Contents EDU march 2010
Volume 01 | Issue 05
UPDATES 06 07 08 09
Academics AT A GLANCE Partnership technology Expansion Initiative approved Voices
24 Rahul choudaha Realising the vision of world-class universities 36 Dheeraj Sanghi Summer schools for internship madness 38 Rishikesha T. Krishnan Sophisticated collaborations between industry and academia are needed 58 Ganesh Natarajan Will the education Bill change the Indian higher education scenario?
60 Ramdas Pai His mantra; hard work and administrative honesty By R. Giridhar
â€œProvided that there are no separate rules, I would be happy to have foreign varsities here...â€?
54 storage New applications, teaching methods make smart storage necessary By Pragya Singh
Edu Tech March 2010
India are coping with challenges of recruitment and retention of faculty By Smita Tripathi
By Navneet Anand & Smita Polite
30 flooring Flooring solutions for Indian colleges and universities form a small, but growing market By Nupur Chaturvedi
48 Recruiting & Retention Educational institutions in
12 NEW NALANDAS Will the plan to build new centres of academic excellence set new standards for Indian higher education?
62 Books Review: n Aligning Faculty Rewards with Institutional Mission New Releases: n DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education
FOR LEADERS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Managing Director: Dr. Pramath Raj Sinha publishing director: Vikas Gupta Printer & Publisher: Kanak Ghosh Group Editor: R Giridhar Consulting Editor: Aman Singh Assistant Editor: Smita Polite editorial advisor: Dr RK Suri international contributor: Vinita Belani Assistant features Editor: Rohini Banerjee DEsign Sr Creative Director: Jayan K Narayanan Art Director: Binesh Sreedharan Associate Art Director: Anil VK Manager Design: Chander Shekhar Sr Visualisers: PC Anoop, Santosh Kushwaha Sr Designers: TR Prasanth & Anil T
DIALOguE 18 Looking Ahead Furqan Qamar, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Himachal Pradesh
26 Innovate Or Die
Ernest J. Wilson, Dean of Annenberg School, talks of media’s role in today’s world By Aman Singh
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20 Advantage Koraput Surabhi Banerjee, Vice Chancellor, University of Orissa
ADVERTISER INDEX MICROSOFT COVER FLAP Dell
n Choosing Web 2.0 Tools for
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FOR LEADERS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Will the plan to build centres of academic excellence
U tIt ns n
7 InD IA
eCHnoLoGY Ft n
tUtes o nstI Ft nI eC
ErnEst J Wilson “You EitHEr innoVatE, or You DiE” P26
raMDas Pai’s Mantra of “HarD Work, HonEstY” P60
grounD BEnEatH tHE fEEt talk on flooring trEnDsP30
set new standards for Indian higher education?
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March 2010 Edu Tech
FOREWORD Will the Centers’ bold plan pass the test?
T why are we not first addressing the neglect of our existing universities and institutions before we launch new ones?
o boost quality and capacity of the Indian higher education, the Centre has embarked on an ambitious project to launch a number of high-quality centres of learning in a phase-wise manner. We call it ambitious because plans are on the anvil to build eight Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), seven Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), fourteen worldclass universities (read: innovation universities), and sixteen central universities. Not a simple task! Though the plan has generated interest, no one is really sure where the projects stand today or where they are headed. A closer look reveals that while some of these central universities, IITs and IIMs were indeed underway, the concept of innovation universities, though very exciting, is still on paper. As usual, this ambitious revamp of our education system has stirred up debate among academics and educational administrators. The biggest of them centres on whether we are giving up on the old in favour of the new—why are we not first addressing the neglect of our existing universities and institutions before we launch new ones? It is a fact that some of our older institutes are struggling to cope with the pressure of maintaining quality. The new plan puts on them the added burden of incubating and mentoring the proposed centres. Will they be able to cope? Finally, the huge challenge—resource and infrastructure. Admittedly, the Centre has taken care of the financial bit by allocating funds. But the bigger problem is finding enough faculty. Even as established institutions struggle to find good teachers and face a growing faculty shortage, where do we get academics to teach at these forty-five new institutions? India needs many, more institutions. The Government’s overall plans are bold but need to be followed by more systemic changes that will address issues of faculty shortage, decline of our existing institution, etc., at the next level as well.
Dr Pramath Raj Sinha firstname.lastname@example.org
Edu Tech March 2010
Edu Tech December 2009
at a glance 06 academics 07 partnership 08 Expansion 0 8 i n i t i at i v e 0 9 a p p rov e d
0 9 vo i c e s
Mallya foray After liquor, aviation and sports, Vijay Mallya may soon try his hand in the education sector. The business tycoon recently expressed interest in IMT’s third campus, which is being planned in Hyderabad. IMT currently has two centres in Ghaziabad and Nagpur. IMT’s promoter Kamal Nath is also its current president and has confirmed Mallya’s interest. The institute’s Hyderabad campus is slated to begin operations from 2011 and will serve about 400 students.
Cabinet nod to overseas varsity Bill
Wipro chief Azim Premji
Karnataka Nod To Private Varsity Promoted by Wipro chief Azim Premji, the institution will reserve 25 percent seats for state students and faculty
arly March, the Karnataka Legislative Council passed the Azim Premji University Bill-2010, paving the way for the first private university in the state. The Assembly passed the amended Bill by voice vote on March 12. Allaying apprehensions raised by the Opposition, state higher education minister Aravind Limbavali said it was introduced after it was extensive evaluation and verification with the University Grants Commission guidelines. “According to provisions, the governor has the authority to seek any file from the university, and the government can intervene in the event of any malpractice or dispute,” Limbavali told the lawmakers. He also assured the House that the proposed university, promoted by Wipro Chief Azim Premji, would reserve 25 percent of seats for students and teaching faculty from the state. Limbavali stressed that the institution would provide training in conformity with global standards.
Edu Tech March 2010
The Union cabinet has cleared a Bill that will enable foreign educational institutions to set up campuses in India. “This is a milestone which will enhance choices, increase competition, and benchmark quality,” said human resource development minister Kapil Sibal, after the cabinet meeting that was chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “(It’s) a larger revolution than even (the one) in the telecom sector,” Sibal added.
Pat for finance hub The Week and Nielsen’s March survey listed the postgraduate banking and financial services diploma programme, offered by the Institute of Finance, Banking and Insurance’s (IFBI), as one of the best in India. The institute was rated as a stellar school in the BFSI sector. The IFBI was launched in October 2008 and currently has 7,000 (and more) students. The BFS programmes aim to prepare students for multiple industry opportunities in financial services, banking and insurance, besides providing industry certifications. The courses are backed with placement assistance and assurance options based on eligibility and performance. “We are grateful for the recognition from a reputed magazine,” said Samir Kumar, the national retail sales head at the IFBI.
Education Leaders Ink MoU IGNOU & NIIT to offer joint-degree IT programmes
n early March, IGNOU and Asia’s largest IT trainer, NIIT, inked an MoU for a global partnership programme related to education and skill-building. The agreement was signed between professor V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, the IGNOU Vice Chancellor, and Rajendra S. Pawar, the NIIT chairman. The two institutions will collaborate to promote information technology (IT) and management sciences in India. Their joint programmes will include stand-alone undergraduate courses and combined masters programmes. The tie-up will be extended to finishing school programmes, which would be available to IGNOU students and alumni. Speaking at the occasion Pillai said, “Students look up to us to receive internationally viable education. Our global partnership will enable students to acquire employable skills for domestic and global markets.” Pawar concurred, “Our partnership seeks to contribute to large-scale skill development.”
Participants at the Global Partnership For Enhanced Emloyability Programme, held in New Delhi
According to industry experts, more than 900,000 jobs are likely to be created in India by 2010, of which 350,000 new jobs will be added to the IT service alone. According to latest industry figures that were announced by NASSCOM, the ITBPO exports market alone is expected to grow by 13 to 15 percent, while the domestic market is expected to grow by 15 to 17 percent.
Professor Manohar Lal, the director of the School of Information and Computer Sciences (IGNOU), said, “I am happy that the MoU was signed. “We are duty bound to take education to everyone. Democratisation of computer education is required. Taking state-ofthe-art IT education to every doorstep is a challenge that we have undertaken together.”
US Witnesses An 8 Percent Rise In International Students The Open Doors Report-2009 stated that the number of international sudents studying at US colleges and universities increased by 8 percent to an all-time high of 671,616 boys and girls between 2008 and 2009 session. The report—published annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs—labelled the rise as the highest percentage increase in international student enrollment since 1980 and 1981. The growth marks the third consecutive year of significant rise. (It was 7 percent in 2007 to 2008, and 3 percent in 2006 to 2007). Open Doors2009 also showed the number of new international students— those who enrolled for the first time at a college or university during 2008 fall—increased by 16 percent. The largest growth was seen in undergraduate enrollments, which increased by 11 percent, compared to a 2 percent rise in graduate enrollments.
percent growth in international students at US colleges and universities
Source: Open Doors Report-2009
thousand were admitted to US colleges and varsities between 2008 to 2009 March 2010 Edu Tech
Unitedworld Makes Its Singapore Debut Will also add new campuses in Delhi and Hyderabad
nitedworld Business School is mulling expanding to Delhi, Hyderabad and Singapore. It is also planning to introduce a one-of-itskind course on “Strategic Leadership” this year. All the three campuses will become operational in July 2010. “We generally look to occupy about 25,000 square feet (sq ft) of carpet area for our new campuses, This is a typical model designed by us wherein we optimize the utilisation of space by use of latest IT and communications tools,” says Ritesh Hada, the MD of the Unitedworld School of Business—an initiative by Uniworld Edutech Ltd. The approximate strength of students in the three new campuses will be 150. The new schools will offer MBA courses designed in a way to emphasise the development of skills, and the capability to apply management theories and concepts to actual problems in business and
United world steps into Singapore
industry. Students will be expected to achieve high standards of excellence. Unitedworld School of Business will also be launching a course on “strategic lead-
Innovation-driven Economy IIT-CII council to seek new ways of promoting industry-academia collaborations through award programmes, conventions to make india a global hub of excellence in cross-disciplinary higher education, CII and IITs recently formed the CII-IIT Council. The council will promote industry-academia collaborations. Members of the council constitute directors of 13 IITs and key industry captains from CII’s national council. In its first meeting, three initiatives were launched. The first; it was decided that a compendium of IIT-industry collaborations would be held annually. The council will celebrate these (collaborations) in a yearly convention. The second initiative was the launch of an industrial technology and innovation mission programme for design and development of new products and solutions. This mission will involve creation of a pool of willing industries (with a special emphasis on
Edu Tech March 2010
ership” in the corporate community. The programme will help the participants identify essential qualities in a leader and develop their inner potential. The new Singapore campus will act as a facility that students from all campuses can visit and receive the exposure to Southeast Asian economies. Each B-school will be managed by global academicians. “Our team (of academics) will be from global institutions such as IIMs, Harvard, London School of Economics, IIT, Delhi School of Economics, XLRI, JNU and Indian Statistical Institute,” Hada claimed. Fee structure will vary slightly between campuses. New features such as carrier coaching services and free international business camps will be incorporated in all campuses. Unitedworld students will have two distinct advantages during placements. First, they will be exposed to real-life market situations through live content and branded projects. Second, their exposure to open economic policies and concerned training will help students to engage themselves in work environments as growth drivers. A three-tier placement approach will be created under the leadership of Shim Young-Sup, the director of placements and corporate affairs. Unitedworld group also has stakes in real estate, building materials and FMCG.
MSMEs) who will invest in product development, future technologies and global challenges. The council has also decided to develop a road map for the 21st Century Innovation University being contemplated by the Center. Ajai Chowdhry, the chairman of the CII National Committee on Technology and innovation and the chairman and CEO of HCL Infosystems Limited, chaired the first meeting. At the meeting, the council members expressed the hope that the council initiative would provide the necessary thrust for India to leapfrog towards a thriving and an innovation-driven economy.
More PG Seats For Indian Medicos
Focus would be on plugging the brain drain, upgrade of state medical colleges
ndia will add 10,000 more postgraduate (PG) seats in medical education in two years’ time to plug the brain drain, said Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. “Several graduates have to travel overseas for their studies. For those millions mulling a move to overseas, I want to offer an additional 10,000 PG seats,” Azad said at the 94th convocation of the Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi. The seats will be available in central and state medical colleges. Of the
10,000 seats, 4,000 will be available in the coming academic session. Currently, India has about 13,500 postgraduate seats across the country. With the new announcement, the numbers are slated to reach to 23,500. The Centre has also approved a scheme under which the health ministry will fund and upgrade all medical colleges run by the state governments. The emphasis, once more, would be on rural areas and colleges, on improving infrastructure in those places.
Voices “It may not automatically lead to the upgrade of university education in the country. Developing nations such as India should be concentrating more on empowering the universities through public-private partnerships” — P.K. Michael Tharakan Development Scientist and vc Kannur university
“This is a milestone which will enhance choices, increase competition, and benchmark quality” — Kapil Sibal Union Human Resources Development Minister
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“it is time for both US and India to act and lead avenues in higher education As the two largest democracies in the world. We have to educate the maximum number of people” — Martha Kanter, Under Secretary, US Department of Education
“it is a time to question fundamental issues and a time to change in a big way the education sector. We have to stop talking and start acting now. ” — Sam Pitroda Advisor to the Prime Minister of India
March 2010 Edu Tech
expertise Design & Architecture
Aaron B. Schwarz
“Green Sustainability at Heart of Campuses”
he Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”. The w o r d s — s u s t a i n a b i l i t y, g r e e n a n d environmental stewardship—are being heard in every industry conversation. Campuses are not an exception. Ideally, they should form the heart of such conversations. At its core, sustainability needs to address three inter-related areas: environment, economy and culture. Sustainable perfection may be difficult to achieve, but every step towards it is significant. Remember that campuses are micro-communities with macro impacts and that as communities within themselves, our campuses use resources intensely. Reducing the use of these resources is an important step towards environment conservation. Indeed, some colleges and universities are taking this step, designing structures to meet standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Such awards are great stimulation to get people moving in the right direction. In the US recently, presidents of over 600 higher education institutions signed a common commitment to climate sustainability. However, it is important to recognise that sustainability is not an added ingredient that we wear on our buildings, it’s a cultural change. It is perhaps central to higher education because it requires cultural change, and because seats of education affect society. Universities are centres for innovation and development of new technologies and shape future leaders and citizens. With more than 12 million students, faculty and staff in
Edu Tech March 2010
Aaron is the Principal and Executive Director at Perkins Eastman. He has more than 25 years of experience in architecture. His award winning portfolio includes numerous projects for colleges and universities in United States and other countries. He is currently involved in designing some university projects in India
higher education, the sector has significant disproportionate leverage power.
Small, Significant Steps Even the bricks and mortar of our campuses affect the environment. For capital construction projects (greenfield or renovation) it is important to establish sustainability goals. Usually, administrators see sustainability as an added project cost. Such a concern is unnecessary. Simple design tactics can go a long way to modify temperature, humidity and airflow, increasing the number of comfortable hours and days without running costly mechanical systems. By reducing the mechanical systems of cooling or heating, architects can design buildings that contribute to a better environment at no added cost. These simple solutions provide a considerable payback without additional capital investment because not every solution requires sophisticated technology.
Aaron B. Schwarz
Make Better Use of Light Smart environmental planning has been achieved in India for centuries. In historic times, buildings were planned with environmental sensitivity to improve human comfort without sophisticated mechanical means or high operating costs. Using non-renewable resources to run air-conditioning systems to mitigate the heat was not a possibility, so smarter planning was a necessity. A building design team needs to research and clearly understand the micro-climate of the site. A building’s site is cardinal—place a construction where it takes full advantage of the available renewable and natural resources. Daylight harvesting to provide natural light for classrooms should be achieved while simultaneously providing shading to reduce heat gain and mitigate glare. Shading can be aided with overhanging roofs, sunshades and smart landscape planting. How the building sits, the manner in which it is shaped and how its windows are organised, affects its natural ventilation that may be increased with the use of wind towers and/or tunnels. In arid climates, moisture can be added to the air with fountains, pools or water bodies placed nearby a building. In humid climates, measures can be taken to dehumidify—both naturally and mechanically—the air prior to its entry to the building. People can be made comfortable in natural settings within certain temperature and humidity ranges. Technologies such as thermal glazing, cavity-wall construction, thermal breaks and increased insulation marginally increase building costs, but the pay back in terms of affordable comfort is quick. These construction techniques are the norm in many parts of the world because they are also known to reduce maintenance and increase building life. If we have the ability to invest even more upfront capital we can further push sustainability measures with technologies such as green roofs, double skin walls, photo-voltaic panels and solar panels, geo thermal cooling and other more advanced innovative approaches. As these technologies and new materials continue to advance; their first installation costs will continue to quicken the payback.
Solving The Water woes The availability and usage of water is a major issue for the globe. And the issue takes a critical proportion in India. A large percentage of water is contaminated, both on the surface and below. If we don’t change our ways it is estimated that our demand for domestic water will double by 2030. The design team needs to focus on how to reduce the use of water, be able to harvest rainwater, and make sure it goes back into the system without contaminants. In humid environments, dehumidifying the air will result in harvesting water from the air— capturing that water for use is prudent. Using grey water for irrigation is a must, and the consideration should be given to pipe grey water for use where potable water is not required. Landscapes are the heart of many college campuses. These need to be planned to use indigenous plantings that require less water.
