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  • The Indian education system is no match for US & China - VC, SRM University

    INDIAíS higher education system might be the third largest in the world, after China and the United States, but the disparity between India and the other two leading countries is becoming a major embarrassment for us, says M. PONNAVAIKO, Vice Chancellor, SRM University.

    Speaking with a correspondent, he talks about the hurdles the confront higher education in the country and what SRM is doing to lift its standards constantly.

    The state of education in the country doesnít mirror the economic successes of the country. Except for the IITs, IIMs and a few central universities, the quality of education and research is a matter of real concern. Whatís stopping the qualitative growth of higher education in India?

    The government is responsible for the issues higher education is facing in the country.

    Just chanting slogans in favor of universal education and greater access to higher education cannot spur changes. Real work needs to be done at the grass root level. There arenít enough public universities to cater to our population.

    Privatization of higher education leaves the poor out of colleges and universities. What could be the possible solution to this glaring gap?

    The only way to make higher education accessible to all is to have a government- private partnership.

    We are a private university and run on a business model. We cannot work on full tuition fee waivers. We can provide infrastructure, quality faculty and resources, but the government has to pay the tuition fees for students who canít afford it, either as scholarships or as financial aid.

    Several foreign universities have tied up with their Indian counterparts. Will foreign presence improve the quality of higher education in the country?

    Foreign universities are welcome here, but it is naive to hope that they will bring about a dramatic change in the quality of higher education in our country. Cornell or Georgetown might set up a campus here, but would they be able to provide the same infrastructure and faculty as they have back in America? They canít do it, so donít expect much to change. Even if these foreign universities succeed in transplanting their campuses here, then the cost of the education will be too high for students from average Indian families to afford.

    What have been the various initiatives of the SRM University to improve the quality of education?

    Research is one of the top priority areas of SRM University. We have just finished recruiting 28 faculty members who have studied and worked in the US, UK and other parts of the world. Our objective is to engage in cutting- edge research that are relevant to the needs of our country.

    How do you rate Indiaís higher education sector vis-ŗ-vis other emerging economies?

    India is moving on the right track, but we have a lot of catching up to do. We need to keep pace with the rest of the world.