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Looking FOR Answers Can Rajsekharan Pillai’s vision of “class” less community colleges bridge the GER gap in India?








FOREWORD An idea whose time has come



ou can go to college, or not. You can choose to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree, or not. However, in India, you cannot just “choose” to take any course or sabbatical; divide course work between two institutions; transfer credits; or complete a few courses, to opt for a degree years later. The community college system, however, allows all that—and more. In the US, these institutions are the bulwark of the higher education system. The list of successful people, who graduated from community colleges, is long—Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Walt Disney, writers Gwendolyn Brooks and Rita Mae Brown, space shuttle commander Eileen Collins and actors Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood. Clearly, none of the above qualify as academically-challenged, thus breaking the notion of a community college catering to only those who “can’t make it”. The list also proves that such schools are not about job shops alone—their often famous graduates go on to succeed in diverse fields. US community colleges were created as an affordable alternative to regular four-year programme. They allow a student the freedom to explore before deciding on a specialisation. They offer the student the flexibility to start working after a basic grounding, without having to wait four years for a degree. Finally, they grant the choice to enrol into a four-year degree course, anytime, and provide credits for courses completed. Wouldn’t it be great to have the same system in India? As we struggle to raise the gross enrollment ratio why not offer students freedom, affordability, flexibility, and choice, rather than force them into degree-granting institutions? IGNOU is taking the first steps, with emphasis upon vocational training. Hopefully, over time, the desi definition of community colleges will merge with the US model to create a better system—one that allows the transfer of credits even. The rapidly-expanding network of community colleges suggests that there is a demand indeed. And, it seems that the time for community colleges has certainly come.

Dr Pramath Raj Sinha pramath@edu-leaders.com

May 2010 EDU TECH



Edu Tech December 2009



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34 RAHUL CHOUDAHA Finding the perfect partnership—the foray of foreign universities into India 08 DHEERAJ SANGHI Why the credit system should be introduced



28 RISHIKESHA T. KRISHNAN There are several challenges that Indian business schools have to overcome 48 GANESH NATARAJAN Software industry boom needs education sector support


42 AARON B. SCHWARZ Designing smarter faculty offices


“From the outside, you can never know strengths and weaknesses of a system”

60 DR ASHOK SADANAND KOLASKAR How his desire to make a difference changed the profile of several varsities By Padmaja Shastri


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By Navneet Anand & Smita Polite


30 ACCREDITATION Educational institutions in India may have to cope with mandatory accreditation By Nupur Chaturvedi


44 WATER CONSERVATION Rainwater harvesting solutions for Indian colleges and universities By Adite Banerjee



50 DIGITAL LIBRARY Why you should digitise your library, and how By Suma E.P.

10 LOOKING FOR ANSWERS Community colleges around the world have propelled millions to mainstream education. EDU examines whether India should jump on the bandwagon


36 REVENUE GENERATION Why and how institutions should look at sources other than tuition fee for generating revenue By Padmaja Shastri

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56 TRAINING THE TRAINERS 18 FREEDOM UNLIMITED Will the model that has spelt success in the US, break barriers and improve India’s GER?

P.K. Gupta, founder, Sharda University, talks about teachers’ training By Smita Polite

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24 TEACHING METHODS Using case study method By Chethana Dinesh



62 BOOKS n Rewired n The Genius in All of Us









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Looking FOR Answers Can Rajsekharan Pillai’s vision of “class” less community colleges bridge the GER gap in India?








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Officials of Manipal with Melbourne and Nottingham University officials


Manipal Ties Up With UK, Australia Collaboration will enable student and faculty exchange programmes and facilitate research


anipal University, with Manipal Education, announced the signing of two Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) on April 26, with University of Melbourne, and University of Nottingham, UK. These MoUs aim to facilitate active collaboration by offering joint programmes, providing joint and dual degrees, enabling student and faculty exchanges and developing collaborative research programs in areas including alternative energy, health sciences and public policy. Ramdas Pai, Chancellor, Manipal University, said, “Our focus is to transform Manipal University into a world-class university, and these relationships will be mutually beneficial.” Professor Greenaway, Vice Chancellor, University of Nottingham, added that these partnerships provide “an opportunity for the development of innovative teaching and research collaborations that can contribute to the development of higher education and the knowledge economy in India.”


EDU TECH May 2010

THREE BILLS TABLED HRD minister Kapil Sibal introduced four important bills in May. Three of the bills relate to setting up of educational tribunals, a national accreditation regulatory authority and prohibition of unfair practices in universities and medical educational institutions. The foreign educational institutions (FEI) bill allows foreign education providers to set up campuses in India and offer degrees. According to the bill, foreign institution shall not impart education unless it is recognised and notified by the Centre, in addition to maintaining a corpus fund of not less than Rs 5 billion. The Centre can refuse to recognise and notify an institution if it is not in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India. The government can withdraw recognition on grounds of violation of the provisions of the proposed legislation.

HARYANA VARSITY HEADS TO SERVE TILL 68 YEARS Vice chancellors and pro vice chancellors of all government universities in Haryana will now serve till the age of 68 years as the government has raised their retirement age by three years. The decision was taken at a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The step has been taken to enable eminent persons to continue to serve in these top posts for a longer period and make use of their administrative experience.

ASPIRE GETS $4.5 MILLION FUNDING Aspire Human Capital Management has successfully accumulated funds worth $4.5 million, received from Foundation Capital, a US-based early stage fund, and from a personal investment made by Neeraj Bhargava, Co-founder of Steer Capital, a private equity firm. The announcement was made by Amit Bhatia, Founder and CEO, Aspire; Mr. Warren Weiss, General Partner Foundation Capital; and Samit Sinha, Founder, Alchemist Brand Consulting.

UPDATES approved

Defence University To Be Set Up Union Cabinet sanctions INDU to create synergy between academic community and central government



n May 13, the government accorded “in-principle” approval for the setting up of an autonomous defence university. The Union Cabinet sanctioned Rs 2.95 billion for establishing the Indian National Defence University (INDU) in Gurgaon. The aim is to help synergise and craft strategic planning and analysis keeping in view the country’s geopolitical objectives and national security. Minister of State for Defence Production, Rao Inderjit Singh believes that this move will make Gurgaon a hub of academic, strategic and professional expertise in defence preparedness, opening up employment avenues. The decision was taken at a cabinet committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Cabinet also approved the acquisition of 200 acres of land at Binola in Gurgaon for the proposed site of INDU at an estimated cost of Rs 1 billion. “INDU will undertake long term defence and strate-

Nation’s pride: The Indian Army

gic studies and create synergy between academic community and government. It will educate national security leaders on aspects of security strategy, military strategy, information strategy and technology strategy through teaching and research,” the statement said. “It will also promote policy —oriented research on all aspects relating to national security as an input to strategic national pol-

icy making.” The approval comes almost a decade after a group of ministers in 2001 had recommended INDU’s creation for a synergy between academicians and government on defence and strategic issues. The US, China and several other countries already have institutions like INDU for a robust strategic thinking and research culture between academia and government.


US Provides $45 Million To Support Higher Education In Pakistan THE UNITED STATES has contributed $45 million to enable students in the areas affected by violent extremism to continue their higher education. The US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W. Patterson, signed the agreement at a ceremony held at the Higher Education Commission. The financial assistance will cover the cost of one year’s university tuition fee for over 7,ooo students from Internally Displayed Families (IDF) of 28 universities. “This is another chapter in the US government’s support for Pakistan’s courageous response to violent extremism,” she said, assuring further help from the US to support Pakistan’s efforts to build a more prosperous and secure future. Patterson believes that the education of girls is particularly important, as they represent half of Pakistan’s intellectual potential.




billion Rupees provided to Pakistan as financial aid from the United States


universities in Pakistan will receive funds to cover the cost of 7000 students

May 2010 EDU TECH



Technical Training For Teachers In Punjab Government of Punjab plans to set up an institution to improve teaching standards at engineering colleges


aced with a shortage of quality faculty in engineering colleges, the government of Punjab is planning to set up an institution to train technical educators. It plans to translate its ideas in consultation with Punjab Technical University (PTU); Jalandhar. The proposed institution will roll out quality technical educators who will in turn churn out quality engineers. This was revealed by state Technical Education Department Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar on the sidelines of a national conference ‘Managing Global Business in Competitive Business Environment’in Mohali. “The current education system is not geared to produce quality engineering teachers,” he said, adding, “There were only five engineering colleges in Punjab in 1992, when the economy was opened up. Now there are 82, and 76 of them are private.”

rld steps into Singapore

“The idea is to provide quality education to engineering aspirants and to make Punjab colleges most sought after in the entire country,” Kumar stated.