Change culture: It is important to recognise that sustainability is not an added ingredient that we wear on our buildings, it’s a cultural change
Recycle This Constructing buildings out of materials of recycled content and from materials that are available locally without needing to unsustainably ship them from afar is also becoming easier. This is an exciting time and many technological advancements are being innovated on our engineering and material science campuses. The cultural shift to focus more on our environment is likely to succeed much faster if it is owned, heralded, and championed by the younger generation. College campuses, therefore, need to set the model for which our students can learn and practice a higher level of sustainability. As communities in themselves, our campuses are demonstrations of how we should live, work and recreate together in a more sustainable way—if they are green campuses. We need to ensure that we make our campuses as motor vehicle free as possible, and that we mandate recycling, and prohibit any form of littering.
Culture Of Change It is difficult to keep the earth clean considering the number of people our land is supporting. The question is—can we use the sheer number of people on this planet to an advantage? What could occur if we were to reverse the habit of littering into one in which each person picks up one piece of someone else’s litter every day? Environmental stewardship need not have large capital investment backing it. But, it does require a mental investment. An investment that the idealistic and enthusiastic bunch of people who we know as students may be willing to make. March 2010 Edu Tech
cover story Strategy
by BINESH SREEDHARAN
Edu Tech March 2010
Strategy cover story
Government plans to establish high quality institutions at par with the best in the world. Can these universities become the new Nalndas?EDU takes a look By Navneet anand & Smita polite
ndiaâ€™s storied heritage has a strong basis in scholarship and learning. A history that dates back to the oldest universities in the world the most famous of them being Nalanda. Nalanda was an institution that was renowned for promoting excellence. It was one of the first universities to maintain an extensive library, have an exceptionally gifted faculty, and encourage debate and dissent. It removed all barriers to learning, promoted interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, and welcomed students of all ages. It even attracted students from overseasâ€”the well-known Chinese traveller, Hiuen Tsang was an alumnus. It was the epitome of high quality. Vikramshila, Taxila and Ratnagiri were the other ancient universities that were also famous as centres of learning. The Indian government is today looking at resurrecting the glory of these exemplar universities by building new Nalandas. The XIth Five Year Plan, endorsed by National Development Council in December declared that 8 new Indian Institutes of Technology, 7 additional Indian Institutes of Management, 14 innovation universities, and 16 Central universities would be set up. But, do we need these new initiatives? If we do, then how do we build them? And, most importantly, can they become the new Nalandas? March 2010 Edu Tech
cover story Strategy
Is There A Need? The primary question being raised by skeptics is whether we need these new institutions? Why does India want a new set of global universities, when its existing universities are declining or are derelict, and need immediate attention? Critics also point out that elementary and secondary education is still weak in the country, and that this “indulgence” in higher education is unnecessary. “What’s the use of adding muscle, if the bones are weak?” asks education activist Pradeep Pandey, pointing to the pathetic state of elementary education. Professor Kuldip Singh Dhindsa, the former Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry, London, feels that while it is a good idea to have centres for excellence, it is necessary to carry out structural realignments too. Experts have also remarked that existing IITs and IIMs could have been allocated more funds and asked to increase seats to fill the gap, or that existing central universities could have been given more funds. On the other hand, many feel that reviving old institutions poses a significant challenge since the people in old institutions are often unwilling to experiment. The Vice Chancellor of the newly formed Central University of Himachal Pradesh, Dr Furqan Qamar is far more optimistic, “If these new universities come up with innovative ideas and people see these live models work then the fear of adopting new methods would go and they would also become willing to experiment.”
PROMOTING EXCELLENCE Just after India’s independence one of the first steps taken to make India self reliant was setting up of high quality institutions of higher education. The kind of academic frenzy that India went into after its first prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru planned the IITs has been reawakened in this sector. Not only are we seeing a boom in the establishment of private educational institutions, but we are also witnessing the same excitement with a number of new initiatives planned by the government in this sector. The XIth Five Year Plan, states that the government will build 8 Indian Institutes of Technology, 7 Indian Institutes of Management, 10 National Institutes of Technology 14 universities aiming at world class standards (also called innovation universities) and 16 Central universities in states which do not have a central university. As the government moves on to invite even the foreign universities to join in on the frenzy, we take a look on where we are on the various institutions planned by the government.
Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs): Classes started for BTech courses in six of the eight campuses in academic year 20082009 from temporary locations with 120 students. In two campuses Indore and Mandi the classes started in 2009-2010 session. The location for the permanent campus is being provided for free by the state government to the central government. All the new IIT’s are being mentored by older IITs to facilitate their establishment. The government is trying to address the uneven spread of higher education institutions and has ensured that even the most backward states get their fair share.
Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs): The Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management (RGIIM), Shillong has been established in Shillong (Meghalaya) and started its first academic session in 2008-2009. The remaining six IIMs will be set up in Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan. The government has allocated Rs 4.51 billion as nonrecurring expenditure and Rs 1.18 billion as the recurring expenditure for the first phase in building the new IIMs. All the new IIMs are expected to start the academic session 2010-2011 from temporary campuses.
New Central Universities : The Central Universities bill to establish 12 new central universities and upgrade three universities was finally passed in February 2009. Initially Goa was also a part of the plan
Boosting Access and Quality Many also believe that the government has to contribute and increase access to higher education if India wants to improve its current Gross Enrollment Ratio of 11 percent. The government has set an ambitious target of 21 percent of Gross Enrollment Ratio in higher education by end of the XIIth Plan, with interim target of 15 percent by 2011 to 2012. To achieve this, university and college enrollment will be raised at an annual rate of 8.9 percent to reach 21million by 2011-12. Which is why these institutions
Edu Tech March 2010
are required. “Building new institutions is the need of the hour, if we are to address the yawning gap. Given their structure and emphasis, these universities would address issues of both access and quality,” says Manoj Kumar Singh, a Hindi professor at Magadh University, Bihar. The issue of quality is another reason for these new institutions. Only 10 to 25 percent of approximately 16 million students enrolled in Indian institutions fit for employment when they graduate.
This figure is 72 to 81 percent in the US, and 20 to 35 percent in Malaysia. Many of our existing institutions are not equipped to produce quality graduates. For years the handful of IITs and IIMs, have been the centres of excellence. We need more of them. The government has acknowledged this in the XIth 5-year-plan which reads, “Despite expansion, it is evident that the education system is under stress to provide a sufficient volume of skilled human power, equipped with required
Strategy cover story
when 16 universities were planned. Later the Goa University did not take shape and was dropped. The state of Jammu and Kashmir was to have only one university. Now with a separate university planned for the Jammu region and Kashmir region, the plan is back to 16 universities. Three State Universities in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand were converted immediately into Central Universities. Eleven new Central Universities came into existing in the first week of March, 2009 with the first vice chancellors (VCs) assuming their respective offices. The Central University of Himachal Pradesh got delayed as Dr R C Sobti, the current VC of Punjab University who was initially approached for assuming the VC’s post had declined the offer. Dr Furqan Qamar has since been appointed and this university is likely to start its first academic session in 2010-2011. All new Central Universities, will get about 500 acres of land free of cost from the concerned state governments. The entire expense of these universities will be met by the central government through the UGC, which has so far released around Rs 1.55 billion for 14 universities. Though the permanent location of many of these universities is yet to be finalised, most of them have already started their academic activities from temporary campuses. These universities are expected to promote high quality research and create courses that create employment within the state. They are also expected to design courses that suit the eco-system of the respective regions. They will invite faculty from overseas and work at alliances with foreign universities. The government wants the central universities to specialise in different courses and ensure that there are not many common courses among them. It wants these universities to become known as hubs for their specialised courses.The building design is also expected to get attention with a focus on building green campuses. Sibal has also suggested that these universities should look at conducting a Common Entrance Test for admission to enable common counseling.
knowledge and technical skills to cater to the demands of the economy. Accelerated growth of our economy has already created shortages of high-quality technical manpower.” “We have to keep up with a changing global reality. We need to emphasise on qualitative higher education. Initially, the government had focused on expansion of access to education, and results are visible both in urban and rural centres. Now, there is the need to improve higher education and make it at par with
Innovation University: The Xlth five year plan’s highlight was perhaps the 14 central universities that were to have world class standards. Over time they have been rechristened to innovation universities as the main focus of these universities will be to inculcate a spirit of innovation and research among students. These universities are still in the concept note stage, however their location has been decided. The government has decided to locate these in or near large cities so that they have the connectivity and infrastructure needed to meet world-class standards. The state governments are required to identify and provide land for these projects as well. The highlight of these universities would be availability of huge funds, academic freedom and linkages with institutions from overseas. While the HRD ministry is considering upgrading some existing institutions to the innovation university status, it is also looking at ideas for new universities. These universities will be built around different themes. Among the several ideas that have come up for these universities are—a university dedicated to study and research in sustainable city development,
knowledge economies of the world,” remarks Ashok Tanwar, the member of the Standing Committee on Higher Education under the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) and a member of Parliament. Agreeing with Tanwar, the Secretary of art, culture and youth in Bihar government, Vivek Singh, alludes to the paradigm shift in world economies. “Services industries have to be developed. Modern youth requires a new set of skills and ideas to excel. We were fine in
a world that was not so specialised. Since change is imperative, we (government) should ensure this,” says the 1988-batch IAS officer.
Promoting Research Other reasons cited by experts in favour of new universities is the growing need to propagate research. In 2006 India was granted 7,500 patents. This pales in comparison to the 173,800 granted in the US, 57,800 granted in China, and the 9,600 granted in Mexico. “To comMarch 2010 Edu Tech
cover story Strategy pete successfully in the knowledgebased economy of the 21st century, India needs enough universities that not only produce bright graduates for export, but can also support sophisticated research in a number of scientific and scholarly fields,” writes Philip G. Altbach, the Monan professor of higher education and director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, in his essay—“A world-class country without world-class higher education: India’s 21st century dilemma”.
Creating Institutions of Excellence While we need these centres of excellence how do we build them? While the plan for building the new Nalandas has identified many ingredients to build them successfully, the challenge is in execution. One of the first requirements is to bring in regulatory changes and eliminate bureaucracy. The government is
“Now, there is A need to improve higher education and make it at par with knowledge economies of the world” Ashok Tanwar Member Standing Committee on Higher Education 16
Edu Tech March 2010
recommended guidelines of National knowledge commission for setting up national universities Admit students on an all-India basis on the principle of needs-blind admissions Have an extensive system of scholarship for needy students Undergraduate degree (the three-year programme) should be granted after completion of a requisite number of credits obtained from diverse courses Academic year be semester-based. Students be internally evaluated at the end of course Credit transfer from one national university to another shall be permitted Appropriate system of appointments and incentives adopted to maximise faculty productivity Strong links forged between teaching and research, universities and industry, and universities and research laboratories. National universities be department-based without affiliated colleges Autonomy to national universities to set up fee levels for students and then tap other sources for funding National universities have to be supported by the government initially. Each university has to be allotted substantial public land. Excess land to be utilised for generation of fund
proposing a single regulatory body instead of the 13 agencies that exist currently, including the University Grants Commission (UGC), and the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). Professor B.K. Kuthiala, the Vice Chancellor of Makhan Lal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, points out that an environment conducive to research is mandatory for ushering in quality education, “The primary threat to research comes from the bureaucracy. Our country’s administrative system is in hands of people whose goal is to maintain (the) status quo. Aspirations (of research scholars and bureaucracy) are different. Till the time the administration is asked to play a role in policy-making and goal implementation, change would be impossible. A scientist will thrive if an adequate environment is provided. Higher education has to be left to natural growth without interference. Of course, government can be one of the players, but not the key ‘regulating player’.” A concept note titled—Innovation Universities Aiming at World Class Standards circulated by the HRD ministry, says, “The search for truth and ideas cannot be bound by conventional wis-
dom. Autonomy is a sine qua non for quality institutions. However, a university aiming at world-class standards would have to structure a framework that promotes autonomy, but inculcates a spirit of accountability.” The good news is that the government has given reasonable leeway and autonomy to decide their courses, and asked to experiment and innovate. At a meeting with the newly appointed vice chancellors of central universities last year, Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal said, “The central universities must become benchmarks for academic excellence for the rest of the country.” Dr. Surabhi Banerjee, the vice chancellor of the newly formed Central University of Orissa at Koraput, admits that the freedom and autonomy that her institute enjoys, as a part of a central university, is her greatest relief and joy. “We want the university to make a difference in the global world, while remaining rooted in the local milieu. I am aware of the challenges ahead and yet positive that we can make a difference,” she adds An official from the HRD ministry, wishing to remain anonymous, adds that autonomy and accountability should go hand-in-hand. “Higher education insti-
Strategy cover story tutions must subject themselves to internal accountability as far as stakeholders are concerned. They need to set their goals and targets to assess achievements. They must be subjected to peer review and an apex regulatory institutional mechanism that is at an arm’s length from the government and independent of stakeholders. This framework must be conducive to innovation, creativity and excellence,” he says.
Promoting Innovation The government hopes that giving . autonomy to innovation universities through freedom in pedagogy structure, admission and research, and encouragement of peer audit will promote new-age skills. “Innovation carries spin-off benefits. It yields social dividends for the broader civil society, helps reduce poverty, improves health and greater education and empowers women. Universities should be places were ideas germinate. It is a place where faculty and students challenge
“Creating an institution is not just about the brick and mortar structure, with a fee structure and students Institutions have to understand the larger picture of nation building” deepak pental Vice Chancellor, Delhi University existing boundaries in a culture of creativity….,” reads the opening part of the Innovation University concept note, setting up the tone for new universities. “The idea is a novel one,” assures Umak-
New Indian Institutes of Technology Location
Academic Session Started In
Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh)
Ordnance Factory Medak (OFMK) at Yeddumailaram (Medak District, Andhra pradesh)
National Highway 9 at Kandi village
Navin Government Polytechnic Campus Patliputra Colony
IIT Kanpur Shifting in July to MBM Engineering College, Ratanada, Jodhpur
22 Kms from Jodhpur city on National Highway 65
IIT Kharagpur, shifting to Samantapuri, Bhubaneshwar
Arugul, Near Jatni Railway Station
Nangal Road, Rupnagar
Near Sutlej river
Vishwakarma Engineering College,
Institute of Engineering and Technology, Ahilyabai University
ant Mishra, the former principal director-general of the Centre’s press information bureau. Presently, Mishra is a consultant in the upcoming Jharkhand Central University. He believes that to avoid repeating past mistakes, the government and the new centres have to be vigilant. While the government goes the whole-hog with reforms, innovation and infusion, it is necessary to guard against past habits. New courses are planned in the Central Universities, the IITs and IIMs. “We are trying to develop interdisciplinary schools, which are centres of excellence and yet provide flexibility and freedom. Very often students who join IIT are not interested in engineering per se We are exploring if they can have the option to choose branches after they join in rather than at the time of joining. We are also exploring if they can be allowed to exit with BSc or BASc if they want to,” says Prem Kalra, director of the newly formed IIT Jodhpur.
Getting A little Help The government also plans to facilitate universities under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. Sibal, has emphasised that the private sector will play an important role in promoting the government’s mission to create pockets of excellence—both in urban and rural centres. PPPs are likely to play a particularly important role in the setting up of Innovation Universities. In the revised concept note on Innovation Universities the HRD ministry has proposed that while some universities will be directly funded by the government and set up through an Act of Parliament, others would come into function through the PPP mode and a Memorandum of Understanding. Universities set up in the PPP mode will also be completely autonomous and outside the purview of UGC or AICTE. While the reservation policy for admissions of SCs/STs/OBCs will be applicable to the universities set up completely by the government, it will not apply to those in PPP mode. There are many existing institutions
Source: Press information Bureau
March 2010 Edu Tech
cover story Strategy within India that are doing interesting work in their own sphere, but in separate pockets. Building linkages with these institutions and borrowing from their experience could prove to be valuable for new institutions. For instance National Council of Rural Institutes (NCRI), Hyderabad is an autonomous institution funded by the HRD ministry that has
Indian Institutes of Management City
Innovation University/ World Class University: City
Jaipur/ Ajmer(Ajmer Rajasthan has been recommended by V.S Vyas committee) Gandhinagar
Source: Press Information Bureau Reports
Edu Tech March 2010
extensive experience in promoting higher education in rural areas. It has been functioning as a catalysing organisation, helping rural institutions, Gandhian organisations, NGOs, universities and state government agencies. Allying with NCRI could help new universities coming up in backward areas to adapt better to local needs. S.V. Prabhath, the chairman of NCRI points out, “It is possible to embrace models that have worked well in other countries and adapt them to the Indian culture and circumstances.” An innovation university or any other new university which wants to focus on studies related to rural areas could benefit from an association with such an institution.
