having a Vice Chancellor’s conclave in scenic locale of Goa. Vice Chancellors from eminent institutions across the country will gather in Goa for a two-day conclave where views will be exchanged on ways by which we can have better educational outcomes in our universities. The leaders of the private sector companies that are engaged in developing solutions for education will also be there to contribute to the discussion. As education is a universal subject, the outcomes of the conclave will be applicable to all parts of the country.