Apeejay Starts New Varsity Apeejay Stya University at Sohna Gurgaon will be a research-focused university THE APEEJAY EDUCATION Society announced the inauguration of Apeejay Stya University at Sohna, Gurgaon. Sponsored by the Apeejay Stya Education Foundation, the university is located on a sprawling campus with state-of-the-art infrastructure. The university will offer a diverse catalogue of technical, scientific, management and liberal arts courses for the academic session 2010-11. The university will have a school of computer science, engineering, management science, design, education and mass communication and journalism. Applications will be accepted on the basis of comprehensive merit, which will also include academic excellence and extracurricular achievements. As a part of the application process, the university will recognise examination scores, which include AIEEE, GMAT, and SAT. The


EDU TECH May 2010

PTU is also planning to establish 50 incubation centres in its affiliated B-schools in Punjab, to promote skill development and entrepreneurship among students. These centres are intended to develop overall personality of students and to provide them with appropriate industry exposure. “We want our students to become job providers rather than jobseekers on graduating from the business school,” PTU Vice Chancellor Rajneesh Arora said. These incubation centers will not only help the students to think out of the box but will also help young entrepreneurs to arrange money for starting new projects. They intend to provide much needed industry exposure to the management students and thus, help enhance their job prospects. The Aryans Business School (ABS), located in Nepra village of Punjab, about 25 km from Chandigarh, will be the first business school in Punjab to start an incubation centre in the next few days. “We welcome this initiative of PTU and we are ready to impart any kind of help in this venture. This was the need of the market and we have made all the arrangements for launching incubation centres to translate student’s ideas into actual business,” said Aryans group Chairman Anshu Kataria.

university will work according to the internationally recognised credit-based semester system. Its curriculum will be based on latest developments in the field of education, and industry-academia partnerships. ASU and its departments will be supported and guided by an independent international advisory board. Sushma Berlia, vice president, AES, says “Our objective is to provide students ‘education for living and livelihood’ and ‘education for life’ by focusing on the inculcation of human and moral values through the curriculum, and providing students with the professional skills to face the new liberalised global economy.”



UPDATES regulation

India To Streamline Medical Education

Government proposes to set up National Council for Human Resources in Health


he government has proposesd to establish an umbrella body to oversee medical education in the country and to prevent scams of the kind that have hit the Medical Council of India (MCI), Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said. Once the National Council for Human Resources in Health comes into being, “it will take care of everything”, Azad said. He also said the Draft Bill had been circulated to the

states and Union Territories. In a statement made in the house, Azad said medical education in the country needed to be reformed to enable the MCI to function in a “fair and objective manner”. The MCI has been in the eye of a storm ever since its President, Ketan Desai, was arrested on charges of accepting a bribe of Rs 20 million for granting recognition to a private medical college in Punjab.


Nitin Nohria Named Next Dean of Harvard IIT alumnus becomes the school’s tenth dean


itin Nohria, the Richard P Chapman Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School (HBS), will become the School’s 10th dean, President Drew Faust announced on May 4, 2010. “At a pivotal moment for Harvard Business School and for business education more generally, I’m delighted that Nitin Nohria has agreed to lead HBS forward,” Faust said. “He’s an outstanding scholar and mentor, with a global outlook and has an intimate knowledge of the School and a strong appetite for innovation. He cares deeply about the School and he’s a person who embodies the qualities of a leader in how he engages people and ideas, and in how he sees the consequential challenges ahead.” Nohria has previously been the School’s senior associate dean for faculty development and chair of its organisational behavior unit. Current co-chair of the HBS Leadership Initiative and a member of the HBS faculty since 1988, he will take up his new role on July 1. Nohria succeeds Jay Light, who in December 2009 announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2009-10 academic year after five years as dean. “I feel a proud sense of responsibility for continuing HBS’ proud legacy of ground-breaking ideas and transformational educational experiences, With business education at an inflection point, we must strive to equip future leaders with the competence to address emerging global challenges.” Nohria said.

VOICES “WE MUST DREAM IF WE WANT TO MAKE PROGRESS of having a world-class educational system. This is possible only if there is dramatic reform and improvent in the scope and quality of our legal education system” — MANMOHAN SINGH Prime Minister, India

“THE EDUCATION SECTOR SHOULD BE GIVEN PRIORITY LENDING RATES, so that finance can be availed of easily. Other sectors are getting priority lending rates while for the education sector, regular commercial rates are applied” —KAPIL SIBAL, Union Human Resources Development Minister, India

“SOCIETY HAS LOST FAITH IN BUSINESS BECAUSE IT HAS LET SHORT-TERM PROFIT OVERSHADOW longterm interests. We have been trying to get our students to understand this. They have to see their careers as a marathon, not a sprint” — NITIN NOHRIA, Dean, Harvard B-School

“EDUCATION SHOULD BRING ABOUT A BLEND OF SPECIALIISED AND GENERIC SKILLS. science, humanities and the languages should not be allowed to lag behind. Stress should be laid on increased research in frontier areas” — VED PRAKASH, Vice Chairman, UGC

May 2010 EDU TECH



Dheeraj Sanghi

Fostering A Liberal Credit System


raditionally, Indian schools, colleges and universities follow a definitive “pass” or “fail” system. Sometimes, students are allowed to move on to the next class, or semester, on the condition that they sit for all papers that they fail to clear. But the University Grants Commission has been pushing Indian universities to adopt a more liberal system. In January 2006, it sent out letters suggesting a host of reforms. One was to initiate a “choice-based credit system”—in conjunction with the semester and grading systems. This has the potential to improve the Indian higher education system. So far, universities appear reluctant to embrace the reforms. Perhaps, this unwillingness to reform the traditional system of learning could be attributed to a lack of understanding.

A Steady System The credit system requires that a student progresses in her academic programmes not in terms of time (years,or semesters), but in terms of courses. Each course, or module, is assigned a certain credit, depending on the estimated effort put in by a student. When the student passes that course, she earns the credits associated with that course. If a student passes a single course in a semester, she does not have to repeat that course in the future—a fair system. The definition of “credits” can be based on various parameters—such as the student’s workload, learning outcomes and contact hours.


EDU TECH May 2010

One advantage of the credit system is that a student can earn credits at her own pace. If, in a semester, a student falls ill or cannot cope with the academic load, she can decide to study a fewer number of courses, earning fewer credits. She can compensate for the so-called loss in the next semester, or put in an extra semester of work to complete a course. This flexibility to study at one’s own pace is important in today’s world, especially in India’s increasingly liberalised economy, where more youth are seeking work experience at an earlier age, and then going back to school to specialise in their area of study. The credit system allows the recognition of learning, wherever it is achieved.

Helping Students To Decide The credit system also allows a student to study in the sequence that she prefers—putting her interests first. Of course, there are pre-requisites; that is, some courses can be taken only after a basic course has been completed. This flexibility allows students to specialise in a topic and then seek out short projects, or internships in that sector. It treats them as individuals who have a specific career path that they wish to follow. The credit system also facilitates flexibility. Instead of a single 40-lecture course, a subject can be taught in two 20-lecture modules, allowing a

Dheeraj Sanghi

teacher to improvise lessons accordingly. Short courses also permit an institute to invite experts from the industry and other institutions as adjunct faculty. Otherwise, it is impossible for an expert, particularly one working in the corporate sector, to commit to teaching a 40-lecture course over a semester. Allowing industry experts to participate in the education process means that they also have a fair idea of the “quality” of students (essentially; their future employees) and the level of expertise at an institution.

Collaborations Unlimited Finally, a credit system that enables shorter courses also permits universities to collaborate via academic programmes. It helps them offer a wider choice to the students as far as subjects and topics are concerned, particularly at a time when most institutions are facing serious faculty shortage. A robust credit system that allows easy transfer of credits also enables student-exchange programmes to flourish—provided the two universities agree on all terms. Through such pro-



system improves curriculum design and consequently, the quality of education.

Mobile, Global Students Not every student can get through an IIT. But, the credit-based system allows students to aspire to study at one of the IIT programmes at least for a semester. Overseas institutes have already understood the necessity of providing “mobility” to their students as far as topic, institute and programme choices are concerned. If this student happens to be a working professional specialising in a certain area, these choices become more important. Typically, a part-time MTech programme takes three years to complete. A working professional may not want to give up his work and location opportunities for that long. To be able to carry one’s credits earned and use them for a degree elsewhere is a huge advantage for such professionals. It encourages professionals to opt for parttime postgraduate programmes that enhance knowledge, and it improves programme qual-

hrough such programmes, universities are able to promote interesting courses, tailored to students’ needs

grammes, universities can promote interesting interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary courses, tailored to student needs and interests. The traditional system of learning compartmentalises programmes in terms of degrees. The credit system, on the other hand, works as a cafeteria model of learning, where the credit-based curriculum serves as a cafeteria menu. Students can select courses according to their aptitude, tastes and preferences. Often, certain streams in a relatively new university take time to reach critical mass as it struggles to build resources and confidence in the programme. Bio-technology programmes were slow to start in IITs (even though the institutes were of “repute”). This predicament could have been solved had the institutes collaborated with others that specialised in such topics and allowed students to study in the specialist institutes— through the transfer of credits. In this way, the

ity as well—because professionals are motivated learners. The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) has been designed with such a goal—to create the truly international student. Through the system, a student can start his programme in one university and move to another (either temporarily, or permanently) through lateral admission in order to avail either a better, or a more specialised and suitable programme. The system also allows a student to study at a specialist school (perhaps far from home) and then return either to her home town, or closer home, to finish the rest of the course. If established, this system can enhance the vibrancy and dynamism of higher education. To summarise, a credit system can function only when we start to see our students as mature individuals, capable of making their own decisions.