Going Beyond Borders With the cabinet giving the go-ahead to the Foreign Educational Institutions bill, foreign collaborations are likely to become much easier. Building links with overseas institutions can ensure that our domestic institutions are at par with global standards as well as broaden perspectives. The government is also planning to invite some foreign universities to partner in setting up innovation universities in the PPP mode. At the Singapore Symposium hosted by CII, Sibal remarked that India and Singapore will cooperate in setting up innovation universities in India. “India needs modern universities to bridge the huge skill shortage gap and Singapore can be the best country to partner with in this area,” he said. Sibal has also held talks with US universities like Yale, Harvard, Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for collaborations. The central universities, the IITs and IIMs are also looking at collaboration with foreign institutions. “We are in talks with Canada, France,Italy, Netherlands and Spain for collaborations,” reveals Prem Kalra director of IIT Jodhpur.
Meeting A Tall Order The one question that remains unanswered is whether the new universities can become the new Nalandas? While the ideas are good, it is the execution that actually makes the project. The fac-
“Technology will very soon make the whole issue of student teacher ratio sound silly” Sam Pitroda Former Chairman National Knowledge Commission
ulty crunch and infrastructure are the biggest bottlenecks at this time. The Vice Chancellor of Delhi University, Deepak Pental, warns, “If we fail to attract quality faculty or to increase our research inputs, then the effort would be wasted.” Let alone the quality of faculty, even the availability of faculty is doubtful. However, the former chairman of Knowledge Commission, Sam Pitroda believes that the faculty would not be a problem. At a recent event where he addressed the question whether such grand plans for so many universities is sustainable, he said, “Technology will very soon make the whole issue of student teacher ratio sound silly. Teachers would just play the role of mentors. They are not needed to stand in classrooms in front of blackboards. The student teacher ratio could easily become 500:1 and technology would be able to provide students the best education possible, with teachers just playing facilitators.” Lack of infrastructure is another concern. In fact, the government itself has second thoughts about two locations
Strategy cover story specified for the central universities, Kasargod in Kerala, and Motihari in Bihar. Earlier, even the Central University of Koraput had faced this dilemma. “Developing a university in the remotest part of the country is a challenge. But, it is the beauty of the situation as well. Connectivity is an issue, but we are working on it,”admits Dr Banerjee, the VC of the upcoming Central University at Koraput, outlining her plans for this university which is into its eighth month. The VC of Central University of Himachal Pradesh, Qamar is also optimistic that infrastructure will not be a problem. “The government is serious, and funds are available,” he says. In fact in the 2010 Budget, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has announced an allocation of Rs 11,000 million for higher education. This is a seven percent hike over 2009. However, funds alone will not help. Unless the government really addresses the problem of faculty and infrastructure, India is unlikely to get its new Nalandas “Creating an institution is not about the brick and mortar structure, with a fee structure and students. Institutions have to understand the larger picture of nation building,” says Pental. Pental’s concern is valid given the failed experiments in the past, in which institutions were started, but deprived of an intellectual capital pool and vision, they turned myopic and finally closed doors. Pental suggests a number of ideas that can be identified to reduce the risks of failure “If we want new initiatives to be successful, project cost should be given to universities (for research and faculty), so that universities can solely concentrate on scholarly activities. Pedagogy needs an overhaul in most cases; semester system should be introduced and an academic calendar should be adhered to. Universities should have a ceiling of 15,000 students,”are his recommendations. The plan to revamp the higher education space has been labeled ambitious by many. The President of Yale Richard Levin, who was in India at the recent FICCI higher education summit, said,
new central universities Location
Academic Session commenced in
Gandhinagar – Ahmedabad
R K Kale
J & K (Kashmir Region)
D T Khathing
J & K (Jammu Region)
Yet to be finalised
M M Salunkhe
A M Pathan
Madhya Pradesh Harisingh Gour Vishwavidyalaya converted to Central University
Chhatisgarh Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya converted to Central University
B P Sanjay
Uttarakhand Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna University converted to Central University
S K Singh
Mool Chand Sharma
Source: Press information Bureau
“Building world-class universities is a Herculean task. It has never been done before in one concerted effort, by one country. And it requires more than money. But if India succeeds, the impact on Indian society and its aspirations to world leadership will be limitless. It is through world-class universities that the seeds of innovation are planted and the next generation of leaders acquires the
capacity to lead.” While conceding that universities cannot be built overnight, Sibal pointed out that a beginning had to be made and India is ready. He is optimistic that positive results would come by 2014. It is up to the educationists and the policy makers of our country to ensure that the tempo is not lost, and that we are able to create the Nalandas of tomorrow. March 2010 Edu Tech
cover story Dialogue
Furqan Qamar, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Himachal Pradesh, talks to EDU about the challenges ahead By smita polite 20
Edu Tech March 2010
EDU: Why did you quit as Vice Chancellor (VC) of Rajasthan University and accept the same position at Central University of Himachal Pradesh? FURQAN QAMAR: The search (for the VC of Central University of Himachal Pradesh) had begun much before I joined the Rajasthan University. As soon as professor Sobti declined (the post of VC of Himachal Pradesh Central University), the search committee began looking for a new candidate. At that time I was in the Planning Commission. When I was approached, I said yes, because it was a great opportunity. However, the formalisation took a lot of time. So much so, that I almost forgot about the offer. In the meantime, the Rajasthan offer was also made. On August 17, I was told that the search committee had finalised my name (for the Himachal University). I received my joining letter for Rajasthan on August 29. Since I had already given my word to the Himachal University officials, there was no question of turning back. Moreover, since the university had already faced a refusal once, in a way I felt obliged to not let that happen again! The chance to establish a new university is a challenge. Fresh ideas that are otherwise difficult to implement in an established place because of pre-conceived notions, become possible in a new environment. Moreover, a VC serves for a term of five years in a central university, whereas it is just three years in a state university. But, that wasnâ€™t exactly a concern when I made up my mind.
What was the reason for choosing Kangra (district) for the Himachal University? The Himachal government felt that Kangra was the most suitable location for the university. It is the largest district, and 16 of the 64 MLAs hail from this region. Shimla already had HP University and Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. Hamirpur had NIT, while Palampur had an agricultural university. There was a general consensus that Kangra should have some aca-
Dialogue cover story demic centre of excellence as well.
then we might not be able to integrate innovations later. For now, we are working on three ideas—a PG programme on entrepreneurship development, ecology and environment. We are also mulling research programmes that are nonlab based and do not require massive infrastructure support.
What sites are being considered for the university? The state government has offered us two options. The first is a site at Dehra, 50km from Dharamshala. Dehra is also the district headquarters. The government has also offered another location at Dharamshala. The central site selection committee visited both these places in February and the final decision is expected to be taken soon. There are a lot of factors that have to be considered. In Himachal Pradesh, forest conservation and seismological factors are important factors that we have to be sensitive about.
What is your vision for the proposed university? I have a few ideas. And, I am also open to discussions. My primary plan is to have a multidisciplinary university with 18 schools, where each school will have seven departments, and two specialised centres. For instance, the School of Engineering that we have proposed, should ideally have a centre for emerging technologies. The School of Life Sciences in collaboration with School of Mathematics, Computers and Informatics, could run a centre for computational biology and bioinformatics. Likewise, School of Management will have a centre for plantation management and forestry. This is our vision for the next 10 years. Obviously, plans will have to be worked out in a phase-wise manner. I am also considering moving away from the conventional system as far as course work is concerned. Instead of the present rigid system, I would like to create more options for students. The departments will define the pre-requisites. Students will be granted the freedom to choose across schools, departments and topics. After 10 years, when all the schools are in place, our university should ideally compirse 90 departments offering 20 courses each. Hopefully by then, we will make it possible for a BA economics student to do specialisation in mathematics, engineering and
What are the distinguishing feature of the new central universities that will come up?
“We are also mulling research programmes that are non-lab based and do not require massive infrastructure support” Furqan qamar Vice Chancellor, Central University of Himachal Pradesh even philosophy. I am also working on formulating a choice-based credit system. If it is passed, then a student of an undergraduate degree programme will have the choice between 180 credits. Even if she completes just one semester, she can earn 60 credits and still receive a certificate. In our country, poverty and other circumstances often make completion of course work difficult.
What are the challenges before you? What are your plans for the 2010 to 2011 session? Implementing our vision right from the beginning of the new session will be a difficult task—because we need a multidisciplinary university for our dreams to become a reality. I am aware that if we start on conventional lines
Experience teaches us that central universities are often better than state universities. Perhaps, because they are better funded, or because they suffer less interference. They also draw in a pan-India group of faculty and students. The government has been talking about academic innovation and curriculum reform for a long time. But, these ideas are difficult to implement in our present system—mainly because people are afraid to change the status quo and innovate. To ensure that new ideas bear fruit will be my task, and the task of the new VCs in each and every university. Also, these universities will have their own identity and personality. That is why the government has not prescribed a common programme or course structure for them.
Do you think that the country and the government will be ready with the infrastructure and faculty in time for the universities to start? As far as physical infrastructure is concerned, if resources and technology is made available, then there should be no problem in starting a new university on time. If you want infrastructure to be ready for a fairly large university in two years, then funds should flow in minus the red tape. Finding a strong faculty will be a problem. If the so-called “new teachers” are the products of the “old system” then any change in the classroom would be difficult. We have to draw in the best with salaries and incentives. Personally, I believe that the Sixth Pay Commission will take care of this headache.
March 2010 Edu Tech
cover story Dialogue
Advantage Koraput Surabhi Banerjee, the Vice Chancellor of Central University of Orissa, talks to EDU about Koraput and her varsity plans By Navneet anand EDU: Would you care to throw light on the status of your university? A brief look at the beginning and the progress so far. Surabhi Banerjee: The Central University of Orissa was formally inaugurated on August 29, 2009. Since then, my team and I have been working hard to put things in place. We have managed to get the land, some 465 acre, in Koraput. The universityâ€™s master plan has been approved. Construction will start soon. We hope to have some of the buildings ready by 2010. Plans are to start with five schools, staff quarters and a portion of the library, for now.
Edu Tech March 2010
Dialogue cover story Koraput is one of the most underdeveloped parts of Orissa. What are the challenges that the university, and you, are facing? Creating a university in India’s remotest part is a challenge indeed. But, I am proud to have been entrusted with this task! The backwardness of the region is a problem that we grapple with everyday. Connectivity, too, is an issue. The Maoist threat is also a reality in Koraput. Add to that the fact that it’s extremely hot, dry and arid area with water problems. All these add up to a very big problem—as far as drawing in the right faculty to this remote area is concerned. We are working diligently to find a way out and get the best possible faculty for our students.
It has been a few months since the process started. What makes this struggle worthwhile? Oh! There are several positive aspects. Every day I get to learn new things. Koraput is visually stunning. I feel as if I live in the cradle of nature. The people—as many may know it is a tribal-dominated region—are honest. They are excited by the new vista of opportunity that the university brings with it. Perhaps, interactions with locals is the best bit—I am impressed by their simplicity and innocence. Our university wishes to offer both education and employment to the people of the region.
In your own words, the process is a challenge. So, why start a university in a remote region like Koraput? The decision wasn’t mine, it was the Orissa government’s. But, I believe that by selecting Koraput, the government was planning to help the area emerge from the margins into the spotlight. Koraput is a part of the KBK (KoraputBolangir-Kalahandi) region. The establishment of a new university, it is hoped, will infuse a new dynamism in this area, triggering growth. So far, the state government has been supportive of all our efforts. They have allotted land, and helped us out as far as infrastructure is concerned. Together, I believe, we can help the region out.
“I believe that by selecting Koraput, the government was planning to help the area emerge from the margins to the spotlight.” Surabhi Banerjee Vice Chancellor, Central University of Orissa Have you begun the first session? Yes, we have made a humble beginning. We have three schools offering social sciences, languages and media studies. We offer five programmes at the PG level—English, Oriya, sociology, anthropology and tribal studies, and journalism and mass communication. I am glad that we received an overwhelming response. The university received so many applications that the administration had to extend the last date for the submission. So far, we have 30 seats for each course. Presently, we are operating from a rented premise. We plan to hold our first convocation in 2011.
What is your vision for this new university? I want Koraput University to stand out. For that I am working on the aca-
demic innovation and trying to customise courses, geared to meet the immediate needs of the community here, then the society, and finally the nation in the longer run. We plan to start a School of Health Science, Biodiversity & Conservation of Natural Resources, Educational Technology and Development Studies along with a community radio station. I have inked four critical engagement plans with MS Swaminathan Research Foundation for biodiversity, Jamia Hamdard for nursing, Public Health Foundation of India for health and British Council for English. I also have a vision of a green campus and wish to use solar energy and rain harvesting extensively. In five to 10 years, I am certain this university will stand out, not only for its academic richness, but also its architecture. We are also keenly working to integrate the local community in my plan. In addition to establishing a Centre for Tribal Health, we are working on creating community welfare centres, skill development units, special libraries, motivation programme and on special programme for school dropouts. The curriculum is being crafted in an intelligent manner. And, I have begun to forge ties with the industry through interfaces.
And what about the faculty? I am lucky that I have the support of 15 committed faculty members. They share my vision and wish to enrich the university vision through new ideas and innovations. It requires commitment to be working in a region like this. I am glad that I have a team that is driven. We shall soon have our Registrar and key officials in place. At the moment though, I am the only administrative official.
You are experienced in education administration. Does that help? I have had varied experiences in a span of 11 years as an education administrator. I was the Pro Vice Chancellor at one of the oldest Indian university in Calcutta. I learnt a lot. And yes, such experiences do help a person to grow even further. March 2010 Edu Tech
Realising The Vision of World-Class Varsities
he creation of world-class universities right here in India currently tops the to-do list of Indian businesses and corporate houses of international repute. The trend towards internationalisation began in 2006, with Anil Agarwal announcing the establishment of the “multi-disciplinary” Vedanta University. More recently, Mukesh Ambani, Azim Premji and Shiv Nadar have also announced their plans to build similar centres of excellence. The government of India, on its part, is also mulling the establishment of 14 innovation universities that would enjoy a global reputation. It is heartening to see that higher education is finally receiving the philanthropic investments from corporate houses. And that the government is stressing on quality. However, the big question remains—how realistic are these visions? The issue is not the aspiration to be world-class, but the mismatch between vision and execution, which results from unrealistic assessment of concepts and challenges. This mismatch could result in unfulfilled promises and inefficient utilisation of resources. Indian higher education system needs quality and clarity of approach, while building global hubs of learning.
Edu Tech March 2010
What Is a World-class University? The concept note on innovation universities provided by the ministry of human resources correctly recognises that—“The first criterion… is the quality and excellence of its research, recognised by the society and its (institute’s) peers in the academic world”. While universities could be world-class on parameters other than research, the focus here is on universities that attain global excellence based on knowledge creation and innovation, and have the capacity to attract best talent—faculty, administrators and students—from across the world. In addition, the world-class status should not be achieved by self-declaration. Jamil Salmi of the World Bank notes that —“Becoming a member of this exclusive global group is not achieved by self-declaration; rather, elite status is conferred by the world on the basis of international recognition”. This requires sustained and consistent processes of institutionbuilding along the lines of the best global practices adapted to local contexts. Building such a university is also a gradual process. It requires significant investment of resources. One may argue that India does not require world-class universities given the resources required to build them. However, I feel that India needs at least one world-class university in each discipline—to cre-
ate new benchmarks of quality and help the system to move up the value chain.
What Will It Take? Given that building a world-class university is a resource intensive process, the following strategic areas should be stressed upon: Identify a domain of excellence: To start with, a world-class university cannot be every thing to every one. It has to identify its domain of excellence and then expand into other areas of specialisation. It is easier to achieve world-class standards in a niche. For example, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, has identified itself as a research centre that focuses on science at the graduate-level. It has gained a significant amount of attention in this field. Likewise, MIT is know for its excellence in technology, but offers several programmes. Go beyond financial resources and attract top human resources: While financial resources are critical for a world-class institutions, one should not forget that education is a human resources-
that align well with global practices. This includes curriculum offerings, admissions standards and support services that are aligned to attract the best talent. International diversity of students, faculty and scholars, not only fosters innovation and learning, but aids in building a pool of global brand ambassadors. Leverage collaborations: Collaborations are an excellent way to fast-track reputation building process and adapt systems and processes that are tried and tested. For example, ISB has benefited from the reputation of its partner schools—Kellogg, Wharton and London Business School. Likewise, partner schools benefit from a diverse experience base available to their faculty and wider visibility of their brand name in an international market. Recognise educational leadership: Educational leadership is unlike corporate leadership, because gaining trust of academic experts, primarily working in non-profit universities, requires a set of competencies. Professor Warren Bennis of the University of Southern California notes that “... running a major research university today is far
ndia needs at least one world-class varsity in each discipline to create new benchmarks of quality to help the system move up the value chain
driven sector. Hence, it is imperative to attract the best talent. This talent base will directly contribute to reputation building, research and intellectual capital. However, building a community of scholars and students is easier said than done. This aspect of “human resources” is often underestimated in the planning stage. Emphasise research: World-class status is primarily used in the context of research universities. Hence, one cannot ignore the importance of research in vision and resource allocation. Attracting best faculty members, with an extensive track record of research, and having quite a few research-oriented programmes in academic offering is important. For example, ISB Hyderabad—a world-class centre for business—clearly articulates its intention to be a “research-driven” institute in its vision statement. Integrate internationalisation: A global university competes in the world market. Hence, it has to implement systems, processes and offerings
more complex and demanding than running any global corporation”. While recent initiatives to create world-class universities are in the right direction, they need to be executed by a deeper understanding of the unique practices of these universities. This would aid efficient prioritisation and utilisation of resources and help realise the full potential of the initiatives and visions. Richard Levin, the president of Yale University, rightly sums up “...developing world-class universities in Asia will take more than money and determination. To create world-class capacity in research, resources must not only be abundant, they must also be allocated on the basis of scholarly and scientific merit. Rather than on the basis of seniority or political influence. To create worldclass capacity in education, the curriculum must be broadened and pedagogy transformed. These are all problems that can be solved with sufficient leadership and political will”. Amen to that.
