PM expresses concern over quality of higher education

Expressing concerns that quality of education imparted by institutions to pass-outs was nowhere near international standards, PM Manmohan Singh noted that "deficiencies and imbalances" exist in country`s higher education system.

Updated: Nov 03, 2009, 18:24 PM IST

Chandigarh: Expressing concerns that quality
of education imparted by institutions to pass-outs was nowhere
near international standards, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
noted that "deficiencies and imbalances" exist in country`s
higher education system.

"A major problem, which we face is the quality of higher
education that our institutions impart. Unfortunately, most of
them produce pass-outs, who are nowhere near international
standards," Singh said today, while addressing a gathering at
a special convocation of Panjab University here after
receiving an honorary doctorate degree in law.
He said that the issue of quality would not get addressed
by itself, even if the country meet its targets of higher
access and enrolment, spends huge amounts on higher education
and opens a large number of new institutions.

"In fact, one dimension of quality deficit is the
difficulty being faced in recruiting top class faculty for the
new IIMs, IITs, central universities and other such
institutions that the Government has decided to establish in
the last five years," he said.

He said that the Government had a mammoth task ahead
in pursuing its goal of providing access to good education to
every citizen of the country.

On the current state of higher education, he said, "At
present, in any year, only about 12 per cent of students, who
complete secondary education enrol for higher education."

"This does not at all compare well with the figure of
about 70 per cent in some developed countries. It is also much
lower than the figure of about 20 per cent in some South East
Asian countries," the Prime Minister said adding, "We must
increase this proportion."

Laying stress on addressing existing imbalances in higher
education system, Singh said that today nearly half of the
institutions of higher learning existed in only five states,
while nearly 70 per cent of the total intake capacity for
professional courses exists in another five states.
"There is a large gender gap in enrolments for higher
education and there are large intra-state imbalances too. We
must address these deficiencies," he said.

The PM said that in last five years, Centre had made
unprecedented efforts for expanding and improving educational
facilities at all levels and added, "In fact, I often refer to
the 11th five-year plan as an education plan."

Singh said that to address these problems required
structural reforms in higher education system for which the
UPA Government was fully committed.

He said that reports of National Knowledge Commission and
the Committee to advise on renovation and rejuvenation of
higher education under the chairmanship of Professor Yashpal
would provide the basis for a series of reforms that the
Government intended to undertake in the coming months.

Besides, the Centre had already taken several steps,
including introduction of semester system, choice based credit
system, merit based admission, procedures and continuous
internal evaluations.

PM honoured with a doctorate in law by Panjab University

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
was conferred with a doctorate (honoris causa) in law by the
Panjab University, his alma mater where he returned today more
than half a century after a stint there as a faculty member.
The honour was conferred upon Singh by Panjab
University Vice Chancellor R C Sobti at a special convocation
held here this evening for the purpose.

"It is always a pleasure to visit one`s alma-mater and
I am delighted to be here with you today," the Prime Minister
said addressing the gathering on the occasion.

He said he should be forgiven if he became a little
emotional as he had spent some of the best years of his life
at the university as a student and later as a faculty member.

Singh said he was "deeply indebted" to the university
as the education he received there played a major part in
whatever he achieved later in life.

"It is with great humility that I have received today`s
recognition. It is an honour that I will always cherish," he

Showering praise over the university from where he did
his post-graduation in economics in 1954 and soon became one
of its faculty members at the age of 32, the Prime Minister
said the institution had a long tradition of pursuing
excellence in teaching and research in different disciplines
and he was proud to be associated with it.

"For more than a century, it has served society with
great distinction," he said.

Bureau Report