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. sanghi@edu-leaders.com

May 2010 EDU TECH



Community Colleges

Looking FOR

Answers Community colleges around the world have propelled millions to mainstream education. EDU examines whether India should jump on the bandwagon BY NAVNEET ANAND & SMITA POLITE ILLUSTRATION PRASANTH T R


EDU TECH May 2010

Community Colleges COVER STORY

The number of community colleges under IGNOU in different parts of India as of March 2010

May 2010 EDU TECH


COVER STORY Community Colleges


t’s the year 2025. Rakesh Ratnam, the founder of Surya Shakti has introduced a solar technology that generates electricity at a price that is one fourth the cost of electricity generated by coal, oil or gas. The technology is set to solve the world’s energy issues and make Ratnam a billionaire. Ratnam, was a brilliant student and a top ranker at IIT JEE. However, his circumstances forced him to let go of his IIT dreams and enrol into an Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) certified community college that allowed him to work in the afternoon to support a family, and attend classes in the evening. Ratnam later received his degree from Delhi University and even pursued a PhD from Indian Institute of Science (IISc). It was at the labs of IISc that Ratnam first worked on his now-famous solar technology. The higher education sector in India is hailing Ratnam’s

achievement as proof that community colleges have finally come of age. India has got its own Steve Wozniak, an inventor who passed out of a community college and went on to achieve as much, if not more, than any entrepreneur who came out from a top-ranked higher education institution. Sounds like an impossible dream? Not f o r I G N O U ’ s Vi c e C h a n c e l l o r, Rajsekharan Pillai who launched the community colleges programme under IGNOU last year in June. He is confident that this system can solve India’s Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER). It can also provide opportunities to and open up avenues for budding geniuses like Ratnam, enabling them to access the formal education system rather than give up on it entirely. What are these community colleges? Do we really need them? If yes, then why has the community college movement not caught on? What makes it a roaring success in the US? And how can we ensure that it succeeds in India?

The Community Concept Community colleges around the world have propelled millions to mainstream education in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Australia. “In the US, two-year community colleges were started more than 100 years ago. Initially their aim was to provide social mobility to minorities who were unable to gain admission into regular schools, colleges and universities. Some were established to accommodate those serving in the armed forces, who were seeking reemployment after completing their term of service. Others were started in coal mines. Their objective was to impart work-related learning,” informs Pillai. Over time, US community colleges developed into a popular alternate twoyear system. These colleges are places where “people of all ages and backgrounds, even in the face of obstacles or personal challenges, can take a chance on a brighter future for themselves,” as

“A People’s Movement” Founder director, Indian Centre for Research and Development of Community Education (ICRDCE), Chennai, Reverend Dr Xavier Alphonse, talks to EDU about the idea of community colleges You are one of the pioneers of the community college concept in India. It has not picked up yet. Why? The concept is new to our country which is home to a variety of educational systems. This one is an alternative system which addresses the needs of those at the bottom of the pyramid. It is a people’s movement and like any other movement it will take time to build. There have been pockets of success and it has huge potential. So far 80,000 people have benefited from this system and 90 percent of them have been gainfully employed. I believe that the movement will gain momentum as more people begin to comprehend its benefits and more volunteers—NGOs, self help groups join in. It requires tremendous institutional and civil society support. We have to bring together like-minded


EDU TECH May 2010

REV. DR XAVIER ALPHONSE Founder Director, Indian Centre for Research and Development of Community Education (ICRDCE), Chennai people and talk about it. Teachers and the communities benefitting from it require orientation. I am not sure how many of the 406 Community Colleges would survive but we have to make a concerted effort to make this a roaring success.

Community Colleges COVER STORY President Obama has observed. These are staterun and subsidised, benefiting students under financial constraints. They have lower academic load, offer vocational courses, and are flexible in terms of timing. Classes are held in the evenings and even on weekends. This US-based model is now viewed as one of the most successful implementations of the community college concept. In the past 20 years enrolments in community colleges have almost doubled.

The Indian Need The 11th Plan document recommends community colleges as a good alternative for India. It says, “The community college is seen now as an innovative educational alternative, rooted in the community providing skill-based, livelihoodenhancing education and eligibility for



Do you think the concept will see a high push, with IGNOU coming into the picture? After IGNOU was made the nodal agency last year, the idea of community colleges has received a big institutional push with national recognition. With IGNOU’s footprints in 56 Commonwealth countries, community colleges have also got an international recognition. There is lot of in-built flexibility in the programmes which is core to IGNOU’s philosophy. The Associate Degree Programme, a distinctive tool for future progression into higher education, has been introduced for the first time in the country.

What are the challenges you foresee? One of the biggest challenges is to ensure all the participating agencies understand the philosophy inherent in the concept. We need to ensure strict mechanisms are in place to filter the agencies that are merely driven by commercial interest and keep only those that are rooted in community-based action and driven by the philosophy of social transformation. Another challenge is to ensure curriculum is relevant and teachers are trained adequately to meet the particular needs of communities. The fee structure should also be in sync with the philosophy of serving the communities.

employment to the disadvantaged and under-privileged like the urban and rural poor, and women. Appropriate skill development leading to gainful employment in collaboration with local industries and the community is a major target of the community colleges. The success achieved by the system encourages the strengthening and consolidation of the existing colleges along with the step-wise expansion of the system to all the states in the country.” “A national-level committee constituted by the University Grants Commission visited the US and noted that almost 55 percent of the students seek admission to higher universities through these community colleges,” points out Pillai. The committee recommended organising these colleges with two-year associate degree programmes in India.

How is our system different from that in the USA? There are definite differences and we must be alert to these. Our system is people oriented unlike the USA’s which is market-oriented. In our system there is a lot of emphasis on teaching life-skills – personality development, communication, computing, linguistics – while in US there is no such particular emphasis. It will still be a while before we reach the stage as in US to enable learners achieve vertical mobility via credit transfers. Today our emphasis is more on creating a workforce to meet the unique challenges of the new and emerging economy. Our system is more akin to one which can be termed education for livelihood unlike in the US.

What has your centre been doing to take this movement forward? Since we began in 1995, my centre has helped establish 280 colleges across Tamil Nadu. We have also assisted these colleges create systems – curriculum, pedagogy, evaluation, monitoring – besides carrying out constant research. We have also trained over 1800 teachers through our 24 programmes. Significantly, we have taken the movement to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and Papua New Guinea.

May 2010 EDU TECH


COVER STORY Community Colleges Though the report was accepted by the UGC, it was never implemented. In a separate report, the National Knowledge Commission had also made the same recommendation. According to Dinesh Singh director, Delhi University, South Campus, there is a need for such a model. “We have millions of students who are neither too keen, nor too suited for pursuing knowledge related to research. Many of them would like to acquire skills and some degree of competence in a suitable vocational discipline which is closely allied to the needs of society,” he avers. For instance, the university system does not offer any skill-based learning that would allow a student to gain jobs at banks, as tellers or as salesmen, for financial companies. “At the same time, the college should be designed in such a way that it allows some of the more motivated and talented students to move into a university system through a transfer of credits,” adds Singh. After all, we would not like to loose our Rakesh Ratnams’.



Seeds Of The System The National Education Commission chaired by Dr D.J. Kothari recommended that the single-point entry system be replaced by multiple-point entry, by altering the sequential character of the

Significant Features of The Alternative System

education system. In 1995, the Pondicherry University set up a community college, which was followed by Madras Community College by the Archdiocese of Mylapore in August 1996. The movement was strengthened by the Manomaniam Su n d a r a n a r U n i v e r s i t y, Tirunelveli, that approved five community colleges in September 1998. It spread to Andhra Pradesh with the setting up of JMJ Community Colleges in Tenali in July 1999. In the past three years it has made inroads into Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Uttarakhand. Rev Dr Xavier Alphonse, founder director, Indian Centre for Research and Development of Community Education, Chennai and a University Grants Commission member is the pioneer of the community college movement. “In 1995 I visited the US to study community colleges, and realised its potential, if customised to Indian needs,” he says. From 1995 to 2003, he helped establish several community colleges, many without institutional recognition. In 2003, the

Challenges for Community Colleges

Serves all segments of society through an open access admission policy that offers equal and fair treatment to all students

Academic pathways – transfer of students to third year of IGNOU and other universities

Teaching focuses on skill development

Quality assurance – recruitment of faculty, maintenance of standards in industry-based curriculum development

Serves as community-based institution of post secondary education Mechanism to establish linkages with industries Provision for vertical mobility and lateral exit

Training of teachers for vocational and skillbased education

Provides lifelong learning necessary for the creation of an educated workforce

Business / industry linkage including training and placement contracts Programmes to be routed in communities – regional and local needs


EDU TECH May 2010

Community Colleges COVER STORY Tamil Nadu Open University recognised the effectiveness of community colleges and began to promote them as Vocational Programme Centers (VPCs). In 2008 through a Government Order, the Tamil Nadu government declared VPCs to be community colleges under Tamil Nadu Open University.