Rahul Choudaha A higher education specialist based out of New York, Dr Choudaha specialises in strategic management of higher education, institution building, academic leadership, collaborations and market development. He has a PhD in higher education from the University of Denver and BE from Jabalpur University. He can be reached at email@example.com
March 2010 Edu Tech
Ernest J. Wilson III
Innovate Or Die Ernest J. Wilson III, Dean of Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California talks to EDU about his vision for the school and about the role of media schools and communications
By Aman Singh EDU: What changes did you bring when you joined as the new Dean? Ernest: We started with the idea of the ‘three Is’—innovation, impact and internationalisation. Innovation because the field of media is dynamic. An institution which provides media training to students must be innovative. It was Gandhi who said that we must become the change we want to see in the world. If we want our students to be innovative, then we (professors) must also innovate. I thought of impact as the second ‘I’, because I wanted to ensure that the school continued its commitment to impact the society in a positive way. The third point is internationalisation. With the world becoming more global, our students should be able to adjust to all cultures.
What is your vision for the school? Someone once told me that a vision statement should be such that when someone reads it, even if they don’t know what school you are talking about, they should say, ‘Aha! That must be Annenberg’. When we came up with the ‘three Is’ I realised that all institutions must have these. So what makes us unique? After working with my faculty, students, advisory board and media leaders, we came up with the following statement—Annenberg 3.0: an inno-
Edu Tech March 2010
vative full-service school in a networked university in the most diverse and global city in the United States. Another way to say it is the four words, “we do cool stuff”. I think students like that!
What do you mean by full service? Full service means comprehensive. I have found that there are not many schools that combine what we have, under a single roof—journalism, communication, public relations and public diplomacy. We have graduate students and we also offer PhDs and master degrees. We have 14 independent research centres. So, when I say it is a full-service school, that’s exactly what I mean.
What about innovation? You either innovate, or you die. It’s harder for universities to go out of business, but, they could
Ernest J. Wilson III dialogue
by jiten gandhi
Education MA, PhD, University of California, Berkeley BA Harvard College Academic positions Walter Annenberg Chair in Communication and dean of Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California Professor of political science, faculty fellow at USC Center on Public Diplomacy at Annenberg School Adjunct fellow at Pacific Council on International Policy Chairman of Corporation for Public Broadcasting
March 2010 Edu Tech
dialogue Ernest J. Wilson III
Annenberg does cool stuff. I think students like that! become irrelevant. If you innovate, you stay ahead of the curve. I don’t want my students to be catching up with the rest of the world, I want them to lead.
You are also on the board of the Carnegie Knight Commission on the Future of Journalism Education. What are the institutions that the commission works with concerned about? The Carnegie Knight Commission comprises deans of journalism schools. They are concerned about the fact that print media is declining in United States and in other developed countries. There are almost 20,000 unemployed journalists. The concern is that this decline could well mean the end of free press and democracy in a way. Not everybody will have an access to radio or television. If newspapers are dying in Colorado, or Boston, how does the public get information about public affairs—because if they don’t receive information about fraud, health issues, education, civic rights and international affairs, then civic life takes a hit.
How are you and the commission trying to address this issue? I am relatively new to the world of media. When I got here, I discovered that journalism and communication schools did not have a close relationship with institutions they were preparing people to serve. Whereas public policy schools that I was engaged with earlier, I saw, always invited people from government, World Bank and other institutions to participate. If we are going to prepare people for the world, then deans, administrators and professors have to know something of the world that we are preparing students for. I have been reaching out to World Bank, Obama Administration, foundations, publishers and authors asking them—what do you need in the people you hire, what are you looking for? They all said that we need more people who understand economics. We charge $40,000 a year from our students, and that’s a lot of money. It’s crazy not to have these students to be economically literate when they graduate. I believe that to be a good citizen you need economic literacy, to be a
Edu Tech March 2010
good writer or journalist. If you are going to write about education, or health care or international affairs—you need to know economics. Moreover our industry is going through rapid changes, and in this scenario, students should be trained in such a way that they are able to make their own choices for the future. We don’t want to educate students for a profession. We want to educate them for life.
What is the responsibility of a journalism school, apart from training students with the right skill set? The responsibility is to make sure that students are broadly educated. In most American schools you take a major after studying political science or economics, but then you have to distribute your other credits. As a student I remember attending a course where a professor was talking about small Greek statues. I said, “My God! How boring!” But, it did give me a vocabulary to appreciate art. Having liberal education is essential.
What changes in the global media industry should institutions be prepared for? Instead of preparing for a particular technology one must look at the more fundamental issue. The challenge is to figure out what students would need to know in the next 50 years—in terms of competencies. Competencies come
Ernest J. Wilson III dialogue under four parts—skills, attitude, knowledge and experience. You need a set of skills—analytical, writing and interpersonal skills. You also have to have a set of attitudes; an intellectual curiosity—I wonder where you are from, what kind of camera is that, what sort of bird is that, much like a kid. You need empathy, understanding, have a risk-taking attitude and be able to appreciate context. This context in media is now changing. So you have to have 360 degree vision. We have to design courses, recruit faculty and help them re-learn. We have to become guides on the side, rather than sages on stage.
You want rigour of research to enter the journalism school. Can you share more on that? I think research is central. Communication needs a background of new knowledge. This can come through social science, research, or through humanistic reflections on what is the meaning of life. In todays dynamic world, journalism and public relations (PR) need a lot more to make sense. Take PR for instance, it is a new field. I went around asking CEOs in the US about who I should get to teach PR at my school—a respected and proven practitioner, or a PhD in psychology or sociology. Without hesitation they replied that someone with a PhD would be able to add more value and train people who they would like to hire. They said that they need people who can think about contracts, culture and history, all combined together.
How can ethics be integrated in a journalism school? In the old days ethics was a given, today the lines are getting blurred. When you get a proliferation of platform in application, nobody is certain anymore about what is ethical and what is not. So, it has to be grounded more and more into the curriculum. A way to incorporate ethics with journalism is by implementing a required course, or a course investigating the relation between ethics and some other field. Ethics is also one of the competencies that I was talking about earlier—an attitude that one has to develop. It is not just a course that one does and declares—I got an ‘A’ in ethics so how dare you accuse me of cheating? Also the faculty has to become a model for the kind of behaviour they expect from students.
the world. Awareness about China, India and Africa is low. However, this ignorance is gradually decreasing. Having said that, I do think that for those people who know a little, India is a country where several things are happening at the same time. Education is expanding in urban and rural centres. Economically, India is growing with increasing salaries then you also have political freedom. When you put these three together, it means that the demand for media is high. Yet there is a sense of dissatisfaction. When I came here (India) in June, every journalist, publisher and person in a non-government agency said we are not doing a great job. Maybe together we can address that!
What is your opinion about the popular claim that with the advent of blogs “everyone is a journalist today”? Just because you blog, it doesn’t mean you are a
Market forces will take care of 80 percent of the quality problem
What role does communication play in today’s world? If you think about the creation of new knowledge, it does not come from one smart person sitting in a room by himself, writing things down. It’s conversations like this, going to conferences and communicating on the Internet that creates new knowledge. Creating new knowledge and then sharing it is something that probably triggers new opportunities, especially in this field. We in the communication field will have to rethink our position in the creation and distribution of knowledge.
There has been a sudden rise in the number of schools producing journalists in India. What is it that we can do to manage the quality? I think market forces should take care of 80 percent of the problem. The ones who go to second-grade schools are going to be hired by second-grade publications that soon go out of business. I do think that professional associations and educators should get together to set a framework, or a yardstick. Journalism schools in India could probably form a self-monitoring organisation, just like some other countries.
How is the Indian media industry perceived in US journalism and communication schools? Unfortunately, some of my country people are ignorant about the rest of
journalist. I strongly feel that journalism is different. It entails ethics. For instance, you don’t take money to publish stuff. It also means that you check multiple sources. So, if I tell you something and it is controversial then you talk to someone else to form an idea.
What brings you to India? I wanted to explore what relationships we can have with Indian institutes, professors and researchers. I am trying to see if we could be of service in the Indian communication and journalism scenario. We have entered into other international partnerships before this. We have a relationship in Dubai with the Sheikh Muhammad Rashid School of Journalism and Communication. We also have ties with the Fudan University in China. March 2010 Edu Tech
Edu Tech March 2010
Floored! the Feet
Flooring solutions for Indian colleges and universities form a small, but growing market By Nupur Chaturvedi
rom the moment you step in and to the moment you step out of an institution, its floor runs beneath the feet—creating the first impression. You may waive it aside as trivial issue, but a building’s floor takes the maximum wear and tear. It also forms five to ten percent of the total cost of construction (for example in a Rs 100 million project, the amount spent on flooring could be anywhere between Rs 5 million and 10 million), a substantial amount. A pan-India survey of maintenance would indicate that an institute’s flooring is repaired, or replaced, most often. In academic institutions floors are critical, as a college or a university is constructed with the idea that it will be around for generations. With around 370 universities, 18,000 colleges and over 12 million students, India is one of the largest world markets when it comes to higher education. With new centres springing up everyday and existing ones needing maintenance, construction companies, developers, architects, interior designers, facility managers and construction-product companies all have a stake in this market. Those associated with the task of choosing and implementing flooring solutions are also beneficiaries.
eye stoppers 370 universities, 18,000 colleges and 12 million students make India one of the largest markets for higher education flooring solutions comprise five to ten percent of the total cost of construction in any building March 2010 Edu Tech
Lovely Professional University Covers Ground
Right formula Established in 2001, Lovely Professional University (LPU) claims to be India’s largest in terms of the sheer number of its students (24,000). Its 600-acre Jalandhar campus has specialised academic blocks, a main building, administrative areas, hostels and residences. Its construction was completed in phases, and the university is planning more buildings. Aman Mittal, the assistant director of LPU, talks of flooring solutions and maintaining a balance: Common areas: The university’s first building—the management institute— came up in 2001. Its walls were of exposed brickwork. For flooring, green marble and green Kota were chosen. Reason: material strength. Green marble was also used for the same reason, but it was restricted to the lobby and administrative areas, because of its richer colour. Expensive red granite was used in the high-profile administrative areas (president’s office). The second building was the engineering block. There the finish was RCC, so the chosen flooring was of Madras Kadappa which was black. In 2005, when work began on the main university building, LPU switched to vitrified tiles. This was chiefly because the university wished to save time on grinding and polishing traditionAman Mittal Assistant Director, LPU al stones. It also gave it a more modern look. The university zeroed in on ivory tiles, which made the rooms look brighter. For pattern, terracotta tiles were used in the corridors. Aman says, “This is important, because you are looking at mass usage. Ten percent of the total project cost went into flooring.” Classrooms: Cheema Pink granite, a cheaper quality, was used in smaller tile sizes. Granite, being a hard material, was used in classrooms. Only in 2005, vitrified tiles were brought in. Hostels, cafeteria and kitchens: Vitrified tiles and Kota. Heavy engineering areas: Kota was used for its load-bearing capacity.
Edu Tech March 2010
Choose Well As a rule, floors in institutions take a lot of abuse. So, they need to be hardy. “Our tendency to use the cheapest option has to abandoned,” says Nirbhik Bera, the senior manager of project management group at CB Richard Ellis, a real estate consultancy. “Earlier, plain cement concrete (PCC) flooring was common. With changing times vibrant and resilient finishes are being used,” he adds. For institutions looking for more choices, there is no dearth of options as new developments in construction and product technologies has flooded the market with a wide variety of materials. Also, institutes are becoming more willing to consider options based on factors (other than cost) such as application, aesthetics, brand-value and energy efficiency. There will always be those who go for the one-size-fits-all approach. However, most universities or colleges do not function as a homogenous area. Broadly then, some factors have to be kept in mind while choosing a solution: Type of institution: For most part, the “type” does not make a difference. Unless, of course, it is specialised, like an oceanography institute. It’s specific areas that need specific floor types. An institute teaching broadcast journalism, for example, would need soundproof studios—and floor coverings that absorb sound, like carpets. Space usage: Abrasion-resistance, porosity and sound absorption are factors to consider while making a selection. Also, vulnerability to chemicals, footfall, activity and noise-level (required and actual)—change with areas. Aesthetics: Projecting an image is important for institutions. Increasingly aesthetics is becoming a criterion. It is believed that traditional material (stone) gives an institution a “traditional” look, while vitrified tiles, wooden flooring and vinyl make it look more “modern”. Acoustics: Lecture rooms, seminar halls and auditoriums—in these areas sound is important. If the flooring, or indeed even the cladding, is made of hard material, sound is going to bounce off and echo. Softer flooring (vinyl, wood
Edu Tech December 2009
and carpet tiles) works well to enhance acoustics. However, for lecture rooms, architects tend to choose hardiness over acoustical quality. After all, these rooms are frequently used and cleaning becomes an issue. Geography: This affects selection in two ways—choosing a material suited for a region and availability (and cost) of material. Synthetic and manufactured flooring—vitrified tiles, vinyl and laminate—are available almost everywhere. Kota (or similar flaggy limestone) and marble may be common in north and northwest, but it would be tougher to find in other areas. Similarly, Kadappa (Cuddappah) stone and granite are quarried in south, and, would be cheaper there. In terms of suitability, architects will tell you that since flooring is mostly a part of the interiors, it is not exposed to elements. However, there are concerns like say floor strength and whether a floor needs to be reinforced before an edifice stands over it. Depth of the water table in the institution area is also a concern. If an institution is placed in a high-altitude zone, reinforcement and waterproofing of the flooring is essential. If the area is earthquake-prone, anti-earthquake measures need to be taken—Druk White Lotus School (Ladakh) used timber frames and steel connections to offset seismic movements. There is also the India-specific issue of excessive dust for which Indian architects limit the use of soft flooring. Physical attributes: At a broad level, there are two criteria to consider while judging a floor—its hardness (abrasionresistance) and porosity. Structural properties (capacity to absorb water) are cardinal as well, especially if the floor is to be placed in a toilet, or near a swimming pool, or outdoors. Technical properties such as planarity need to be considered so that level differences don’t occur. Mechanical properties, such as a floor’s load-bearing capacity, are critical if the material is being used under library bookcases. Resistance to chemicals, thermal shocks, stains and slips needs to be kept in mind in areas used more often. Materials like laminates and rubber flooring can be tweaked to suit the
Edu Tech March 2010
‘Functionally And Aesthetically The Choice And Range Are Limitless’ Design firm Morphogenesis designed the Pearl Academy of Fashion in Jaipur and received awards for it in India and overseas, including the coveted Best Learning Building, World Architecture Festival Awards, Barcelona-2009. We spoke to Sonali Rastogi, the architect and co-founder of Morphogenesis, on the flooring choices Please tell us the reasons for your choices We chose terrazzo for the building, except laboratories. These were made in-situ (onsite), so that it could be laid along curves and provide an ease of installation. For laboratories we used Kota, which is solid and hardy. To give the structure strength and for the outdoors, we used Kadappa which is known to be strong. How do you choose a flooring solution? Hard material that are permanent, look good over time and is vandal-proof is advisable for institutional spaces. Functionally and aesthetically, the choice and range are limitless. Can you give us some specific examples? Common spaces prone to wear and tear require extremely cost-effective and durable materials such as cement in-situ, terrazzo or Kota. Sonali Rastogi Architect, Co-founder, Morphogenesis
How do flooring solutions vary on basis of climate and geographic conditions? More dusty and dry environments require hardy materials, whereas wet climates require less porous stones. In the present day context, when we are looking at green solutions. Using local stuff is not only cost-effective, but helps reduce carbon footprint. For example, Jaipur being an extremely hot, dry and dusty city, fabric or textile-based flooring material were avoided. In India, wet mopping seems to be the most economical and efficient means of cleaning and maintenance. Is the one-size-fits-all approach a wise one? If it does work on a case-to-case basis, then yes.
user’s needs. It does add up to the overall cost, but the result is usually worth it. The size of an individual tile also impacts a floor’s strength and design. Smaller tiles can usually take on greater loads, as opposed to larger tiles.
