Institutions of eminence
Prime Minister rendra Modi's centery address at the University of Pat in Bihar included the announcement of a competition to identify 20 Indian Universities that have potential to become "world class".
Offering them fincial support and unshackling them from regulations and restrictions, they will be free to develop their own roadmaps and pursue their ideas of excellence. A panel of experts will oversee the selection process.
This announcement, however, has been met by skepticism by some experts. There is some truth to these observations, but as one might expect in a country with the size of a subcontinent, the real story is a bit more different and complex.
First, while Rs 1,000 crore per institution is not a large amount as per certain intertiol standards, but it is a significant amount in India. The tiol Mission on Higher Education (the RUSA programme) of the HRD Ministry, which is working to improve the magement of hundreds of colleges and universities, is witnessing positive changes at institutions because it has given funds at the speed that can be absorbed.
Second, given the fundamental infrastructure needs of India, the Government cannot allocate the billions of dollars that underpin places like Harvard. However, through this process it can identify visiory institutions where private support would be used well.
Third, this initiative's goal is to create Institutions of Eminence - excellent universities that serve the needs of India - not "World class University" rrowly defined by intertiol rankings. Institutions of Eminence are meant to teach and do research in ways that builds a better, healthier, and more prosperous world.
Fourth, education is about human and talent development. The truly exemplary universities allows India to develop academically that can be used in the education of its people and giving freedom from relying solely on material imported from elsewhere.
Fifth, critics miss that the primary goal of the initiative is to raise aspirations. RUSA has shown that slates and universities across the country can make notable improvements. Some universities have made great leaps forward.
The institution of eminence initiative represents the highest tier of aspiration in India. While it is true that many institutions of higher learning struggles with quality, it is also the case that many graduates of Indian institutions leave to attend the most prestigious universities in the world.
The initiatives such as RUSA and the newly announced institutions of eminence scheme have the potential to begin to shift the culture of institutions from day to day magement to strategic leadership, from incremental improvement to far seeing change, from discouragement to hope. These are steps in a long journey that will support a growing cadre of universities across India from which world class universities will inevitably spring.
Satish Kumar Sarma,
Kalyanpur, Biswath Chariali
The very word 'dir' in English literature means the lowest point. The same very word can be presently associated with Assam cricket as the State team in both first class cricket and List A cricket finished the last season, which concluded recently with a taste of victory.
The margin of those defeat were quite big. This performance gives a clear picture of the standard of cricket in the State. My adopted grandson when asked to compile a sentence using the word 'dir', promptly replied "Assam Cricket team have touched dir". Definitely all is not well with ACA.
Dr Ashim Chowdhury,