The IGNOU Intervention IGNOU’s endorsement of community colleges gave it national recognition. According to Pillai, “The vision of a community college is built on the idea of a college of the community and by the community, that produces responsible citizens.” Father Alphonse says that the operative words for the community college system are “access, flexibility in curriculum and teaching methodology, costeffectiveness and equal opportunity.” In collaboration with the industrial, commercial and service sectors of the local area, in response to the social needs and issues of the local community, the college provides internships and job placements in the region and promotes selfemployment and small business development. But aren’t the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Polytechnics and many other NGOs already doing exactly this? Yes and No. These institutions have been largely providing technical education and there is no clear framework for lateral entry of students from all these institutions of higher learning. Pillai points out that what sets community colleges apart is the fact that they are more universal, in the sense that they cover a wide spectrum of subjects. They are not limited to technical education in the skills they impart, but also cover areas like the social environment. “There are institutions all over India performing tasks of a community college. However, they are not under any regulatory framework. There must be a well thought out and practical policy that allows community colleges to be created,” says Dinesh Singh.

Making It Work “We have patterned our community colleges on the US model in terms of the

Community Colleges Across The Globe AUSTRALIA Australia has had a system of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Colleges for many years. Training is conducted nationally for Vocational Education and Training (VET) under the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF), in which employers, the States of Australia and the Commonwealth Government formalise a curriculum available for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to teach and assess the competence of students. Courses are part of Australian Qualifications Framework CANADA Each province has its own system of community colleges reflecting the decentralisation of the Canadian Education System as provided in its Constitution (1967). No of colleges: 150; Enrolment: 2.4 million; Enrolled full time: 90,000; Enrolled part time: 1.5 million MALAYSIA Community colleges are a network of educational institutions providing vocational and technical skills at all levels for school graduates before they enter the workforce PHILIPPINES Community colleges function as elementary or secondary schools during the daytime and get converted into community colleges towards the end of the day. This type of institution offers night classes under the supervision of the same principal, and the classes are conducted by the same faculty members who are given part time college teaching load UNITED STATES Community colleges, sometimes called junior colleges, technical colleges or city colleges, are primarily two-year public institution providing higher education and lower-level tertiary education, granting certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees. After graduation from a community college some students transfer to a four-year liberal arts college or institution to complete a Bachelor’s degree.

certifications that are provided. Students can get a certificate (16-20 credits), diploma (30-36 credits), or an associate degree (60-64 credits) and exit into the world of work or move vertically into the third year of university education,” says IGNOU Pro Vice Chancellor, Latha Pillai. She, however, points out that what sets IGNOU’s community colleges apart from the US model is that these are still to receive any financial support from the government. But in the US, the community colleges are mostly funded by the federal government. “What we have tried to do is to identify civil groups already working in a com-

munity-based teaching programme whose students do not have the option of vertical movement,” she says. Dr Chinmoy K. Ghosh of IGNOU who is in charge of the scheme adds, “There are no age-barriers for entry into these community colleges. The flexibility to transfer credits allows a student pursuing a diploma to get exemption in respect of the credits earned at the certificate stage. IGNOU has also devised elaborate guidelines for examinations and evaluation. Community colleges would carry out continual assessment as per the guidelines framed by its Examination Committee. IGNOU issues the final mark-sheet and certificate.” May 2010 EDU TECH


COVER STORY Community Colleges The scheme has brought a new hope for many students like Namita, who is on the verge of completing her six-month certificate programme in Ayurveda Panchakarma, and is all set to join a health spa offering her services as a masseur. “It is a huge leap forward for the disadvantaged and underprivileged women and I am so happy to be contributing to their empowerment through this unique endeavour,” says Gomathi Nair, President of All Indian Women’s Conference, which has been running this programme. Nair’s 80-yearold organisation has been working on women empowerment since its inception. She informs that a team met the IGNOU VC the moment AIWC learnt of the community college scheme last year. Since then on it has been a swift evolution. “We offered certificate and diploma programmes in a range of skills to the first batch of 94 students,” informs Meenalochana Vatts, principal of AIWC community college and a former academic at Delhi University. Nair is optimistic this trend will pick up. “Education and skill learning is a sure way of moving up the ladder, and



of US students seek admission into graduatelevel and higher institutions through the community college model

community colleges do precisely that,” she affirms. Arjumand Bano of the Institute for Social Studies Trust, which has been working with marginalised communities in east Delhi’s Kalyanpuri area, also feels that IGNOU’s programme adds a great deal of value. “We have been offering programmes in functional English and computer literacy for the past nine years. By using this IGNOU community college

scheme, our beneficiaries have a powerful tool to upgrade themselves and get into mainstream education,” she says. Many voluntary groups and even state governments are in talks with IGNOU to start community colleges. The Haryana government, submitted a proposal to IGNOU this May for setting up a community college. It has identified Government College at Manesar as an institution which offers a range of skill-based programmes in automotive and manufacturing technologies, hospitality and tourism, electronics, paramedical, biotechnology and information technology.

India Vs US Even while IGNOU is trying to replicate the US system of community colleges, there are some marked differences. Our community colleges meet the social and economic needs of marginalised and underprivileged communities. “In India, community colleges should be seen as a democratic response to globalisation—empowering the poor and the marginalised to enable them to

“Community College Can Break Barriers” V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, vice chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University talks to EDU about IGNOU’s community colleges. What made IGNOU come up with the Community Colleges programme? IGNOU was quite aware of the recommendation of the committee constituted by University Grants Commission to study community colleges and its recommendations. In fact I was heading the UGC prior to my present appointment. Though some academics viewed the concept as lower levels of knowledge, and felt that it was not a part of higher education, I felt this level of knowledge was crucial for including those who desired higher education, but could not access it because of various reasons. This system can help India bridge the gross enrollment gap. When we started last year formally on July 4, we had around 100 colleges. Currently we have around 400 colleges, including the 47 army community colleges. It took us


EDU TECH May 2010


Community Colleges COVER STORY embrace emerging opportunities,” emphasises Alphonse.

The Challenges By giving the community colleges national recognition, IGNOU has clearly hit upon the right formula to fix India’s GER challenge. But whether it can really make a difference largely depends on its continuous commitment to ensure that this programme does not morph into yet another scheme for creating vocational institutes instead of real gateways to higher education. To ensure that pathways to the university system are created a regulatory framework has to be established. It’s only then that universities will accept the transfer of students from community colleges. Father Alphonse, a UGC member, also admits that it may take a while before a community college graduate would be able to walk into an institution like Delhi University or Jawaharlal Nehru Universi-


“THERE ARE NO AGE BARRIERS FOR ENTRY. THE CREDIT FLEXIBILITY ALLOWS STUDENTS PURSUING A DIPLOMA TO GET EXEMPTION IN RESPECT OF CREDITS” ty and get admission on the basis of an ADP. “We may need 5 to 10 years to achieve that. Many more agencies includ-

almost two years to institutionalise the associate degree programme. We started with the Indian army and granted the first associate degree a few days ago.

ing UGC and Association of Indian Universities would have to adopt these philosophies and customise their systems to address the higher education needs of students community colleges,” he says. Also, good examples would need to be set, in order for people to appreciate the efficacy of the system. It would be critical for us to get out of the imprisonment of rigidity to allow this new system to bloom. Mindsets will have to change along with systems to make community colleges a success. It is up to the community of leaders in higher education now to mobilise thought and action to ensure that what IGNOU has started does not fizzle out. Unless the community gets ready to integrate Pillai’s vision of building “classless” community colleges, India will make only cosmetic changes to its GER gap. A real change will come only when India gets a Rakesh Ratnam through its community colleges.

passing out of the Army Community College was held this May. This project is also called GYANDEEP.