One-Size-Fits-All There are two schools of thought. One
that believes in using the same surface all across (except in specialised areas). And another that believes that this approach is expensive in the long run. Saurabh Gupta, an architect with Vijay Gupta Associates, the firm that designed most Amity colleges and universities, says, “In the case of Amity, we agreed to restrict ourselves to the use of two types
Popular Desi options to suit pockets Material
Kota stone/ other local hard stones
Hard, almost impervious
High traffic areas, common areas, corridors, open areas, labs, lecture rooms and others
Tough, durable, resistant to Acoustic properties inappropriate chemicals, cheap (between Rs 20 for use in seminar rooms or to Rs 25 per square feet), easy auditoriums availability
Very hard, impervious
High traffic areas, common areas, public interface areas
Tough, durable, aesthetically pleasing especially once polished
Expensive (ranging from Rs 70 to Rs 140 per square feet), inappropriate for areas needing good acoustics
A softer stone, with low porosity
High traffic areas, common areas, public interface areas
Tough, durable, aesthetically pleasing especially once polished
Expensive (ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 100 per square feet), inappropriate for areas needing good acoustics, needs regular maintenance
Impervious, treated to be more flexible for various uses
Almost everywhere, especially public interface and common areas, hostel rooms, lecture rooms
Huge variety available for different uses, easily available, adaptable to different budgets, several designs available
Replacement is a problem, with shades varying over time. Can’t take very heavy load
Padded, textile finish
Lecture rooms, seminar rooms, studios, auditoriums
Acoustic properties very high
Not durable, vulnerable to harsh chemicals, stains, wear and tear
of flooring material—granite and Kota. The first benefit was speedier construction. Also, maintenance was easier. In case of vitrified tiles, if one is broken, it becomes difficult to replace it in a running campus. Also, the floor should look new over the years.” Nirbhik, however, says, “Floor finishes must be considered differently. They should respond to design aesthetics and should be easy to maintain. Typically, a one-size-fits-all solution is prevalent, but over the long run, it makes the work of the housekeeping staff difficult.”
International Perspective In construction, the material you use has to be locally available or manufactured, unless there is a very specific requirement. In the US, for example, using natural stone is often not possible, since natural stone finishes are not available. Instead, synthetically created surfaces find their way into institutions. Considerations such as traffic levels, durability and acoustic properties are
same the world over. The debate between using hard versus soft surface is also the same, though definitions might change. With “green” being embraced the world over, institution flooring can’t be far behind. Buildings today aspire to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings, a system first created by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Today, the system is accepted in several parts of the world. In India, too, LEED certification is becoming an important consideration. The rating considers overall factors, specifications for materials and resources; indoor air quality (IAQ); and innovation and design process include flooring. Some ways in which flooring can be turned green is by using material that can be recycled, reuse of construction waste debris, use of adhesives and sealants manufactured by low-emission processes, use of rapidly renewable material such as bamboo and natural rubber. While deciding the flooring, an architect
and an institution’s management play an equal role. If they work together, sustainable ideas can be effectively implemented. In absence of specialised consultants, an architect has to rely on her research and parlay with manufacturers. An institution management, therefore, must be in close touch with the architect when decisions are being taken. In longestablished universities, such as Delhi University, there is a university engineer who oversees projects. In the US, there is a director of building services. Thus, a little bit of planning can go a long way—especially when an institute’s floor is at stake.
What’s Online To read more stories on Campus go to the EDU website www.edu-leaders.com Write in your views and opinions about the stories in this magazine or on any other issues relating to higher education. Send them to the Editor, EDU at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 2010 Edu Tech
Summer Schools for Internship Madness
he winter semester is usually insane for me. During this time, my mailbox is flooded by requests from students who find my area of research “exciting”, and wish to work with me during summer. Of course, the same student sends the identical e-mail to every one else in my department. And sometimes, students from a single college use a common template for these “personal” e-mails.
More than 50,00,000 students are annually admitted to some IT department or another. In that number, approximately 10,00,000 (usually the second-year students) aspire to complete a summer internship in some IT business house. That’s because, in most cases, universities make some sort of industrial training mandatory. However, it is obvious that the “industry” alone cannot handle 10,00,000 summer interns. In fact, they cannot even handle one-tenth of that number. Perhaps keeping this reality in mind, some universities have relaxed this norm and have allowed a summer project report (obtained from any educational institution) to substitute for industrial training. With this relaxation, the concept of industry exposure has gone for a toss and people like me have started to receive the e-mails. But, it is not just me who has been affected by the changed concept of internship. An industry has developed around it as well. If a student does not get any summer internship in any business house, and his or her university allows a
Edu Tech March 2010
project report, then professional (project report) writers are contacted. These miracle men whip out a wide array of project options—software or hardware, networking or databases. They tweak a report here and there, and present a final paper without ever setting foot inside a laboratory, library or an office. Then there is the frugal student who wishes to save his or her cost even further. I receive several requests from such boys and girls who, after downloading a report from the online portal of a university, cannot identify the software. Thus, they need a professor’s help (sought discreetly of course) before submitting their reports. Even genuine work experience is sometimes available at a price. A handful of companies charge for the “privileges” (internship) they accord. In exchange for the money provided, companies are happy to grant a certificate stating that the student in question did “wonderfully well“. And that had it not been for him or her (and the project report) the company’s share prices would have plummeted. (Indeed, if they did not earn a fat packet from the interns, the companies would be making losses in the market) More enterprising (and richer) students manage twin internships during a single summer— again paying a price. Instead of an eight to tenweek internship, they complete two such internships (of four to five week duration) within a single summer. Work done!
Summer Sessions Is there a solution to this madness? Clearly it is not possible for the industry and the academia combined to provide 100,000 IT students meaningful engagement for weeks in summer. A single faulty member can possibly handle no more than five students. An industry employee would be able to handle even less. A possible solution is to engage students in classrooms and labs during summer. In this space, too, there is a lot of industry activity. Several companies offer summer courses—sometimes in general areas such as programming, and in many cases in specific areas such as networking, data mining and animation. This allows a useful option to those who can’t get summer internship slots, but don’t just want a certificate or a project report. However, even this model handles only a fraction of the requirement. Universities and institutions could play a role in addressing this gap between demand and supply. Institutions could offer a vibrant optional summer term for students and teachers. Industrial training should be made an option. Teachers, too,
Institutes could also invite faculty from other colleges and universities. Whereas during general semesters institutions cannot allow faculty members to teach somewhere else, in summer, such restrictions may be relaxed. Colleges and universities should try to attract students from other colleges and universities for the summers, giving a student multiple options to choose from before finalising on a single course in any university or college. One would also like to see a system of credits and credit-transfer whereby such courses can count towards the degree requirement of their university. Institutions should be allowed to charge a tuition fee for these courses, like they do for regular semesters. Since the incremental cost of running a summer course should ideally be low, savings may be passed on to students, while the surplus can be created to improve facilities.
IIT Example We had started such a summer school at IIT Kanpur 10 years ago. The idea was to offer quality courses— similar to those taught in the regular
niversities and institutions could play a role in addressing this gap between demand and supply (of summer internship projects)
should be given the freedom to decide if they wish to pursue personal research or teach. A summer term is beneficial for all stakeholders in a university system. It improves the quality of education and allows students to recover from the regular semester’s poor performance. It also allows passionate teachers to earn extra remuneration. It allows infrastructure utilisation during an otherwise lean period, and creates a surplus for an institution. It allows faculty and student exchange in a natural way, thereby creating opportunities for collaborations in other spheres. Because the number of students would be less during summer, only the best teachers should be selected to teach in the summer courses. Since the term would be optional for the faculty, therefore heads of departments could seek out good teachers and improve quality. Of course, the teachers should be adequately compensated.
semesters—to those who did not get admission. Schedule and content was designed in such a way that a student could pursue twin courses in the first year, two in the second and two more in his or her third year. Students, who completed the six high-quality courses and received an exposure to the IIT system, were more interested in pursuing postgraduate education from IITs. They also forged lifelong alliances with IITians. We had selected faculty members from other institutions, a move that encouraged collaborations and enabled surplus income. Hostels, classrooms and labs, otherwise under-utilised during summers were used productively. The programme continued for three years. The first year, we had 30 students. The second year, we had 200 students, and in the third, there were 2,000 applications. We could only accept 800. Unfortunately, the programme was abandoned later on.
Dheeraj Sanghi Dr Sanghi is the director of Laxmi Narayan Mittal Institute of Information Technology, Jaipur. He is currently on leave from IIT Kanpur, where he is a professor of computer science. He has a BTech in computer science from IIT Kanpur and an MS and a PhD from University of Maryland, USA . He can be reached at dheeraj. email@example.com
March 2010 Edu Tech
Rishikesha T. Krishnan
Taking A Fresh Look at Industry Collaboration
ollaboration between industry and academia in India has been restricted to one dimension— talent. It made sense. Graduating students needed jobs and companies on a sharp growth curve needed to hire talented people. But, if we wish to become an economic superpower, industry and academia will have to collaborate in a more sophisticated fashion. The good news is that the quality of interaction in the talent sphere has improved over time. Many professional colleges now teach soft skills, such as communication and teamwork, to help graduates make a smooth transition to a corporate environment. Companies share resources (curricula and material created for internal training) with colleges, so that graduates are “industry-ready”. Industry is represented on AICTE’s and universities’ boards of studies, so that the curriculum incorporates their needs. Indian companies offer internships and short-term projects to students to give them an opportunity to learn what the industry is about. Internships give companies a chance to evaluate students first-hand. But there is more, much more, that this collaboration can offer. Academia could potentially contribute to basic research and do open explorations to build a knowledge pool to support industry’s innovation efforts. It could also do problem-solving and consulting for the industry, provide continuing education and training, and test and validate industry ideas. On its part, the
Edu Tech March 2010
industry can help identify promising streams of research for academia to work on. It could support academic research programmes in areas of mutual interest and commercialise intellectual property created through academic research. Globally, the concept of “open innovation” has become popular with corporations and academic institutions being the important players in such networks. Why doesn’t this higher level of interaction happen in India? There is evidently a problem on the demand side. Industry doesn’t believe that Indian academic institutions are useful partners. In fact, many top Indian companies (read: Infosys, Mahindra & Mahindra and TCS) are forging relationships with foreign universities, rather than Indian ones. Whether this is driven by a genuine need for outcome, or a desire to enjoy branding benefits of such associations, is difficult to say. Another problem on the demand side is a lack of emphasis on research and development (R&D) within companies. According to latest R&D statistics published by the Union department of science and technology, more than 60 percent of Indian industry’s expenditure on R&D is concentrated in two sectors—pharmaceuticals and transportation. Given that the total R&D expenditure is also small (India spends less than one percent of its GDP compared to three percent spent by Korea or Japan!), this points to low spends in the rest of the economy.
Rishikesha T. Krishnan
There are major supply side issues, too. Academia can contribute effectively to the industry knowledge needs only when it emphasises the importance of deep expertise in specific areas. Specialisation and drilling down leads to insights that would create new knowledge. Yet, Indian institutions of higher learning rarely facilitate faculty specialisation. They feel no disquiet in asking a professor to teach an unrelated subject just to ensure that the curriculum is completed on time. Colleges keep faculty so busy teaching that they have little time for research. The infrastructure needed for research in terms of laboratories and equipment is inadequate. And performance measurement, incentive and compensation systems, are poorly designed (or non-existent) to support the development of such deep expertise. This problem is compounded by the absence of strong postgraduate programmes (particularly in engineering). The world over, scaling-up of research efforts in universities happens thanks to an army of graduate students doing master’s and doctoral research. Yet, in India, only the Indian Institute of Science and the IITs offer postgradu-
projects in recent years was the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). When the LCA project started in the mid Eighties, the country faced serious handicaps in composite materials, avionics and technologies. Kota Harinarayana, who headed the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) created for the LCA project, realised that it would not be possible to create all the needed expertise within ADA or HAL. He, therefore, visited all leading engineering schools in India, made an assessment of the expertise available, and created a large collaborative platform. Soon, he understood that individual faculty members lacked either managerial expertise, or interest to manage projects. So, ADA worked with them to break the problem down into manageable pieces, each of which could be tackled as a PhD or MTech project. ADA funded the infrastructure wherever necessary and did the overall management and co-ordination. Another impressive effort was Samtel Display Technology Centre set up in IIT Kanpur. By physically locating the centre on campus, Samtel was able to draw on IIT faculty and students. Here, too, an understanding of motivations played a
n important priority is to ensure that the faculty know their facts and have an area of expertise
ate engineering programmes of any stature. And, with the large number of jobs available today, few students wish to delay their financial independence by going into postgraduate programmes. An important priority is to ensure that the faculty know their facts and have an area of expertise. Of course, once they have this depth of knowledge, better understanding of the problem in context of the industry will help them apply their knowledge better. Complicating this scenario is the fact that the industry and the academia don’t understand each other. When industry gives academia a problem to solve, they often don’t define it adequately. On its part, the academia has its blind spots, too. It tends to see the industry as the golden goose and tries to squeeze as much as it can from it. Though there are no silver bullets, luckily there are pointers as to how to move forward. One of India’s most successful technology development
role. Professor K.R. Sarma, a legendary professor of IIT Kanpur, joined Samtel soon after his retirement as adviser (technology). Professor Sarma was able to set the expectations, and structure the interaction for mutual benefit by starting with smaller projects. The LCA and Samtel experiences underline the importance of boundary-spanners—individuals who can understand each other. This is one of the reasons why mobility across organisational boundaries is important. Moving on to the next level of academia-industry collaboration will need patience. We can start by creating the right conditions—facilitating creation of knowledge and expertise in academia; promoting mobility in both directions; and employing individuals with boundary-spanning expertise in both academia and industry. Taking this forward will involve considerable “learningby-doing”—so, let’s start now.
Rishikesha T. Krishnan Dr Krishnan is a professor of Corporate Strategy at IIM Bangalore. He has a MSc in Physics from IIT Kanpur, MS in EngineeringEconomic Systems from Stanford University, and a PhD from IIM Ahmedabad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 2010 Edu Tech
Edu Tech March 2010
lead to big bucks
A closer look With franchising models chalking up double-digit growth in the vocational & IT segments, the lack of action in higher education space is surprising by parul gupta ILLUSTRATION photo.com March 2010 Edu Tech
F F Strategy
ollowing the McDonald’ franchise model, can India create top-notch institutes right at its doorstep? A National Knowledge Commission report estimates that approximately 1.6 million Indian students studying overseas spend close to $4 billion annually (at current exchange rates) on their education. The sum is impressive. And it has drawn the attention of domestic players to this sector. The players are mulling a decision to offer better opportunities and options right here. In the process, they hope, the gross enrolment ratio would also rise from its current 12 percent to the required average of 30 percent—a miracle that they and the government plan to perform by 2020.
Developing countries such as India have been the ideal destinations for foreign educational providers (FEPs). And the imminent passage of the Foreign Educators Providers Bill is likely to accelerate opportunities and collaborations. But the big question is: why should top international universities consider setting up operations in India? Aashima Agashe, the head of the international office of Symbiosis, asks, “Where else will they go? China’s population is getting older. India has a young demography, which is relevant to higher education institutions.” With an estimated 50 percent of its population falling under the 25 years bracket; about 80 to 90 million students become eligible for higher education every year. However, the more immediate provocation for foreign education providers to look at overseas pastures has been the call for a reduction in tuition costs that rose sharply in the past
years. And the most popular model, pursued by British and Australian universities, has been to franchise their courses. The Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, estimates the franchising trade to be worth $250 million annually. The latest Franchise India report states that in India education services (including IT) leads all sectors in franchising, accounting for almost 32 percent of the market share. With 17 percent share in organised sector of education industry, it offers an impressive potential for providers interested in spreading their concepts through franchising.
Ready to Race The president of Franchise India Holdings Limited, Gaurav Marya, says that in any franchising model, the franchiser gets the benefit of a brand penetrating deeper into markets that it would have otherwise not ventured into. The model also offers greater access to capital and a reduction in the risk of setting up operations. On the other hand, while the franchisee provides infrastructure (physical and people), it benefits from putting lower investment, reduced risk, a shorter learning curve and economies of scale.
“Where else will they go? China’s population is getting older. India has a young demography, which is relevant...”
“If the franchisee is in it only for the money and misuses the franchiser’s name, the brand equity of the parent school suffers”
“When we asked Leeds to set up its campus here, we wanted it to have complete control over curriculum, content and faculty”
—Aashima Agashe, Head of international offices, Symbiosis
—Ashok Kolaskar, Advisor, National Knowledge Commission
—Abhishek Mohan Gupta, Director, Leeds Met India
Edu Tech March 2010
It also receives the support from the franchiser for business systems, operations, advertising, promotions, recruitment and training. “But, in the education sector franchising is not just about lending a name. International experience shows that the franchisee has full power to run programmes designed by franchiser,” said professor T.M. Sathyanarayanan, the director of Pune-based Overseas Education Consultancy Services. He adds that in a sound franchise agreement, the franchisee has control over the academic, administrative and financial issues (read: admission criteria, academic eligibility, infrastructure standards and overseas faculty). In return, the franchisee pays a royalty and a fee to the franchiser. Depending on the model, royalty varies from 10 to 30 percent of the total tuition fee. So, a franchisee fee can be anywhere between 100,000 to 300,000 units of the franchiser’s local currency. The franchising institution continuously monitors certain aspects— quality of teaching, industry-readiness of students, adherence to critical parameters and finances.
