It’s that time of the year when lakhs of students go through an agonizing wait to know how much they scored in their board exams. And like every year, we hear of some impossible, out of the world scores. STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) have always remained the top preferences for Indian students and 2019 will see no exception. According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), more Indian students are now going abroad to pursue higher education. In fact, spending on tuition and hostel fees by Indians studying overseas has gone up by 44 percent from $1.9 billion in 2013-14 to $2.8 billion in 2017-18.
But for Sneha Jessica, who cleared her 12th STD exams with a distinction from a popular college in Bangalore, it seemed like she kept hearing the best of the education facilities of what one receives abroad in India. Jessica who feels it’s a waste of money to travel abroad for higher education says, “While abroad remains a key destination for higher education, we see that Indian higher education is no way lesser today. In fact, all famous entrepreneurs did their higher education from India went on to make big names, worldwide.”
So how is India coping up to join the ranks of world-class universities and especially convince scores of students favoring higher education, abroad? India has been and continues to be home to innovation, creativity and leadership. As Jessica rightly put, the strength of India’s education system may be gauged from the fact that the world’s leading companies are being helmed by products of Indian education system such as Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft an alumni of Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google Inc studied at Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, Ajaypal Singh Banga President and the CEO, MasterCard has a degree from St Stephen’s College, Delhi University, Rajeev Suri, CEO of Nokia has studied in Manipal Academy of Higher Education and Indira Nooyi, Former CEO of PepsiCo is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta.
Engineering remains the most preferred course in India after Class-12 given the vast prospects it offers and IIT’s and NIT’s continue to be the premier public institutes to pursue engineering for its latest add- ons. For instance, Jindal Stainless, of the largest stainless steel manufacturers in India has tied-up with IIT Kharagpur to introduce a 3-credit course on stainless steel and advanced ferrous alloys as a part of the institute’s undergraduate and post-graduate curriculum in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. The course will comprise the study of stainless steel and the uniqueness of its various grades, behavioral and forming characteristics, and determination of life-cycle cost.
However, there are many private engineering colleges today, which also provide quality education. Like for example, to address the growing need of engineering talent with skills in digital technology, TCS, in partnership with leading academicians across India, has designed a curriculum for 4 years undergraduate program on Computer Science titled “Computer Science and Business Systems (CSBS). This curriculum aims to ensure that the students graduating from the program not only know the core topics of Computer Science but also develop an equal appreciation of humanities, management sciences and human values. The students are also exposed to emerging topics such as Analytics, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things etc., to make them industry ready at the end of four years of study. The CSBS program is now available in most of the top Indian universities.
With the ongoing fourth industrial revolution and rapid progress in automation, machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence), traditional job roles are evolving and new jobs are coming up. In line with the changing times, modern employers are now lookout for people who are skilled in these specialised fields. Thus, the Indian universities are carefully crafting courses that will help students to fetch the right jobs in the future. This could also be one of the reasons why many foreign students are applying for Indian universities. For example, Symbiosis International, set up over four decades back with the main goal of attracting overseas students, now hosts over 2,000 foreign students from over 80 countries, for its wide-ranging courses.
In recent news, UK’s Queen’s University has signed an agreement with Tezpur University in Assam to offer joint PhDs. Scholars can visit Queen’s University for research for a maximum of two semesters. The university is also exploring partnerships with Indian corporates and other universities. With several universities in India tying up with industrial bodies make their curriculum more relevant to today’s jobs; the students in India are just getting lucky! When it comes to law, National Law School of India University, Bangalore has been the go-to university for law aspirants.
What drives the students most is how the college has 100% placement records with average salary packages around 12-15 lacs per annum, except for those who opt for further studies. It’s the same with other universities such as National University of Law, Hyderabad and WB National University of juridical sciences, Kolkata, to name a few.
Today, the Indian universities are also catering to the rising demand of students opting for the architecture courses. CEPT University through its teaching programs aims to build thoughtful professionals and its research programs deepen understanding of human settlements. Through its education, research and advisory activities, CEPT also strives to improve the impact of habitat professions in enriching the lives of people in India’s villages, towns and cities.
Few ‘elite’ private universities such as O.P. Jindal, Azim Premji, Ashoka, Shiv Nadar, Ahmedabad, and the management institute Indian School of Business have adopted different strategies; for instance, ranging from attracting foreign nationals, to Indians who studied at prestigious foreign universities to their institutions by offering higher salaries and other benefits that are available to local hires. The faculty diversity of O.P. Jindal Global University, for example, stands out among these with 71 full-time foreign faculty from 32 countries. The key motivation for hiring foreign faculty at all these institutions is to improve international competitiveness and secure positions in global rankings, which in turn would also attract more motivated students.
Thus, the Indian institutions today are enhancing with best practices from around the world to retain not just the Indian students but also to welcome scores of foreign students. Which is why the Government of India and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) have rolled out key reform initiatives to boost the global rankings of Indian universities and boost the country’s learning systems. MHRD has stated that as part of the reform initiatives, research and innovation would remain the key parameter while assessing the performance ratings of HEIs.
In order to upgrade the credentials of Indian HEIs and bring them on par with global standards, the NIRF has recommended the establishment of clear parameters which lay the onus on faculty qualifications and experience, the quality of their publications, patents and projects with industry and university results. The parameters would also encompass key focus areas like the mobility of students to high ranking universities across the globe, placements, quality of placements and perception of the institution in the minds of concerned stakeholders including employers. Universities will also be required to design curriculums wherein 50% of the syllabi will emphasise experiential and hands-on learning. Teaching-learning processes will be made more interactive with the increased use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Are you already falling in love with an Indian University? Don’t worry, you are safe!
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