Which are the other communities that have benefitted? Tell us more about the community college programme for the army. The army has excellent facilities in terms of infrastructure. The jawans in the army are not very well educated when they join at the age of 18. During their years of service, they not only undergo regular physical training, but are also taught systematically and regularly by an army education wing, consisting of qualified people. They are trained in communication, IT, computers, accountancy, and even engineering skills. However, when they retire at the age of 40, most of them end up getting only security related jobs. IGNOU has planned a course for them that will enable them to get certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas and associate degrees. This will ensure that they are well qualified to pick up other jobs according to their interest. Around 50,000 jawans register in these community colleges annually. The army shall produce 15,000 graduates every year, and the convocation for the first batch

We are collaborating with many other civil society organizations. For instance our Community College for Coastal Communities (CCCC) has been started for the fishing communities. Specialised knowledge can really help this community earn more but most of them cannot even dream of attending fishery colleges and universities. In order to resolve this, one of our first CCCC was launched in partnership with the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Poompuhar, which was struck by the Tsunami and had the highest death toll in Tamil Nadu. This community is being taught how to survey and catch fish, how to predict weather conditions, and use technology. We did not even spend much, since we did not invest in anything except for packaging the curriculum and training in a way that the students undergo some systematic learning and the process of examination. The facility was funded by the TATA Group, and MSSRF is taking care of the other aspects. May 2010 EDU TECH



US Example

Will the US community college model work in India? BY VINITA BELANI IMAGING ANOOP PC

AKSHAY, 21 It's a day like any other. The sun shines over a group of three seated at a college café, enjoying bubble tea. Among them, is Akshay, 21. He is the son of two engineers—an IITian and a BITSian. Mathematics and science were Akshay's favourite subjects in school. He grew up “knowing” that engineering was going to be his calling—just like his parents. Three years ago, he entered the hallowed portals of the UC Berkeley Engineering programme. Two years into the programme, he realised that engineering really wasn’t “his thing”. “I could easily have been a character out of the 3 Idiots movie,” he says,


EDU TECH May 2010

JIGNESH, 19, RAVI, 20 smiling. But, he was smarter. He took a year off, got a job, practised business development at an early-stage start-up and simultaneously enrolled in evening classes to study political science, philosophy, economics and French. Akshay is now ready to go back to college, happy to have a year’s worth of work experience under his belt. And finally, he knows what he wants to major in—economics. All izz well! Because his credits from the courses, relevant to his changed major, will be recognised at whichever college he chooses to go to next.

Jignesh, 19, works at his family’s grocery store. In school he had a stellar academic and extra-curricular record. But, his family didn’t have the means to send him to a college, that too, for four years. Not one to be let down, Jignesh hit upon a grand plan—to enroll into a two-year course instead, work simultaneously, save money and apply to one of the state universities. Finally, there’s Ravi. He doesn’t wish to be in college and wants to run an auto shop. He enrolled into a two-year vocational programme to receive a diploma in automotive technology. Simultaneously, he is being trained in the basics of entrepreneurship and is apprenticing at a local BMW service store.



t is a classless hub of community life. It encompasses constituents and reaches out to the greater community through its distance learning and outreach efforts. Consider De Anza College by its numbers. Situated in Cupertino, California, it has a sprawling 112-acre campus. De Anza enrolls nearly 25,000 students every year, representing US residents from 40-odd cultures. It even has an international students’ body from 50 countries. Students are served by roughly 300 full-time faculty and 635 part-time faculty in classes that max out at 35 students per class. They transfer approxi-

mately 1,800 students per year into accredited four-year colleges and universities. The most popular majors include accounting, animation, automotive technology, child development, computer applications and office systems, environmental studies, film and television, intercultural studies, manufacturing and design technology, nursing, paralegal studies and technical communications. De Anza offers its students state-ofthe-art facilities. It boasts of 61 buildings with approximately 116 classrooms, lecture halls and 43 labs, an Olympic aquatics complex and a 5,000 seat outdoor

11.5 MILLION enroll in community colleges each year in the US

(Names of students in De Anza and Foothill have been changed to protect their privacy)

KAVITA, 39, SEEMA, 34, AND ANIL, 36 The three greet their “Kavita auntie” on her way to class. Akshay, Jignesh and Ravi are not Indian students, but are students of De Anza College in the heart of Silicon Valley. De Anza is a new member of Califoria’s community colleges. Cut to Kavita, rushing to a leadership management class. Originally from Delhi with a BA from Lady Shri Ram College and an MBA from Delhi University, Kavita stopped being a full-time professional to become a homemaker. As the children grew older, she started exploring options to re-enter the professional world and zeroed in on clinical psychology as her new calling. She was accepted at a master’s programme in a reputed institute. That was ten years ago. Now, the head of a non-profit organisation providing counselling to immigrants, she has returned to “top up and tweak” her know how. A few miles north, Seema and Anil are jogging on Foothill College campus. Foothill has become an extension of their nearby Los Altos Hills home. Both are engineers from BITS, Pilani.

Seeking an early retirement from all things technological, Seema discovered Ali Baba’s cave of educational treasure at Foothill. She started out by signing up for the badminton class for a resident fee of $7. Happy to see such direct benefits of her tax dollars, she enrolled in several other classes—including yoga and current events. Finally, she indulged her passion for art by doing a two-year certificate course in fine arts and becoming an art teacher at the local public school “to share my passion with the kids and give back to the community”. She and Anil, as well as her in-laws, are regulars at all music and dance soirees at Foothill that include concerts by Pundit Jasraj and Zakir Husain and Kathak maestro Chitresh Das. These are just snapshots of the Indian diaspora reaping benefits of the community college culture at Silicon Valley. When you multiply this by the number of immigrant minorities and Americans who access the chance offered by the community colleges, one begins to get a sense of the impact of a community college. May 2010 EDU TECH



PUBLIC POWER A large proportion of community colleges are public 31 177 987

Public Independent Tribal

event arena, a planetarium, sports fields, a choice of 45 students’ clubs and sports opportunities ranging from basketball to water polo. Now consider DeAnza College by its success stories—first, its people. Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple Computer, and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer are both alumni of this institution. It is no accident that the sprawling Apple Inc campus is located right by De Anza. Ron Gonzales, Mayor of San Jose from 1999 to 2007, is also an alumnus. And if we move away from men in technology and politics to the world of glitz and glamour, we find that the beautiful Teri Hatcher of Desperate Housewives, a local of Palo Alto was also schooled in De Anza. Then, there is the cultural part. The Euphrat Museum of Art (under the aegis of De Anza) attempts to stimulate creativity and interest in art in all sections of society and across all age groups. It hosts art exhibits and educational programmes for local and distant emerging and established artists. It offers programmes to schoolchildren in the neighbourhood schools. Art by De Anza students and alumni hangs on the walls of some of the area’s well-known technology companies, rented by the museum with a clause to change them on a yearly basis. De Anza College and Foothill College are part of the Community Colleges of California, the largest higher education system in the US, providing a four-fold


EDU TECH May 2010

service to a 2.9-million constituent base: Basic skills education, workforce training a.k.a. vocational studies and courses that prepare students for transfers to four-year universities along with personal enrichment and lifelong learning. The model takes education out of its elitist ivory tower, leveraging economies of scale to put it in the hands of every man— spatially, financially and temporally. What relevance, if any, does this education model, instituted over 90 years ago in a young, rich, developed nation and refined over its history of spectacular growth, have for India today? To answer this question we must first ask ourselves this—could Akshay, had he lived in India, be able to take a year off from college and return for a differ-

ent degree? Would he be able to sit in class with a Jignesh, or Ravi, and get a 360-degree view of society? Would Kavita get her chance to re-invent herself ? Would Seema, having fully exploited her professional talents, find a vehicle to explore her creative side? This India of today—whose IITs and IIMs are lauded as some of the finest in the world, from where Silicon Valley is always keen to hire, the country which has US companies lobbying for HI-B quota expansion and whose doctors are the highest-earning minority professionals in the US—are we really all that good at bringing education to the level of every person, no matter what his or her age, location or economic status? We all know the answer. India has the





DEMOGRAPHICS Average age: 29

Associate degrees


295,000 Certificates Baccalaureates: awarded by 29 public and 66 independent colleges

youngest and fastest growing population of any country in the world and our literacy rates are, at best, feeble. The country needs a model of mass education that serves many, offers much and is accessible to all at a low price. While the feat of creating a 112-acre campus with state of the art facilities may currently be slightly out of our reach, the fundamentals of the community college system could well lend themselves to an Indian context. We take this question to one of India’s well-known authors closely associated with community colleges—Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, the award-winning author and poet. Divakaruni does not need an introduction; her novels, novellas, short stories and poems have been translated into 20 languages. Her two novels Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart have been made into fims. Chitra was born in Kolkata and did her schooling and bachelor’s degree there. In 1976 she moved to the US. After her PhD from UC Berkeley, Chitra started looking for a teaching position and elected to join Diablo Valley College, a community college on the East Bay of California, following which she moved to Foothill College in Los Altos Hills where she taught literature and creative writing for several years. She has recently moved to Houston where she teaches creative writing at the University of Houston. When she left Berkeley, Chitra could have opted for any job that she wanted. But she chose a community college. The