Model Glitches! A closer look reveals that none of the FEPs have given any franchise licences to their Indian counterparts. Rather, the Ivy League (Harvard or Oxford) have been cagey about it. Some, like Leeds Met of UK and Lancaster have set up campuses here in association with Indian partners—Jagran Social Welfare Society (JSWS) and the Goenka Group, respectively. Wharton School of Business and the Kellogg School of Management have tied up with Indian institutions, provide content and faculty, or take in students for a semester or two for international exposure. Then, why has franchising not succeeded in higher education? India partner for Ernst & Young, Amitabh Jhingan, says that franchising is fundamentally not encouraged in Indian higher education space. However, the impending education Bill is expected to pave a path for franchising in the distance-education segment. “Once the franchising model there, it will help
STEAMING AHEAD The Manipal Education Group has aggressively used franchising to make a dent in the vocational training segment. Its managing director and chief executive officer, Anand Sudarshan, speaks to EDU on the road ahead: Why has franchising remained limited to the vocational segment and not reached the higher education segment? Primarily because the government does not allow franchising in higher education. Again, since higher education institutions come under Section 25 of the Indian Companies Act, profit-making is not allowed. On the contrary, though vocational training is ideally meant for the needy, profit-making is allowed. While the National Council for Vocational Training does prepare a framework, there are no obligatory regulatory conditions to be fulfilled. Licensing is not required in higher education. Instead, the accreditation system work well. It allows creativity to flourish and innovations to thrive.
Will franchising have a place in higher education in future? The word franchising evokes a picture of McDonalds where a standard product is created locally through a highly repeatable process-centric fashion (much like a manufacturing line) and delivered to the point of customer touch. This does not hold true for education. Instead collaborative arrangements like the dual-degree mechanism will work better, maintaining a level Anand Sudarshan of quality, process and curriculum. Other modMD Manipal Education Group els may include collaboration in which a local partner provides physical infrastructure, while the international education provider controls content, curriculum and quality.
If the model has to succeed, what role does the government, franchiser and franchisee have to play? The government will have to describe a clear framework and define responsibilities of the local provider and the brand owner. Care must be taken to thwart educational malpractices. Degree-providers will have to ensure that the operations are run by them and that they maintain quality—since their reputation will also be at stake. The local partner will have to engage with students in entirety and manage academic issues, administration, faculty, operations and financials responsibly. The private equity players will have to understand that higher education will follow an evolutionary model in India and that may take time. form guidelines for franchising of physical campuses,” he adds. While no inroads have been made in higher education, franchising has found takers in vocational and training sector, in coaching centres and even in the playschool space. Jhingan says, “The model
works because it’s a mass-market product with a three to six month course duration, uniform delivery and it requires a widespread distribution.” According to E&Y-Edge 2009 report, this model was responsible for almost 50 percent of the operations of both NIIT and March 2010 Edu Tech
Manipal Group. In fact, the success of the NIIT led the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) to dub it as the “McDonald of Software Business” in 2000. Since education is also about the brand, franchising makes a brand reputation fragile. “There are limited positive upsides, and several downsides to franchising,” said a representative of a reputed foreign university, who preferred to remain anonymous. He explained that while the positive side was the possibility of expansion of the brand name and economic benefits, the problem was exposure to reputation damage. “While only a couple of hundred students are involved in vocational or coaching courses, some 10,000 to 20,000 careers are at stake when it comes to a university campus,” he explained. He added that at the university level, one dealt with a sophisticated consumer with high expectations. Choosing the right partner, therefore, becomes crucial. “If the franchisee is in it only for the money and misuses the franchiser’s name, the brand equity of the parent institution will suffer,” says professor Ashok S. Kolaskar, the advisor of National Knowledge Commission. Kolaskar said that unlike a McDonald’s or a Pizza Hut, that can sever ties with a
could be jeopardised in a university campus leading to bad reputation if a franchise model fails franchisee immediately, an institution cannot close down overnight. “It will take at least three to four years to wind up, as students cannot be left in a lurch,” he added. The advisor also believes that while it is possible to standardise the quality and delivery of products such as a sandwich or a pizza across outlets, it’s not possible to churn out the same students from every campus. Educators also stress that education is not about delivering content alone. “Students learn in a cultural context that is tough to standardise,” says Parag Shah, the chairman of Foundation for Liberal and Management Education (FLAME), a Pune-based institution. Interestingly,
“Once the franchising model is there, it will help form guidelines for franchising of physical campuses”
“Franchiser gets the benefits of a brand penetrating into markets that it would have otherwise not have”
—Amitabh Jhingan India Partner, Ernst & Young
—Gaurav Marya President, Franchise India Holdings Limited
Edu Tech March 2010
while franchisers remain wary, so do the franchisees. The director of Leeds Met India, Abhishek Mohan Gupta, said, “When we asked Leeds to set up its campus here, we wanted it to have complete control over curriculum, content and faculty.” He explains that the present breed of students were wise enough to gauge what was being offered. Apart from the risk of diluting quality, other risks include overpricing, fraudulent documentation (of students and faculty) and conflict of interest created by multilateral programmes. For instance, UK-based educational chain Wigan & Leigh faced a number of complaints regarding their fee structure, faculty and degrees in its Pune branch. Last year it lost a case filed by a student who alleged that the institute had failed to deliver.
Collaboration Route Manish Kumar Baheti, the chief executive officer at Knowledge Tree Infrastructure Limited (KTIL), believes that a symbiotic relationship between Indian partner (providing physical infrastructure) and foreign partner (providing financial and intellectual infrastructure) was more likely to work than a typical franchising model—even after FDI is allowed and regulations are eased. Models will develop around two considerations—giving international exposure to domestic students and bringing overseas universities to India. “As the market opens up, all models will coexist because there is enough demand,” Jhingan (E&Y) said. Franchising will not be the wisest move unless careful monitoring is done by the home institute, believes Agashe of Symbiosis. She adds that India is ready for education liberalisation and the entry of FEPs would infuse a healthy competition—if regularised and monitored.
What’s Online To read more articles on strategy go to the EDU Website www.edu-leaders.com Write in your views and opinions about the stories in this magazine or on any other issues relating to higher education. Send them to the Editor, EDU at email@example.com
Edu Tech December 2009
Recruiting & Retention
The Three Rs Worrying Academia Educational institutions in India are coping with the challenges of recruiting and retaining faculty, as well as rejuvenating campuses, to make them happier places to work in By Smita tripathi
eye stoppers 21 percent of the 9,261 teaching posts in central universities are presently lying vacant—University Grants Commission report 64 percent of respondents in a recent survey stated that they left institutes because of poor compensation
Edu Tech March 2010
hen the alumni of a blue chip institution band together to come up with a plan to help their alma mater retain faculty, you know there is a crisis. Three years ago, at its 25th reunion, the 1983 batch of the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, (IIT Mumbai) launched a programme called Gurudakshina. The objective was to help the institution recruit, and retain, a world-class faculty. Highlights of this programme included a Rs 300,000 signing bonus for the new faculty, and the institution of a “Top Faculty Awards” to reward excellence in research, lab development, classroom teaching and other selected professional activities, each award being worth Rs 40,000. The corpus for the awards was created through donations from alumni.
Recruiting & Retention
No More Noble Once revered as a noble profession, teaching is increasingly becoming the job of last resort—largely on account of the monetary compensation offered in this sector. For the resource-strapped world of academia, therefore, booster shots are welcome. Meerut-based Shobhit University, for example, recently launched its Young Faculty Capacity Building Scheme in collaboration with the University of Westminster, London. As a part of this initiative, Shobhit University will be sponsoring one faculty member to complete a PG programme from the University of Westminster, under a full tuition fee waiver scholarship. The programme, besides being a recruitment and retention strategy, aims to create qualified talent with international exposure. According to a survey titled “Universities of India-2008” carried out by knowledge solutions firms, Dun & Bradstreet and Mindlogicx, faculty retention is one of the key problems plaguing present Indian universities. The total number of enrolled students in Indian higher education institutions has grown by 81 percent for the academic sessions of 2006-07 and 2007-08. However, faculty recruitment has not been able to keep pace. The pupilto-teacher ratio has also changed from 1:15 to 1:22 in the same period. According to an Emerging Directions in Global Education (EDGE)-sponsored survey, “Faculty Recruitment and Retention– Issues and Challenges”, conducted by March Consulting in March, 2009, the average attrition rate in engineering, management and medical institutes is about 25 percent per annum. The IIT Mumbai alumni initiative has served as a catalyst for the government, as well as the private sector, to come up with innovations that can raise the satisfaction index of teachers. The University Grants Commission (UGC), concerned by a survey that revealed a whopping 21 percent of the 9,261 teaching posts in central universities were lying vacant, came up with a detailed set of prescriptions. Several committees—the GK Chaddha UGC Pay Review Committee and the Yash Pal Committee on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Educa-
How International Universities Retain Their Crème de la Crème This January, Cambridge University, for the first time in its 800-year history, issued bonds to raise £400 million from the markets. The aim: to develop better residential and research facilities for its faculty. Recruiting and retaining faculty is as much a challenge abroad, as it is in India. But, overseas universities are proactive when it comes to meeting these twin challenges. Take the example of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, where a committee is in place to develop particular hiring goals. Faculty positions are advertised in journals, conferences and department websites, and a database of promising potential candidates is created. In addition, the committee develops personal contacts with potential candidates at meetings and conferences. So each time a committee member meets a bright professor at a conference, or an informal meeting, he makes a note of the candidate for future reference. This way whenever a position falls vacant, the institute already has a databank. Most universities realise that recruiting the right faculty is half the battle won, but they also need to hold on to their talented staff. Measures are taken to ensure that the university is a happy place to work in. For instance, the University of Washington ensures complete transparency in promotion and tenure process. It also provides consultants for confidential discussions on the career paths for the faculty. On a personal front, the University of Washington organises monthly outings for the faculty and their families. The contributions of the faculty are also recognised and publicly appreciated. Mentoring plays an important role. Every junior faculty member has a mentor who advocates and creates opportunities for the junior faculty member. He also helps the new member to blend in. Faculty development programmes are the norm. Leadership development workshops, promotion and tenure workshops are organised on a regular basis. University of Washington also provides career opportunities for the spouse of the faculty, and allows a year-long tenure extension for faculty availing long leave.
tion—have come up with innovative ideas. Others like EDGE, a forum of leading academics, have also made radical recommendations. However, many of the suggestions are yet to be acted upon. Ask Shashi Gulhati, a retired professor of IIT Delhi and the former CEO of Educational Consultants India Ltd. (EdCIL), if institutes are doing enough to meet the twin challenges of recruitment and retention—he replies in a firm no. He adds: “We need to recognise that today teaching is just another profession. It will have takers only to the extent to which it is attractive. We need to make it attractive… The demand can be fulfilled only if we are willing to pay for it.” An alarming fact related to the issue of staff qualification is that nearly 34 percent
of faculty at engineering colleges of India hold only a bachelor’s degree. The scenario is equally bleak in management institutes where upto 68 percent of the faculty hold just a masters degree—and they teach a masters degree programme.
Where Are the Teachers? The big poser before Indian universities today is—where to hire from? “The issue is how to attract bright, intelligent and focused individuals who are willing to make a career in teaching and research. Alas, this tribe is rapidly vanishing. The few who do join in as faculty in engineering colleges after graduating, are taunted by classmates,” laments Gulhati. The need is to set up institutes that train March 2010 Edu Tech
Recruiting & Retention
“Just The IIT Brand Name Is Not Good Enough” M. Thenmozhi, a professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai, who is also the chairman of the All India IIT Faculty Federation talks about how IIT retains its faculty What is the chief problem plaguing varsity faculty? The basic problem is that academics (as a career option) is losing its charm. We need to attract quality talent to the IITs. The applications we receive are not of a very high standard. Also, when we approach people we are interested in, we are rejected. Nowadays, there are opportunities here in India that a meritorious student might avail. We not only need to keep that talent in India, we must also attract people (NRIs) from overseas. A number of people wish to return home, but we have to make the return worthwhile. In the current scenario, such academics feel that they will have to make a lot of sacrifices and compromises to come back. Earlier, faculty members of the IITs would take leave to teach or engage in consultancy services, nowadays teachers don’t mind quitting if it becomes boring. Just the IIT brand name is not good enough anymore. M. Thenmozhi, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai
What are the IITs doing to retain staff?
IITs across the nation are taking myriad steps to retain faculty. However, keep in mind that these are steps that the IITs are taking, and not the government. For instance, IIT Chennai is offering a research grant of Rs 200,0000 for its faculty, along with medical benefits which is available even post-retirement. The government has raised the retirement age to 65 and there is talk that it will be changed further—to 70 years. The Centre needs to be sensitive to faculty needs and understand that teachers, too, need to be encouraged to engage in research and need to be provided performance-linked initiatives.
You have been teaching for nearly a decade ignoring the opportunities that you have talked of? You have stuck around, why? I like teaching. The fact that I contribute to the development of my country is important to me. Plus, IITs provide independence as far as research is concerned. Quality of publication here is also better. Moreover, the academic and research environment at IIT is more motivating. and develop talented faculty. The Azim Premji University, which is likely to start in 2011, aims to do that. It envisages creating a resource pool of educators by developing teaching talents through specialised training programmes. The university also aims to develop thinkers and leaders who can serve as a think tanks for long-term education change.
Edu Tech March 2010
The University Grants Commission, in its part, has set up 66 Academic Staff Colleges across the country, which are aimed at faculty development. However, these colleges have so far not found favour with private universities. But, even if new teachers are trained and added to the academic work-force, institutions—especially government universi-
ties—need to rejig their recruitment process. Selection processes are often mired in controversy, and unions, quotas and reservations only compound the problem.
HR Planning According to the EDGE-March survey, nearly 35 percent of the institutes do not have any annual HR planning. Moreover, nearly 36 percent do not have any recruitment committees to identify and define the requirements. Not surprisingly, the situation is worse in government universities. Nishchae Suri, the president of the School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL), which focuses on leadership, says: “Many institutes teach students how to become good managers. Surprisingly, the institute itself doesn’t function like a professional organisation. The staff and faculty at educational institutions are also employees and require a well-structured HR team that looks after their welfare.” Manoj Kumar, the assistant professor of Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, who has written a paper on attracting and retaining faculty in technical institutions for an international conference on management, says: “The recruitment and selection process is responsive, rather than being proactive. Faculty searches are sometimes not authorised until well into the recruitment season, which in most cases begins in March-April, for a position to be filled the following academic year.” As a result, not enough time is devoted for a thorough search. He suggests that institutes should lure fresh PhD candidates by writing to universities running doctoral programmes, in addition to directly contacting candidates who have completed their PhDs in the past five years. Then, there is the actual selection process. Suri feels that universities need to do a “fitment test”. “Universities need to explore whether candidates fit their visions and values. After all, you teach who you are. If the faculty fits, there will be a strong sense of ownership and belonging, and this will help an institute to grow,” he says. One stopgap measure to fill the vacuum is to increase the retirement age of teachers.
Recruiting & Retention
The GK Chaddha Committee report advocates increasing the retirement age to 65 years, with re-employment opportunities up to 70 years. The Oversight Committee, headed by Veerappa Moily, for the implementation of new reservation policy in higher education institutes, has also suggested ways of keeping more teachers in the system. For instance, it suggests engaging retired faculty on three-year contracts, expanding visiting or adjunct faculty; increasing workload of existing faculty; motivating existing faculty with additional compensation; and providing a one-time joining allowance or relocation grant.
Most technical institutes offer paltry sums to their faculty (pegged to UGC or AICTE scales). IIT and IIM faculty get a compensation package ranging from $11,000 to $14,000 per annum. Compare this to private coaching institutes that pay better. Senior teachers in the Delhi-based FIIT JEE allegedly earn $32,500 per annum. A typical B-School in the US and the UK offers salaries in the range of $80,000 to $120,000 per annum. “The problem with UGC or AICTE scales is that they remain fixed and do not respond to the changing realities of the labour market, unless the next pay commission is constituted by the government. This happens only once in 10 years,” says Kumar. True enough. Especially, if one notes that the IITs are demanding a 45 percent hike over the VI Pay Commission reccomendations in order to remain competitive. IIT Chennai is already offering a research grant of Rs 20,00,000 to an all new faculty (See Box). The Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), Hyderabad, is providing monetary incentives linked to the number of training sessions conducted and directed. It is also sanctioning 52 days of leave in a year for personal consultancy and a major share of the consultancy fees can be
Making Them Stick Getting teachers is only half the problem. The bigger challenge that higher educational institutions face today is retaining faculty. Each institute is both a prey and the predator. Here is what experts say will work.
Using the cash card Nearly 64 percent of respondents in the EDGE-March survey said they left their institutes because of poor compensation, while another 56 percent were dissatisfied with employee benefits.
Bypassing The Recruitment And Retention Policy Route Do educational hubs think an assessment is needed?
30 20 10 0
Source: March Counsultancy & Research, Hyderabad (2009)
retained by the faculty member, while a fraction goes to the college.
