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Shubhendu Parth

Managing Editor, digital LEARNING

Making of a knowledge superpower Linking student data to UID will yield a goldmine of insights for MHRD, for educational policy making and regulation

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he education sector in India, particularly the higher education segment, is going through a very exciting phase. Not just is investment pouring in, the country’s ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is driving major policy changes that would have a long term impact on the overall education sector in years to come. Sample this: While HRD minister Kapil Sibal recently indicated that India’s higher education enrolment will move up to 4.4 crore from the current 1.4 crore by 2020, a Ernst & YoungFICCI report suggests that the segment will grow nearly 13% annually during this period. The report also predicts that India’s higher education spend that is currently pegged at `46,200 crore, would grow at an average rate of 12.8% to cross `150,000 crore in the next 10 years. It also highlights that the country’s higher education system has the highest institution to student ratio—25,951 institutions for 1.36 crore students. Compare this with the world’s other two largest nations and we are in for a mega surprise; the US has just 6,700 institutions for over 1.78 crore stu-

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dents, while China has 4,000 higher education institutes that serve the needs of its 2.53 crore students. Interestingly, experts suggest that India still needs to set up 1,000 more universities to meet the needs of three crore students that it expects to enrol over the next decade. Going by the existing interest of private sector investments in the segment, and the doubts raised by the Centre itself in the case of the 44 “deemeed universities” earlier this year, the nation needs to put in place a stringent mechanism to monitor the performance of these institutions. The good news is that MHRD has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to bring in school children in its ambit and track their progress at every stage. While the primary objective of this arrangement is to make Aadhar number an identifier on all performance records—from mark sheets and merit certificates, to migration certificates—and help prospective employers and educational institutions to avoid fakes, the initiative will also enable the government

to create a strong tracking mechanism once these students join higher education institutions. In fact, smart data mining and analysis will also help the MHRD map the performance of each of these institutions—in terms of how their pass outs are getting placed and where, the specialisation and trends in each of these organisations—parameters that could help a central agency grade these institutes. The MoU will also help the government track dropouts and out-of-school children, and will be helpful in tracking the progress of underprivileged children as they are admitted through right to education. The initiative assumes further significance with the introduction of the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) that aims to change the existing examination system in schools, to a more holistic process-driven monitoring system that includes both summative and formative assessments. Link all these data to a central manpower repository, map it using a GIS platform and the country is on its way to set up a powerful human resources planning tool. \\

digitalLEARNING-Dec-2010-[50]-Making of a Knowledge Superpower-Shubhendu Parth  

Linking student data to UID will yield a goldmine of insights for MHRD, for educational policy making and regulation Shubhendu Parth Managin...