43% 42%

21 or younger 22-39 40 or older

STUDE UNDERGR NTS IN DU TE COMA MUNA COLLE ITY GE S 46% All US u ndergra duates 41% First-tim e freshm en 55% Native A merican 46% Asian/P acific Isla nder 46% Black 55% Hispa nic

obvious question was why? “For philosophical reasons,” she replies. “Usually, such colleges barely accommodate 35 students per class. Yet, in such a small class the cross-section of the community is represented. And everyone is from a different background. Some are first-generation immigrants, some are people who could not make it to other colleges. The class is as diverse as it gets when it comes to age, socioeconomic backgrounds and culture. But there is a thread of commonality—a high-level of motivation, and an appreciation of the opportunities offered to them. A teacher in such an environment feels like she is making a direct difference to the lives she touches through the education that she imparts. I feel like the students are pursuing the American Dream just like me. And that I have a hand in making that happen for them.” Asked to count the blessings of the community college system—Chitra is pat in her reply. “Costs are low, making it financially accessible to almost everyone. Admission criteria are basic. However, the greatest strength of the system is the linkage with the four-year degree institutions.” Chitra is talking about the relationship between community colleges and UC and state universities. Most courses offered in the first two years of a fouryear college are offered at community colleges. They are recognised throughout the country and credits are trans-

ferred easily. There is a mechanism in place to transfer students at the end of the second year, as long as they meet with the admission requirements of the university in question. Though an advocate of the community college model, Chitra’s not too hopeful that the process would work in India. “We cannot import the model as is, for sure” says Chitra and expands her point. “Even if the Indian government was to commit the resources, there is still the question of which four-year colleges would be willing to participate in the scheme of credit transfer and accept admission after two years into a fouryear degree course. Sadly, there is a certain politicisation of the education in India. There is no recourse to nonimplementation of programmes for which funding has been approved. However, there are social gaps that need to be addressed.” How about the issue of providing continuing education to the greater community? “There are people I know, some of my friends and family in India, who will not allow their househelp to even share the same bathroom with them. I somehow cannot imagine them rubbing shoulders with the less-privileged, yet! But, with the growth of disposable income among the middle-class families in India, if we were to provide educational and self improvement opportunities to stay-at-home women they would come to such colleges. ” May 2010 EDU TECH





$ 6,185

9% 16%


21% Community colleges

4-year colleges

India is far from being a class-transparent society. But, can it not see the ‘if you build, people will come’ case? According to the famed writer, not really. “Well, revenues from continuing education programmes in the community colleges model are very much the icing on the cake and not the bread and butter.” Undeterred by Chitra’s gentle skepticism, EDU goes back to California to talk to a consumer of the end product of community colleges—Michael Conniff. Conniff directs the Global Studies Initiative at San José State University and travels to most of California’s community colleges to recruit students into his BA degree programme. He has helped to revive several community colleges and serves at the secretariat for


State funds Tuition and fees Local funds Federal funds Other

the Northern California Advocates for Global Education. “Accessibility, affordability, flexibility, responsiveness to community manpower needs, gateways to higher education in general—community colleges offers all this” he says. And adds, “Our community college system is the best in the world.” California’s community colleges may be the most extensive, but several other US states also have such junior institutions as well. “I am convinced that such colleges would be as valuable in India as they are in California because they perform a very critical function—helping fill the gap in education between high school and university. I am very glad you are doing this article, I hope it sparks a lot of reader interest.”



EDU TECH May 2010

And what are his recommendations to improve the workings of community colleges? “I would boost international recruitment, enhance international curriculum, focus more on the quality of instruction and improve the articulation with four-year schools like ours” he says. Michael has already submitted several grant proposals involving community colleges, one for student exchanges with Brazil, and another for improving Middle Eastern Studies at sister schools.

What India Needs Community colleges do exist in various forms in several countries. Australia has had a system of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) for many years. In Canada, the 150 institutions that are the rough equivalent of the US community colleges are usually referred to as “colleges”—since in common parlance a degree-granting institution is almost exclusively a university. As Martha Kanter, Under Secretary, US Department of Education, observes, “Community colleges can and should serve as a model and platform for expanding access to higher education in the developing world.” Clearly, it will take the combined, collaborative efforts of policy makers, public and private higher education institutes and the involvement of dedicated professors and education administrators to come up with the right model for 21st century India.


$ 2,361

State Funding


Edu Tech December 2009


Teaching Methods


No longer just an education tool, the case study method is now perceived to be a studentcentred, highly interactive pedagogy that has changed the classroom. EDU presents an overview of the methodology that helps students grab the bull by its horns BY CHETHANA DINESH

EYE STOPPERS SIGMUND FREUD PIONEERED THE use of the case study method in his observations with patient Anna O. THE CASE STUDY METHOD remains the most popular learning tool among students across fields


EDU TECH May 2010

of a

kind B

enjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” The relevance of this quote cannot be emphasised enough in this day and age. Taking a cue from Franklin’s words, education today employs the time-tested case study method of teaching to empower students, so as to allow them to gain leverage in the future. Renowned to be different from most other teaching methods employed at the school and undergraduate course levels in subjects like business, law and medical schools—where the curricula for many years have been based on the analysis of real-world cases—professors in a variety of other disciplines like physical sciences, mathematics, literature and history have been finding that the case method, when used, helps them assess a student’s ability to synthesise, evaluate, and apply information and concepts learned in lectures and texts. It has been strongly felt that cases can help organise and bring to life abstract and disparate concepts by forcing students to make difficult decisions about complex human dilemmas through active participation. According to Vidya Balasubramanyam, dean, St Joseph’s College of Busi-

Teaching Methods


DIVERSE APPLICATIONS Case studies are traditionally used in business studies, but are effective in other disciplines as well HISTORY: Exploring authentic documents, maps and testimonies POLITICAL SCIENCE / INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: Simulating foreign policy meetings and negotiations GEOLOGY: Researching geological maps and data to determine safe zones BIOLOGY: Simulating the spread of a particular virus CHEMISTRY: Examining legal and scientific issues involved in developing a new product for commercial use FOREIGN LANGUAGE: Reading foreign language sites to access information TECHNOLOGY: Judging websites for usability PSYCHOLOGY: Researching aspects of the human psyche, such as personality, and can be based on an individual, a family, a social group, event, or even on a series of events ACCOUNTANCY: Reading a chapter on financial accounting, preparing a case and then reviewing it to raise the average student comprehension level MEDICINE: Chronicling individuals with unique conditions or symptoms that need more attention

ness Administration, “The case method helps students understand theoretical concepts better by allowing them to apply their knowledge to real life situations. It fosters team work, encourages lateral thinking and innovations and allows them to apply concepts across disciplines. It helps teachers, as well, in gauging the comprehension levels of their students.” A thought seconded by Lata Chakravarthy, director, ICFAI Business School Bangalore, too. “The case method brings the corporate world into the classroom, sensitising students to the challenges of the industry. It prepares them to per-

May 2010 EDU TECH



Teaching Methods


form better in a global environment by exposing them to situations in the industry worldwide,” she says.

Vinay Hebbar, managing director, Harvard Business Publishing, India talks to EDU about the trends in case study teaching method

Dealing With Cases

What is the origin of the case study method of teaching in business education? Its origin can be traced back to Harvard Business School (HBS) in the early 1920s. HBS continues to be the leader in teaching, developing and innovating with cases. The HBS faculty develops over 350 cases each year. These are taught not just at Harvard, but at schools all around the world, including India.

How effective has it been in Indian institutes? There has historically been a deficit of quality cases and trained faculty apart from a couple of schools. The deficit was due to challenges in getting case subjects to share company data, lack of exposure to best practices, inadequate budgets and incentives for faculty to invest time in writing cases. This situation, however, is changing for the better due to some interesting trends: Several top tier schools, including some of the IIMs, ISB and other institutions, are creating the necessary infrastructure, incentives and partnerships to enhance the quality of case studies. The student community’s preference for more application-oriented and engaging learning methods, like cases and simulations, are driving research and deployment of these methods. Better access to cases are further developed by VINAY HEBBAR international schools. For example, Harvard Managing Director, Harvard Business Publishing has created a mechanism Business Publishing, India for Indian schools that have a relatively low fee structure to access our case collection and other offerings at concessional rates. Furthermore, HBS faculty, through its India Research Center at Mumbai, develops dozens of high quality cases on Indian organisations. Faculty development programmes are run by several business schools in India and abroad to enhance the pool of skilled case teachers. For example, HBS runs a “Global Colloquium for Participant Centered Learning” for faculty from top tier schools each year on its campus. Over 30 faculty from top Indian schools attend this programme on a subsidised basis and join their peers from other parts of the world to hone their skills.

How is the case study method used in different institutions in India? The role and extent of usage of cases varies widely among business schools. They are typically used in combination with other teaching methods such as lectures, videos, role plays, simulations and field work. Even within cases, Harvard Business Publishing is now increasingly seeing the adoption of multimedia cases and video supplements. Our experience points to a clear trend towards cases gaining rapid prominence and becoming an important teaching tool, if not primary pedagogy, in most of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 business schools in India.


EDU TECH May 2010

It all begins with students being handed over the case material, which is the description of an actual situation, generally involving a decision, well in advance. Students then have to address the situation described in the case and take on the role of a decision maker. The student must, first of all, familiarise herself with the case well, develop several alternative solutions and then engage in a small group discussion where members come up with the best possible solutions to the problem at hand. That is followed by a classroom discussion, guided by the instructor, where students are expected to participate in the conversation and present their views. During the course of these discussions, the instructor generally challenges the students’ points of view, encouraging them to come up with increasingly innovative ways of looking at and analysing problems and arriving at solutions. In the post classroom discussions, students are encouraged to reflect on how their initial ideas changed as a result of the input from their group members and faculty. “This method relies heavily on students’ analytical skills and requires them to be open to new ideas all the time,” says Vidya Balasubramanyam.