Giving a free rein While attractive compensation packages can attract talent, greater academic freedom in terms of flexible working hours, opportunity and facilities for research and scope for upgradation of their skills is what makes the faculty stay on. Kumar says: “Academia is different. Teachers do not like to be told what to do, and what not to do. For them their freedom in terms of quality of work is supreme.” Agrees M. Thenmozhi, a professor at IIT Chennai and the president of the All India IIT Faculty Federation (AIIITFF). “The IITs give you a lot of freedom for research which is a big plus when compared to a lot of private institutes where the teaching load is so high that one hardly gets time for research.” Realising this, the ASCI has given the faculty the freedom to decide between training sessions, consultancies and research, with no fixed hours mandated. Also, once the faculty member has completed five years at ASCI he is eligible for lien of upto two years. “A person can go and work at another institution for a couple of years and return to ASCI. This gives him a chance to broaden his horizons,” explains Raj Ponnaluri, the dean of management programmes for ASCI.
Providing growth opportunities
Annual HR Planning for Recruitment Assessment 80
According to the EDGE-March survey, nearly 94 percent of the faculty members weigh growth opportunities before joining an institute. One of the key reasons for the exodus of faculty from government colleges is the slow pace of promotions and bleak chances of making it to the top. Private institutes, on the other hand, offer decidedly faster promotions and greater likelihood of becoming the dean or the vice chancellor. Performance-linked promotions can serve as a powerful tool for rewarding excellence, and thus, retaining top performers. “At ASCI promotions are performance based. If you perform well you can get promoted within a couple of years. On the other hand, if you are an underperMarch 2010 Edu Tech
Recruiting & Retention
Practice Pat: Private Engineering Institutions Show HR Promise More technical hubs use positive HR practice followed by management and medical institutes. 80
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YES Source: March Counsultancy & Research, Hyderabad (2009)
former you may even be demoted,” admits Ponnaluri of ASCI. Institutes are realising that having outsiders fill up senior posts that fall vacant has an adverse affect on the morale of the faculty. As an alternative, N. Chandrashekhar, a Chennai-based recruitment consultant that helps fund faculty for south India colleges, suggests: “Whenever a position falls vacant, applications should first be invited from the existing staff. Interviews should be conducted and only when no suitable internal candidate is found, the position should be advertised.”
Investing in faculty development “Just as any other organisation develops its staff, focus on grooming and mentoring of academic faculty is essential. The right kind of environment—a platform for growth—is also important. Institutes need to provide the staff with access to latest technology, as well as technical knowhow,” says Suri. Unfortunately, universities spend very little on upgrading teachers’ skills or exposing them to new methodologies. The EDGE-March report states that
Edu Tech March 2010
almost 85 percent of the institutes surveyed, did not sponsor training programmes for faculty. However, realities are changing. Jagannath University regularly hosts in-house faculty development and training programmes to keep teachers up-to-date. Pandey says: “These in-house programmes are a huge success, since they give an opportunity to the teachers at Jagannath University to hone their skills.” The university also grants paid academic leaves to its faculty to sit for examinations.
Providing infrastructure With rentals and property prices skyrocketing, well-maintained housing units within the campus is a way to attract and retain staff. Ponnaluri explains: “A growing number of our faculty wish to live on in Hyderabad. Since we provide accommodation, it acts as an incentive for them to work here.” Kumar feels that besides housing, institutes should also provide an in-campus school, hospital, supermarket and playing facilities—important for institutes being set up in smaller towns, or away from the metros.
Keeping the spouse happy Providing jobs for the spouse of the faculty member is another great retention strategy. Often highly-qualified teaching staff are not keen to change jobs because their spouses do not find jobs in the vicinity of new institutes, or because the spouses have jobs providing better benefits. “Institutes should take a leaf from multinational companies that are increasingly exercising spousal or partner employment as a retention strategy,” suggests Kumar.
Being transparent about appraisals According to Kumar, performance measurement parameters should be measurable, transparent and disclosed to all the faculty members. It is important that the institutes recognise the efforts and accomplishments of the faculty in both teaching and research activities. Performers can be recognised by financial, as well as nonfinancial, rewards. Institutes could include one-time bonus or cash rewards for accomplishment in one’s specialised field.
Offering employment guarantee “Once the university is satisfied with the faculty member, they should give him lifetime employment. This will give him the confidence to undertake more contrarian research, as well as act as a retention strategy,” says Bipaschit Bose, the CEO of Prospect, a search firm that did some hiring for ISB when it was starting out. In the next few years, the Indian higher education sector is poised to explode, with indications that foreign universities might be allowed in. The government itself is going in for an ambitious expansion of its IITs and IIMs, as well as setting up a slew of central universities. With experienced teachers at a premium, there is all the more reason for institutions to focus on ways to keep their staff happy. After all, an institution is only as good as its teachers.
What’s Online To read more items, and stories on administration go to the EDU website www.edu-leaders.com Write in your views and opinions about the stories in this magazine or on any other issues relating to higher education. Send them to the Editor, EDU at firstname.lastname@example.org
Edu Tech December 2009
Smart Storage For better Memory With new applications and teaching methods coming into play, the right storage solution makes a difference
ewer courses, an expanding base of demanding students and digital learning—today’s institutes face multiple challenges. To cope, these hubs have to invest in providing provide an international experience to students; 24/7 Internet connectivity, accessible learning material (in form of e-books), e-space within the campus IT network, access to performance and attendance-related data, e-trained teachers and a culture of research through repositories…the list is long. A substancial IT infrastructure is needed to enable this. Well-equipped computers, high-speed networks, Internet and the latest software, are all must-haves.
Edu Tech March 2010
By Pragya Singh
eye stopper Before selecting a solution, look at the cost, disk speed and back up server for the best buy Raid6, an advanced technology, ensures that data remain intact even if two drives in a single array fail
With all this informative data, storage becomes a key issue. Institutes are still not paying enough attention to this factor—as long as they have big, fat hard drives built into computers and servers. Imagine being able to pool all data generated by staff, teachers and students into an intelligent repository. A praiseworthy lesson plan by a teacher or a project report by a student is often lost in a sea of hard drives when a new computer or server replaces the old one. Most institutes are not cognisant of the volume and quality of information that drains out from the “institutional ecosystem”, as each student, or teacher, moves out. Is there a way to preserve the work they might have done at the institute? What is the usage of storage solutions in the education segment? We asked Anand Karapurkar, the director and founder of Infobahn Technologies, a company delivering IT-solutions to institutions. He says, “The storage market for this sector has not evolved. Reasons are the cost, which has come down drastically at an enterprise level, but is still high for the education segment. Also, the data generated by institutes are mainly student-related data with a short lifecycle. Though institutes are turning into smart campuses (with high-end IT infrastructure), few have created repositories that allow live access to students.” However, the statement is not true for all. According to Springboard Research’s August-2009 report, “Inside the Campus: IT in India’s Education Sector”, Storage Area Network (SAN), Wireless LAN (local area network), and ERP (enterprise resource planning) are the three most popular IT-solutions adopted by Indian institutes. But, no two institutes have the same storage requirements. And there is no one-size-fits-all solution. While there are institutes working with enterprise-level storage technologies, there are others happy with their PC-level storage. How do you then choose the right storage setup? And what factors should you consider while making a choice? How do you arrive at the right storage capacity that is capable of supporting new applications needed by a university? Let’s explore.
Different Needs All institutes are not alike as far as vision, number of students and courses are concerned. In spite of being part of the same industry, requirements are different. IIM Shillong runs enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, so there is a lot of online data generated, says professor Basav Roychoudury, the hub’s IT head. The institute’s servers have a dedicated 6 terabyte (TB) space for library purposes as well. According to Roychoudhury, “Our storage backbone is driven by NAS (Network Attached Storage) servers. Each server comprises a group of 20 disks with 140GB and are equipped with RAID level-5 technology to enable data redundancy. To regulate admissions, maintain student records, examinations and running of classrooms we have allocated certain disks on the servers. Backups are kept on tapes that are stored in a fire and electromagnetic resistant environment. The institute has been using this configuration for the past one-and-a-half years.” He adds, “To select the right kind of setup, the first criterion is to arrive at a capacity (for your institution). This capacity should be such that it is able to support added applications that may be required in the next five years. While choosing a storage setup, look for cost benefits, disk speed and backup server. Conduct a survey for the best deal. Bargain with vendors. Keep space for the operating system that will be running, and get an idea of the amount of data will be generated according to the number of students and multiply that with the number of years that the setup will be used, with enough redundancy built in. For technical reasons the entire disk space cannot be used and for
what’s new Android gets Opera The beta web browser—Opera Mini—is fast becoming the numero uno choice for mobile phone users. Offering PC-like ease of browsing, with features such as tabs, password manager, clutter-free interface and bookmarks, Opera seems to have won this round. Available on the Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and Javaenabled phones (Sony Ericsson and Nokia), now it also comes in phones running Google’s Android OS. Although the Android like other phone OS’s comes with its own browser, the ease and popularity of Opera will be a welcome option for Android users.
By mail order Missing all your mails in-flight? Try the Aircel’s Peek. The device is a physical QWERTY handset made for e-mails. Aircel claims that Peek is the thinnest email device ever and can support up to three e-mail accounts at a time. The clients supported are Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail and all POP3 or IMAP accounts. Peek supports push e-mail that allows automatic retrieval of new mails. The screen is two inches and five centimetres QVGA with no touch support. Find out more at www.aircel.com
Paris in 26 gigapixels Haven’t been to Paris? Then head to Paris at 26 Gigapixel—a site (www.paris-26-gigapixels.com) that showcases 2,346 high resolution pictures of France’s capital stitched together to give a visitor a panoramic view of the city. You can zoom in for greater detail.
March 2010 Edu Tech
efficient running a maximum of 70 percent to 75 percent can be.” “While choosing a system decide what applications would be run. In our institution, every student has a laptop, so we don’t have to run the students’ personal data on our system. We just have to allocate them 5 to 10 MB mailbox space depending on our learning management system,” he adds. Amity University, operating at an enterprise level, grew by more than 6,000 students in 2009. “Amity’s vision to provide the latest in terms of learning aids (e-labs, multimedia rich content, streaming video and video-on-
demand) has increased the need for storage,” admits Dr J.S. Sodhi, certified security compliance specialist (CSCS) and assistant vice president of IT at Amity. Amity has a 24TB storage space mainly for folders, IP camera recording, virtual-class web-casting and archiving. “We have implemented server virtualisation at the Amity data centre through VMware with external shared storage,” says Sodhi.
DAS, NAS, SAN According to Karapurkar, Direct Attached Storage (DAS) and Network Attached Storage (NAS) are commonly-
steps to secure Storage Arrive at a budget Figure out the number of students (current & expected in five years) Multiply this with the duration of years for the storage setup (say five years) List types & number of applications you would run Add the increase in number of applications Allocate space for each application (for library & administration ). You get the capacity you need. What is the speed of data access you need? Choose the best option viz your needs and budget (PC for local storage; DAS for decentralized storage; NAS for shared file access; SAN for high-end data storage purposes) Research the market for the best deal offerings Take help from storage partners
Dr Sodhi sums it up by saying, “Storage is an integral part of the IT infrastructure. You do not have any alternative. One should think of brand reliability and try to go for the latest technology with the highest-level of expandability.” The options are many, and a clearly defined need can serve as the roadmap to the right product.
Edu Tech March 2010
used options in the educational sector. DAS is the simplest system directly attached to a server or a workstation, without a storage network. It is connected to a computer or a server without a router or a switch. Even so, a DAS system can be shared among multiple systems, if it has interfaces that allow access. It can keep pace with high-storage demands and enable capacity extension according to needs. However, it means that an institute ends up creating islands of information, or information silos, across IT infrastructure. Every DAS device acts independently, so a centralised view is not easy. NAS can be connected to a computer network. It allows file-level sharing in a network between systems. When this is deployed, the NAS setup takes responsibility of file serving from the server. NAS offers benefits if you deploy it with the right technologies. It allows multiple computer storing and effectively acts as a single repository. It can increase speed of access and storage of data compared to a server that runs other applications, thus slowing down processes. With the right RAID technology, one can build in redundancy of disks as well. However, as the number of users (accessing the NAS devices) rises, performance dips. An important factor is to check with vendors regarding the design. Some users may need to go for a Storage Area Network (SAN)—network of storage devices that may be located at different rooms, but are visible at a single place as if locally attached to a server. There is the possibility of having disk arrays and tape libraries in SAN setups that enables storage sharing. A SAN is a better bet if disaster recovery is critical, for instance in places involved in highend research. Cost is the major factor that drives system deployment. Karapurkar says, “We suggest either using DAS or NAS servers. SAN system is deployed for high-end research institutions that cannot afford to lose its data.” While a 1TB advanced NAS system may cost around Rs 200,000, a 1TB SAN box of similar or lower technology will cost around Rs 800,000. The difference is not limited
to cost alone, but to complexity and manageability issues. SAN systems are a complex network of multiple boxes and require dedicated personnel to manage. Vivekanand Venugopal, the vice president and general manager of Hitachi Data Systems, says, “Hitachi Data Systems has addressed the complex nature of the SAN system and come up with simple SAN boxes that can be managed easily. We also provide adequate training and guidance to customers. Though the cost is high, institutions should not only look at the cost per TB, but also see the value that can be derived out of the setup.” Solution providers can also design hybrid systems using SAN and NAS capabilities that allow institutions to reduce cost and helps them to sort out the manageability issue. A version of SAN called IP-SAN is a possible option, as it runs on regular Ethernet network without requiring fibre or a copper backbone. A key aspect is data accessibility—the speed and time that an institute is willing to spend to get a file off a storage server or disk. If speed is of essence, it is best to opt for an architecture that enables it—at a price. Higher data access speeds, clustering and load balancing are areas that need to be investigated before making a choice. Scalability is also important. A sense of how storage needs are expected to grow is cardinal to figure out the right kind of storage. When it comes to bulk storage technology, tape and hard-disk drives rule the roost. Solid state storage devices are rare even at the enterprise level, as they are expensive. As for backup, mechanical ones are regular, while to automate the process, a software may be deployed.
Data Redundancy Most data centres are comfortable with RAID5 that ensures data security even if a drive fails. RAID6, a more advanced technology, ensures that data remain intact even if two drives in a single array fail. “Amity implemented an online disk duplication back-up system, with two similar sizes of storage, ensuring complete redundancy. As size (of critical data)
data is not a free commodity Anand Karapurkar, founder and director, Infobahn Technologies talks about how to look for right solutions
How should different institutions decide what is the most appropriate storage solution? An institute requires storage solutions for either internal requirements (accounting/ERP, files generated by back office) or storing data generated by students. We usually suggest either DAS or NAS to most institutes as: n Institute data is not critical n Cost of acquisition is a criterion n Compromise on access speed works well What are the challenges in this segment? The data value generated is not high and its lifecycle is of two years (maximum). There are no regulatory compliances that institutes have to follow when it comes to student data. There are not enough competent people who actually understand the broader aspects of IT. These are some of the major challenges we have seen. What is the most important factor that institutions need to keep in mind before embarking on storage purchases? Institutions need to realise that data is not a free commodity. It needs to be secured and made available on demand. Institutes should not only invest in storages systems, but also in applications that manage data over its lifecycle. Anand Karapurkar Founder-director, Infobahn Technologies
and demand increases, we will implement the High Availability Mode. In case of problems in one box, the second one will take up the session. In a normal state, both will distribute load. We also intend to implement remote disaster storage management,” Sodhi says.
Cost Worries Cost is the major factor that decides storage setup selection. First of all, an approximate budget is needed to set things in motion. Calculation may be done by roughly figuring out the number of students (on campus and expected to join in five years) and add that number with the number of extra courses slated to start—that would raise students’ influx. After an approximate figure is worked out, that number needs to be multiplied with the number of years that the institute is planning to use the
specific setup and the applications it will be running. Also, a course checklist and its storage requirement have to be made. Some of the questions that institutes need to ask themselves before zeroing in on a specific system: Is data storage only required for administration? Will students receive mail storage space, and if yes, how much? And that they may be used for classroom exchanges and faculty activities. Once all this is done, a decision can be taken. Scout for the best deals. Consult partners for the deployment—as partners can double up as a consultant and help in deployment of a package without the institute having to hunt for every part. Karapurakar says, “Education as a sector enjoys the maximum discounting. Right from the vendor to the business partner, all are willing to extend their best deals to an institute.” March 2010 Edu Tech
Commission for Higher Education
he year 2010 may turn out to be a s i g n i fi c a n t o n e f o r t h e education sector in India—the cabinet is now considering five important bills and a few of them should be passed into law by the end of this year. The National Commission for Higher Education and Research Bill-2010 is one that is expected to change the Indian higher education sector. In September 2009, the Centre constituted a task force, headed by the jointsecretary of higher education, to aid and advice the government to establish a commission for higher education and research. The task force was constituted following recommendations made by the Yash Pal Committee and National Knowledge Commission (NKC). On February 1, 2010, the human resource development ministry released a draft of the National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) Bill-2010—which was approved by the task force. The Bill provides for the determination, co-ordination, maintenance of standards in, and promotion of, higher education and research, including university, technical and professional education, other than agricultural (and medical) education, and for that purpose, to establish the National Commission for Higher Education and Research. Simply put, the Bill promotes the autonomy of higher educational institutions in India and aids free pursuit of knowledge and innovation. It facili-
Edu Tech March 2010
tates access, inclusion and opportunities to all, and provides holistic growth of research in a competitive global environment. The Bill also provides for an advisory mechanism for eminent peers in academia. According to the draft of this legislation that was presented by the HRD ministry, accreditation becomes mandatory for all institutions before they start to function. The Bill also paves a path for hard-hitting rules for the selection of vice chancellors. It subsumes existing statutory bodies such as the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), University Grants commission (UGC) and the Medical Council of India (MCI). According to the draft, the body would set the standards that have to be followed by specific panels before authorising a university or institution. The draft also specifies that new institutions will have to provide documents on accreditation at a time of applying for authorisation.
