India's Universities: Command & Control Crisis?

Yes, it is surely affecting Indian universities, says Neeraj Hatekar, professor of economics, Mumbai University. "It has never worked in any sphere of life, least of all education," says Parth Shah, president, Centre for Civil Society.

Professor Hatekar and Parth Shah were participating in BoomNews's show #IndiaHangout, which was discussing a controversial move by Delhi University to roll back its 4-year graduate programme to a 3-year programme.

"The process of deciding 3-year and 4-year courses itself is a matter of concern. If you don't follow the University Grants Commission (UGC) line, funding becomes a problem," Shah said.

Professor Hatekar pointed out that universities, in-principle, are autonomous. "All we need to do is implement the legislation of autonomy properly. The problem is that appointments are done directly by politicians. The selection of vice chancellor has to be apolitical."

Shah also feels that instead of subsidising everyone, those who can afford must pay full fees. "Here is a bizzare situation: students pay Rs 4-5 lakh for Class XII and pay only Rs 5,000 for college. Those who cannot pay the fees can be subsidised."

Hatekar feels that bodies like the senate or academic council hardly get any chance to decide anything. "There is complete stagnation in Indian universities."

Shah feels there is no link between what students want and what industry wants.

Ayaz Memon, co-host of the show with Govindraj Ethiraj, had the last word: "the interest of students and the independence of colleges must be balanced."

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