A Cut Above Despite the numerous teaching methods with fancy names that hit the academic world every year, the case study remains the most preferred learning tool. “The case method is the best way to learn complex concepts. Most concepts make practical sense only after case studies. Learning to articulate and explain concepts in simple terms is another advantage of the case method,” says Renu R., a student of the International Academy of Management and Entrepreneurship, Bengaluru. It is also famed for its ability to develop qualitative and quantitative analytical skills in students—including problem

Teaching Methods

CLICK IN HISTORY The history of case studies dates back to Sigmund Freud who pioneered the use of the method in his observations with his patient Anna O. It is believed that it was first introduced into social science by Frederic Le Play in 1829 in his studies of family budgets. The method was further developed by sociologists Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss. However, the increasing use of case studies in testing hypotheses began only recently. Case studies have been used in the field of education for over a 100 years. When the Harvard Business School was founded in 1908, there were no suitable text books for students of graduate programme in business to refer to. So, the teachers started interviewing leading businessmen and documented what those business managers were doing, thus marking the birth of modern case studies.

“Live cases add life to the discussion as cases are no less than laboratories for management students” —NAMIT KAPOOR, Consultant, Duke Corporate Education India

identification, decision making, application, oral communication and time management along with interpersonal and written communication skills. It also allows students to identify the underlying problems and learn by doing. Not only do students see how the course material applies to the world outside the classroom, but they also get to see how data is often ambiguous. Most of all, students learn to be good team players and respect others’ points of view. Case studies used in most business schools are those published by the Harvard Business School, Darden School of Business (University of Virginia, USA), other academic institutions, or case

“Case method brings the corporate world into the classroom, sensitising students to the challenges of the industry” —LATA CHAKRAVARTHY, Director, ICFAI Business School

clearing houses. Although they are great starters, according to Namit Kapoor, consultant, Duke Corporate Education India, live cases are the best bet ever. “Live cases add life to the discussion as cases are no less than laboratories for management students,” he says. Like every teaching methodology under the sun, the case study method, too needs a methodical approach to derive full benefits.“The success of the method requires a well-written case study based on field research; well trained and quality case facilitators who can engage the class in a lively discussion, push students to the limit and bring out the key learning points; stu-


dents who are motivated and prepare for the cases, besides being capable of analytical reasoning and articulation,” says Vinay Hebbar, managing director of Harvard Business Publishing, India.

Critic Speak On the flip side, critics point out that it deprives students of an authentic learning experience and that it does not prepare graduates for the real world. Other concerns are that it is time consuming and is based on the belief that there are no right answers. Speaking from the students’ point of view, some argue that class discussion of cases can be intimidating to some students who have been exposed only to traditional teaching methods. Some students may also fear suggesting inadequate solutions, and so wait until someone else figures out the ‘right’ response. Even if the discussion is lively, the open-ended nature of a case can sometimes lead the discussion on tangents that are inappropriate. According to Kapoor, case context and time also plays a major role in determining the response of the target group. “Sometimes when old case studies are employed, students access information on them from the Internet, spoiling the fun of the case workshop. Outdated cases affect quality discussions,” adds Kapoor. Drawbacks aside, teachers see it as a great tool of instruction as it requires them to be able facilitators, encouraging critical thinking among students. But cases cannot be replacements for lectures. And, in this sense, they are probably not always appropriate for introductory level classes, since students usually need a good deal of background knowledge to be able to adequately interpret and solve a case. What cases can do that lectures can’t is test the capability of students in using the information that they’ve been studying in their discipline. The case method is a powerful way to learn. Like all things powerful, it must be used correctly. In the words of Vinay Hebbar, “Cases may have their limitations, but offer clear advantages over other traditional theoretical learning tools.” May 2010 EDU TECH



Rishikesha T. Krishnan

What Indian B-Schools Need To Learn


ndia currently faces several managerial challenges—sustaining growth, increasing productivity, building globally competitive organisations and ecologically-sustainable development, along with products and services to meet customers’ needs. How prepared is the Indian management education system to make young managers ready to take on these issues? In recent years, management education in India has focused on quantity, rather than quality. There are a number of MBA programmes that have chosen to go ahead without the regulator’s certification. Current programmes— approved or otherwise—are no better than finishing schools, only giving the graduates a vocabulary to apply for jobs. The IIMs and “top” business schools graduate just a few thousand MBAs every year for fewer than what our country needs. There is a need to create more high-quality programmes. Also, the curriculum of the existing and upcoming B-schools should be more focused. In the past three years, I have had the privilege of visiting some of the top US B-schools—Yale, Wharton, Stanford, Kellogg, Cornell, MIT Sloan, Kelley (Indiana), Ivey (Western Ontario) and Columbia. There are broad themes that are common to the programmes offered at all the above schools, though specific approaches show a great deal of variety.

Class Apart: Integration Integration is the first important theme. The focus on “integration” is the result of a realisation that business problems are rarely traceable to a single


EDU TECH May 2010

function area. Even if a problem appears in a particular functional domain, its solution often cuts across the organisation. Generally business education programmes adopt a single functional approach for pedagogical convenience. To overcome this limitation, US schools adopt different modes of integration. At Yale, a new MBA curriculum was adopted in 2006. It had a core that was structured around stakeholders’ perspectives, rather than the traditional approach. Kelley uses an integrated core too—it is designed around eight modules with coordinated teaching by a tightly-knit faculty. At Ivey, emphasis is on case-method studies that ensures an integrated perspective, further strengthened by a month-long capstone on “Cross Enterprise Leadership” that uses specific cases to emphasise the cross-functional nature of leadership.

Preaching and Practice Practice orientation is the second dominant theme. In the past few decades, faculty have enhanced focus on research in an effort to make disciplines rigorous. But, this has also made management education more abstract and de-coupled from practice, as few have been able to bridge theory and practice. To solve this, Columbia offers more than 100 electives taught by an adjunct faculty comprising its alumni. It encourages stu-

Rishikesha T. Krishnan

dents to take a consulting “master class” where they are involved in semester-long projects under the supervision of a team consisting of regular faculty members and an adjunct professor. Cornell offers a similar course, and so does Wharton. Practice and lab courses, along with hands-on experience, are popular at Kellogg and MIT (Sloan). Cornell involves students in managing an ongoing real mutual fund.

Leaders Limited Leadership is the third dimension. Emphasis on leadership was heightened after the recession that showed the perils of a management paradigm based on short-term share-value maximisation. Leadership initiatives at top schools display a sophisticated understanding. From the start, there is an effort to define leadership, so that courses can explicitly contribute towards developing leaders. At Ivey, leadership is believed to involve the ability to embrace complexity, display decisiveness, communicate persuasively, maximise team potential and manage scale. Leadership programmes today go beyond traditional



that students agree to pay hefty fees to get into attractive careers. Kelley offers an interesting academic concept. Each Kelley MBA student joins one academy—a week long intensive module offered in the second semester—that exposes students to a sector of choices through guest speakers, seminars, field trips, and competitions. These help students network with leaders and access tacit knowledge. Subjects offered include business marketing, consulting, consumer marketing, corporate finance, entrepreneurial management, investment banking and management, and supply chain and global management.

India Matters How relevant are these themes to India? Critics argue that Indian MBA programmes are akin to a masters of business analysis than administration. The criticism seems well founded. The problem is accentuated in India, because unlike the US, we have a large number of students who have no prior work experience. Since we do not have mature students withsome perspective on business already, an interim integrated and prac-

iven the resource constraints and sheer size of the challenge, we shall need a number of managers who have a ‘vision’

course offerings to encompass crisis management, coaching, mentorship, value clarification and self-introspection.

Business of Ethics Ethics and governance are also being folded into leadership development agenda. Schools have always had ethics classes, but the financial crisis has lent a sense of urgency to the study. Stand—alone courses are being replaced by integrative approaches. At Columbia, building an ethical perspective starts right from the orientation programme with a module on individual, society and business. This is reinforced by having at least one session in each course on relevant ethical issues.

Career Calling The fourth dimension involves career development and management. Schools have realised

tice-oriented curriculum should help the current breed. Managerial challenges outlined at the beginning of this article will need more than integration and practice. Given the resource constraints, environment complexity, and sheer size of the challenge, we shall need a number of managers who have the vision to think ahead and the ability to persuade diverse stakeholders to share their vision. In a regulated economy, with constrained opportunities, Indians were forced to take jobs they got without worrying about abilities, or interests. Today, effective career management could help match people’s interests and capabilities with opportunities enhancing intrinsic motivation and helping managers to excel. It could help managers take on the country’s new challenges. In other words, adopting the US B-school agenda might just help India’s top schools make a difference.

Rishikesha T. Krishnan Dr Krishnan is a professor of Corporate Strategy at IIM Bangalore. He has an MSc in Physics from IIT Kanpur, MS in EngineeringEconomic Systems from Stanford University, and a PhD from IIM Ahmedabad. He can be reached at rishikesha.krishnan@eduleaders.com

May 2010 EDU TECH




With scores of institutions being set up, getting accredited is emerging as a critical way to establish credibility



The recent noise surrounding the status of deemed universities has forced the student community to think hard before choosing a private institution. The whole issue came up after the Tandon Committee Report suggested that more than 2,000 institutions, including government ones, are using “expired” ratings. “Not everyone gets into an A-list institute. In the second-rung, the choices become difficult—because one is never sure of quality and whether, one fine day, the government is going to shut it down,” says Abhimanyu Sharma, an MBA aspirant.