Pan-India Commission The government has assured that it will be setting up an accreditation agency to ensure quality in educational institutions, and that the job would not be outsourced. The Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal has further assured that the government is in favour of granting complete autonomy
to universities and put in place stringent entry barriers, to ensure pan-Indian quality. The commission will comprise a chairperson and six members. These members will be appointed by the President of India based on recommendations made by a selection committee. This committee will consist of the Prime Minister (who will select the chairperson), Speaker (of the Lok Sabha), leader of the Opposition (in the Lok Sabha), a Union minister of higher education and a Union minister of medical education. A collegium will also be framed to advice, co-ordinate and promote the commission. This panel of experts shall take measures to promote autonomy in the higher education sector for the free pursuit of knowledge and innovation, to facilitate access, include opportunities to all and provide holistic growth of research in a competitive global environment. The panel, it is hoped, will guide and advise affiliate bodies in establishing a university in accordance with norms and standards specified by it. The Centre, while consulting with the state governments and commission, will prepare a national policy for the development of higher education and research. This policy shall guide the commission to exercise powers and function. The Commission for Higher Education and Research would:
l Be responsible for comprehensive, holistic evolution of higher education in India l Strategise and steer the expansion of higher education in the country l Ensure a university’s autonomy and shield it from interference by external agencies l Act as a catalyst and conduit to encourage joint, or cross-disciplinary, programmes among universities and institutes l Spearhead reform and renovation l Establish robust global connectivity and make it globally competitive while creating worldclass standards l P r o m o t e e n g a g e m e n t a n d e n h a n c e resources to state universities with an aim to bridge the divide between the state and central universities l Ensure good governance, transparency and quality in higher education l Connect with industry and economic sectors to promote innovations l D e v i s e m e c h a n i s m s f o r s o c i a l - a u d i t processes and public feedback on its performance and its achievements The Bill does not, however, appease all parts of the educational community. But, it is hoped that unifying entrance tests and in-depth scrutiny of recognitions will yield scholars across fields.
Ganesh Natarajan Dr Natarajan is vice chairman and CEO of Zensar Technologies. He is an MBA from Harvard Business School and has a PhD in knowledge management from IIT Bombay. The column has inputs from Jui Mehendaley who works with Zensar.He can be reached at email@example.com
March 2010 Edu Tech
fact file Name: Ramdas Pai Current engagement: Chancellor of University of Manipal, president of Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Pro Chancellor of Sikkim Manipal University
Awards and achievements: Honorary fellowship of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners of Royal College of Surgeons, UK Member of Medical Council of India and Dental Council of India Dr BC Roy National Award for Community Health Work Great Son of Soil Award by All India Conference of Intellectuals Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Award Deccan Herald Avenues HR Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award Phillips Medal of Ohio University, US
The Life Of Pai His formula of success is hard work and administrative honesty. Ramdas Pai would not have it any other way By R. Giridhar
Edu Tech March 2010
sk him of his favourite food, film, or book—he draws a blank. He does not have a favourite quote either. Because, Ramdas Pai lives, breathes, mulls and dreams of Manipal University—the ISO 9001:2000 certified group of institutions run under the flagship of University of Manipal in Education. Started by his late father, the legendary Dr TMA Pai, he admits that the university and its associated centres are his only passion. An otherwise mildmannered man, Ramdas, 73, is resolute when he says that he won’t rest till the university is ranked with the world’s best (read: for him it means at par with Harvard). “I want to take Manipal to a level where students would aspire to be in it, like they aspire to be in Harvard,” he says. He admits that he takes a vacation only when his daughters are home from the US. The rest of his hours are spent looking after the university. Despite being his be-all and end-all goal, Pai’s foray into his father’s world, in his own words, was accidental. “I felt that I had an opportunity to take this (the university)
by rahul K.N.
things he likes: Book: Is content with newspapers Music: Bollywood oldies Food: Is a basic need. All simple fare suffices Holiday destination: None Pastime: Watching Hindi comic films
further. So, I did,” he says matter-of-factly. “We were a cricket team of six sisters and five brothers. My sisters are in America and most married doctors. My brothers were in the business of law, corporate finance and engineering. My youngest brother and I got involved in our father’s vision almost accidentally,” he reminisces. But, let us not put the horse before the cart. Ramdas Pai’s father Dr TMA Pai was a doctor, banker, academic, philanthropist and a legend. He abandoned his ambition of making it big in Hong Kong to fulfill his mother’s dream of seeing her son help out his people first. Living under the shadow of such a legend was not “too hard”. “The times were different. There was a certain degree of formality in the interaction between a father and a son. We respected the man that he was. If he was around we would be in our best behaviour, yet we would approach him for all our problems,” Ramdas says. And he remembers that his father was supportive of all his decisions—to pursue medicine first and then travel overseas for a two-year fellowship in hospital administration at the Albert Einstein Medical Center (Philadelphia). The course, he stresses, helped him tackle challenges in managing a chain of institutions with transparency, administrative honesty and with a global outlook. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day. After his father’s demise, Ramdas and cousin (Late Ramesh Pai) ran into a very public four-year feud, which gave Ramdas the courage to call a spade, a spade. “After my father’s death my cousin (Ramesh) played a positive role. But, one of his sons in particular did a few things that did not sit straight…It was then that I approached our board and took a call. In our fight, he (Ramesh) lost the first round. He then approached C. Subramaniam, the then finance minister. When he failed to receive Subramaniam’s help, he (Ramesh) went to Dhirubhai Ambani, who appointed Dutta and Company (a solicitor’s firm) to settle the matter.” In Ramdas’s words the firm “forgot” that it was dealing with public institutions. Unlike a corporate entity, public institutions, Ramdas stresses, could not
be divided. One of these “typical” Bombay lawyers even got a talking to from Ramdas, as did Dhirubhai Ambani! Despite the feud, Ramdas maintains that he and Ramesh remained “close”. “It’s like fathering a child. As I told my son; it’s our duty to build institutions. Because we have built it, that does not mean we have a right to kill it! No!” To avoid this “inherent nepotism” in family-run institutions, Ramdas has kept the involvement of his family to a minimum. “Except for me and my son, who was nominated by the board, we have 15 (and more) members who are not related. Some of the current crop of deemed universities are being run as family busi-
always taught my son that his inheritance—the reputation that my father had built—was more precious than money. When my wife insisted that I admit Ranjan, it was he who put his foot down,” he admits. Transparency is one factor that Ramdas is fanatical about. Before his death Dr TMA Pai wanted Manipal to become a university. However, his dream remained unfulfilled till 1993—when Ramdas approached UGC and Arjun Singh for clearance and received it. The delay (in receiving the deemed university status) remains Ramdas’s sole regret. “Nowadays, there are some 100 deemed universities and I would say 99 percent of them are frauds.
“Because we have built it, It does not mean we have a right to kill it!” nesses. One medical college had the family’s daughter-in-law as its registrar. After she got a divorce, she was removed. That is not the professional way to handle an institution, or any situation for that matter.” Ramdas is professional to the T—a lesson he learnt from his father, his inspiration. When he needed Rs 10 million for a new college and failed to rope in any sponsors, Dr TMA Pai, as the chairman of the Syndicate Bank, asked his branch managers to collect Re 1 from all customers. “I will not bend backwards to let the undeserving in to these institutions that my father built with such care,” says Ramdas. Incidentally, the heir apparent, Ranjan Pai, studied outside the Manipal circle because he did not have enough marks to make it to Kasturba Medical College run by the Manipal Trust. “I had
My advice to Kapil Sibal is to lay down rules to remove nepotism and bungling of finances. Market forces should decide matters and not underhand dealings. Let market forces bring in a sort of regulation,” he asserts. “Manipal has to be run with transparency. I hope that the government allows us to charge according to the quality we provide.” Apart from that he would be happy to keep politics and education divorced from one another. The pioneer is not scared of a little competition either. “Provided that there are no separate rules for foreign universities and Indian ones, I would be happy to have them (overseas schools) here, because competition is healthy.” His advice to all academic administrators—do a good job (read: an honest one) and try to make India proud. March 2010 Edu Tech
classic thinking Book Review
Of Fair, Effective Faculty Rewards In Varsities Helping the trustee, president, department chair & faculty to find decision-making tools to aid administration Simply PUT Aligning Faculty Rewards with Institutional Mission: Statements, Policies, and Guidelines is a ready reckoner for institutional heads to put a professional and transparent faculty-reward system in place. It suggests that there is a gap between an institute’s expectation from its faculty and the final reward system. The book builds on the works of Ernest Boyer and Eugene Rice and explains the multi-faceted role of the faculty in any institution. It not only explains the faculty-reward system and its needs in detail, but also outlines how an institution can develop a mission statement and internal or external guidelines. The best parts of the book are the ones dealing with actual case studies, which act as reference points that could be used for the implementation of a competitive and positive rewards programme. If you are a faculty member, the book should help you to understand your role in your institution better. For a college or a university, the book promises to help both to set up quality faculty-reward programmes. Students may also use the book as a reference to the profession of teaching.
Author: Robert M. Diamond Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education Philosopher, psychologist and educationist, John Dewey is hailed as one of the founders of progressive and experimentation education. His philosophy was called instrumentalism (related to pragmatism), which stated that truth was an instrument used by beings to solve problems. As a teacher he saw education as a necessity and learning as an active process. In this book, Dewey has expanded on the works of Rousseau and Plato. His philosophy was that Rousseau’s line of thought placed too much emphasis on the individual, while Plato’s none. On the other hand, Plato talked at length about the society, while Rousseau bypassed the societal angle completely. Dewey, however, believed that an individual and the society could not be viewed in isolation from one another—because they both influenced each other. In this book, Dewey highlights vocational learning, leaning heavily towards an informal style. An exponent of learning by doing, he has suggested ways to implement progressive education and emphasised the training students to become conscientious adults.
Author: John Dewey (1916) (Available for free on Project Gutenberg)
Price: $ 40 (May 1999)
New releases DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education
Choosing Web 2.0 Tools for Learning and Teaching in a Digital World
Anya Kamenetz takes a look at the American higher education system, characterised by its ever-growing tuition fees. While criticising the rigidity of the system, she offers out-of-the-box solutions.
In a world of ever-changing technology, education needs to climb the high-tech bandwagon. This book explores digital literacy, while providing strategies and tools for effective implementation of digital education.
Author: Anya Kamenetz Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Price: $ 14.95 (April 2010)
Author: Pam Berger and Sally Trexler Publisher: Libraries Unlimited Price: $ 40 (April 2010)
Edu Tech March 2010
Not The iPhone Killer Opinions may be divided over the new HTC HD2—but it deserves a second glance
There are mixed opinions regarding the HTC HD2. Some are hailing it as the “best phone ever” that has pushed the “iPhone out of the picture”. Several are calling it a “rather large tragedy” (a snide remark considering it’s bigger than other phones). Thinner than the iPhone, the HTC HD2 packs quite a punch—with its zippy 1Ghz Snapdragon processor. It’s little wonder that some users are also hailing the HD2’s hardware as “near perfect”. It possesses a 4.3 inch screen, Wi Fi, Bluetooth, 448MB RAM, an auto-focusing 5 megapixel camera (with dual LED flash and light) and proximity sensors—and it supports up to 32MB capacity. One can be forgiven for mistaking the HD2 for a mini tablet. It sports the Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system, but with a “sense”— an interface that integrates social networking features. For anything good one has to pay a price. And the HD2 is no exception, as it comes at a pocket-denting cost.
Price: Rs 35,000
gADGETS Turn Into A Road Pilot With 620 Indian cities and 5,76,000 towns mapped out, Road Pilot—the latest GPS navigator from MapmyIndia—is specifically made for the road warriors. The device offers turn-by-turn voice-driven navigation along with information on hotels, restaurants and ATMs. More is pre-fed to the device to make every trip hassle-free. The Road Pilot includes a 1GB space, 3.5-inch touchscreen and a “snooze” feature for power saving, a charger, and a windscreen mount.
Price: Rs 7,990
The Rebel Is back If photography is more than point-and-shoot for you, consider the entry-level and mid-range digital SLRs. Both Canon and Nikon have several choices. However, a photographer migrating from compact cameras and missing video-capture feature will find solace in Canon’s EOS 550D (sold as the Rebel T2i in the US). It features video capture in its full 1080p high-definition glory. That it takes pictures in 18 megapixels is, of course, the icing on the cake.
Netbook on Pine Trail
Price: Rs 47,995
Asus is one of the pioneers of the netbook—the stripped-down-to-basics, small and convenient laptop format. Its Eee PC (three Es representing ease of learning, working and playing) range has been consistently churning out affordable and feature-rich netbooks. The Eee PC 1005P is the latest in this line. What makes it better-than-before is the inclusion of Intel’s new Pine Trail processors that make it compact and longer-lasting—in short, a better travel companion. Commendable features include 1GB RAM, 160GB hard disk, a 10-inch screen, fairly comfortable ergonomics and the alternative Express Gate operating system (besides Windows 7 Starter Edition), which is faster.
Tiny Does It
Price: Rs 20,999
How about a printer that one can carry around in a cellphone and may be used to provide that instant—if not the best quality—print? Think you have a use for that? Then the Dell PZ310 is for you. It weighs 7 ounce, is 0.9 inch thick, is 4.8 inch long and 2.9 inch wide. It prints photos in 2x3 inch. It uses a special paper, only available online with Dell, and no ink. The printer that was discontinued for a while, is now back!
March 2010 Edu Tech
legacy “Great advances in knowledge came through questioning the orthodox view”
C.V. Raman The journey of an accountant to the Nobel Prize
In 1907, at the age of 18, Chandrasekharavenkata Raman joined the finance department in Calcutta as assistant accountant general. On the way to work one day, he noticed a signboard “The Indian Association for Cultivation of Sciences”. He had almost abandoned his love for physics when he had appeared for the Civil Services exam. But after a glance at the signboard, he resolved to start his experiments once again. He started using the facilities at the association’s premises for conducting scientific experiments, while working full time as accountant. Word of his genius soon spread in academic circles. In 1917, Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University, Asutosh Mukherjee invited Raman to join the University of Calcutta as Tarakanath Palit Professor of Physics, and leave his job as an accountant. However, at that time there was a rule that required a candidate for professorship to be trained in a foreign country. Raman refused to comply. He declared that if his work in India could not be considered for professorship then he would not join the university. Mukherjee, who had discerned Raman’s genius got permission to change the rule. Raman joined the university and went on to do some of his most brilliant work during his tenure. The atmosphere at the university under the leadership of Asutosh Mukherjee was conducive to experimentation and innovation. Raman’s research on the scattering of light in liquids eventually led him to the Nobel Prize. Had it not been for Mukherjee, Raman would have probably continued as an accountant. Without the appropriate atmosphere for research, his genius in science would have remained trapped in his role as an accountant. Today, rules and regulations have made Indian higher education extremely rigid and compartmentalised. Someone who is an accountant cannot dream of becoming a professor of physics. To become a professor of physics, not only does he require a BSc in physics, but an MSc and a PhD as well. One may be conducting the most pathbreaking research as a hobby, but then that is where it will remain—a hobby. A recent Nobel Laureate, India born, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is a BSc in physics, an MSc in integrated biology, and got the Nobel for his work in chemistry. True learning and innovation needs freedom and an opportunity to question orthodox views. Rules and regulations are important frameworks to help in the smooth functioning of academia, but there should always be scope for exceptions. With inputs from Dr Rajasekharan Pillai, VC IGNOU. (This section has been introduced in EDU as a result of our interaction with Dr Pillai who suggested that we highlight provocative stories from Indian higher education that can catalyse change and spur new thinking.
If you would like to share similar stories with readers of this publication please write to the Editor, EDU at firstname.lastname@example.org
Edu Tech March 2010
~: 1888 - 1970 :~ Field Physics Associations Indian Finance Department Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science Indian Institute of Science Known for Raman effect Awards and Honours Knight Bachelor (1929) Nobel Prize in Physics (1930) Bharat Ratna (1959) Lenin Peace Prize (1957) the journey 1888 Born on 7 November in Thiruvanaikoil, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu 1907 Joined Finance Department as Assistant Accountant General 1917 Joined Calcutta University as Tarakanath Palit Professor of Physics