EDU TECH May 2010

EYE STOPPERS PROFESSIONAL COLLEGES ARE under no mandate to get accredited SO FAR, NAAC HAS ACCREDITED 142 Universities and 3,492 colleges


While the issue of deemed universities is new, the concern over credibility is not. In December last year the government informed Parliament that accreditation is to be made mandatory for all institutions, whether or not they receive government grants. For this, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has formulated a more comprehensive sevenstage process that will cover: Curricular aspects Teaching, learning and evaluation Research, consultation and extension Infrastructure and learning resources Student support and progression Governance and leadership Innovative practices To tackle this high load, the agency has demanded the creation of state accreditation agencies, to be supervised by it.

Ready For The Mandate? While some institutions like the IITs and IIMs have to compulsorily get accredited, for most other institutions accreditation is still a voluntary choice. However, many government, as well as private academic institutions, are responding to the growing concern over credibility and using accreditation as a differentiating tool. Professor A.K. Yadav, dean of planning and development at the Ansal Institute of Technology, says, “Accreditation establishes an institute’s credibility as far as its programmes and processes are concerned. It is a measure and assurance of quality.” While all government-run, and some private institutions, are usually “approved” or “recognised”, getting an accreditation is a different matter. While recognition means that the institution can legally function, approval means that the institution follows certain standards. Accreditation, on the other hand, is a process that results in an assessment of how well the institution is performing. David Woodhouse, the executive director of Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) and a respected authority on quality assessment in his paper “Putting the ‘A’ into Quality” says, “Accreditation is time-bound. There is no blanket yes or no result or answer. In effect, it says that the accred-


“We Are Not The Big Brother— We Act More As Guides” Professor H.A. Ranganath, Director, National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), talks to EDU about the Council’s role How does NAAC cope with the incredible number of applicants for accreditation? Is there a long-term strategy without compromising on quality? As of today, getting accreditation is voluntary. We start the process when colleges approach us. It is quite an elaborate procedure. Colleges first have to submit a letter of intent. Once we acknowledge that and send them an e-mail, they go in for the IEQA (Institutional Eligibility Quality Assessment). This is an online test, a filtration method, and only those that pass this are invited for accreditation. On an average, 25 percent of applicants get terminated at the IEQA level since they are not set for accreditation on a number a criteria. Assessment and accreditation is made only when the institution is functional, not during summer holidays or examination time. Sometimes, the institutions take months before going from one level to the next. But the delay is not from NAAC’s end. As of today, we have no backlog. Institutions have to be proactive. NAAC functions on a first-come, first-serve basis. We also have sufficient staff and panel of experts to handle all accreditation that comes our way. Once in three months we conduct peer committee interactions that further help universities and colleges. A couple of years ago, we had handled thousands of accreditation proposals. On an average, we get anywhere between 800 and 1,000 applications a year.

What are the advantages of getting accredited? When NAAC began in 1994, I was a professor at Mysore University. I used to believe that we didn’t need another accreditation unit, since we were taken care of by the CSIR and the UGC. Then I realised how good the NAAC methodology was, giving colleges the opportunity for self-assessment. I learnt that peer committee visits were equally beneficial. Universities have to understand that we are not the Big Brother—we are here to act more as guides. We are a facilitating mechanism. NAAC results are taken seriously by many funding agencies such as the UGC. So, if universities wish to obtain more grant they have to work towards improving their ratings.

ited institution is fit to provide a particular degree, diploma, or certificate, for “x” number of years.”

The Benefits One of the most significant benefit of going for accreditation is that it creates an opportunity for an institute to self asses and examine its processes. Professor H.A. Ranganath, director of NAAC, says, “If a college or university has 80 departments, one-time accreditation will

give it a way to examine all the departments’ weaknesses and strengths. Remember when a peer committee visits, it also advises. What universities and colleges have to understand is that accreditation reviewers are not education police—they appreciate what is good, and advise when things go wrong.” Brigadier Rajiv Divekar (retired), director of Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies (SIMS), that has an ISO certification and a NAAC accreditation in its May 2010 EDU TECH





FOR GETTING THE NAAC NOD * An institution applies for the Institutional Eligibility for Quality Assessment (IEQA). This is a firstlevel filter on whether an institution is prepared for the assessment process to begin with


* The institution conducts a self-study of its performance, and then sends a report to NAAC. This involves a comprehensive self-assessment

* A peer team visits the institution and reviews it * Rating is calculated and the accreditation certificate is granted

* NAAC was formed in 1994 to set parameters and assess institutions’ functioning. The NAAC accreditation is valid for five years

NBA was formed within AICTE for accreditation of specific technical programmes, like undergraduate, postgraduate and diploma courses in engineering and technology, management, hotel management and catering, architecture, pharmacy and applied art and craft, distance learning courses and vocational training courses. The process is peer-reviewed based, and can be done with institutions that have run at least two batches of students

THE GLOBAL WAY In most parts of the world, accreditation is a voluntary choice

In the US

, there is no single body that assesses universities at a national level it is the states that regulate universities. For granting accreditation there are numerous autonomous agencies. The US Secretary of Education recognises (or, de-recognises) agencies that can grant accreditation. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) assesses the numerous autonomous accreditation agencies for quality. The autonomous accreditation bodies are all private. Some are national, others are not. Some of these accredit only certain disciplines. Each agency has its own criteria, and the department of education and CHEA play a critical role in bringing them to some level of national parity

In the UK, the British Accreditation Coun-

cil and Accreditation Service for International Colleges are the two main agencies; both are autonomous, but work in tandem with the government


EDU TECH May 2010

THE OTHERS Other specialised autonomous bodies created by the UGC for accreditation

* Medical Council of India (MCI) * Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) * National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) * Dental Council of India (DCI) Central Council for Indian Medicine (CCIM) * Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) * * Indian Nursing Council (INC) * Bar Council of India (BCI) Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH) * * Council of Architecture Distance Education Council * * Rehabilitation Council * National Council for Rural Institutes * State Councils of Higher Education


kitty—agrees that both an accreditation and an academic audit helped his institute to grow and be more confident of itself. “It has brought in effectiveness, and accountability because there is constant review and checks on our processes. It has also identified opportunities for improvement,” he adds. For those who are interested in getting grants from the government, accreditation is a path to attract approval. The University Grants Commission (UGC) takes cognisance of the type of accreditation rating an institution has received when approving grants. It can also help improve the institute students’ employment chances.

Public-Private Debate In India, the UGC regulates the recognition of approval, and accreditation, either directly or through its specialised autonomous bodies. The two biggest bodies that are responsible for assessment and accreditation are NAAC and the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). While NAAC assesses universities and general institutions, the NBA assesses academic programmes, especially in the field of technology and management. The present system might change if the government’s proposed National Accreditation Authority (NAA) becomes a reality. The NAA will also be able to solve the issue of assessing foreign institutions that might enter India if the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill gets approved. Institutions in India are also choosing to get foreign accreditations. Amity University, Uttar Pradesh, recently got an Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC) accreditation. Professor Dr Gurinder Singh, pro vice chancellor of Amity University, says, “We are the first Indian university to be awarded the ASIC accreditation. While Indian accreditation bodies focus adopt a conservative domain of standardisation, bodies like ASIC take on a global approach.”

Get Started Dr Woodhouse suggests peer consultations and talking to people who know about it, or who may have already gone


“This Process Is About Streamlining Institutions” Professor A.K. Yadav, Dean of planning and development, Ansal Institute of Technology, talks to EDU about the process of accreditation What was the process involved in getting an accreditation from NAAC? The process started with an application, indicating our intention. We prepared and submitted a self-study report (SSR) to NAAC. A committee was constituted to prepare the SSR, and the preparation involved extensive work. An internal quality-assurance cell was set up. The committee vetted the SSR before it was submitted. Every member of the institution was involved in the process. After our SSR was submitted, NAAC constituted an experts’ committee which visited us and accredited a score based on prescribed criteria to NAAC. The team report and score were fortunately approved by the executive council of NAAC and then made public.

Was the process difficult? PROFESSOR A.K. YADAV Dean, Planning and Development, Ansal Institute of Technology

The process was simple and straightforward. But the work involved in getting the report ready was Herculean involving practically everyone in the organisation, including stakeholders and their representatives.

What have been the benefits of the accreditation? Accreditation establishes credibility of our programmes and the academic processes—in which we do take pride. After the assessment, we have noticed a definite boost in student placements. Quality of students being admitted is also improving as meritorious boys and girls are selecting us over others. Accreditation has helped us establish collaborations with the industry, as well as with other HEIs.

What advice do you have for others? This process is all about streamlining and standardising procedures. It helps an institution improve the overall process of imparting quality education. A thorough understanding of the process of accreditation is needed before an institution goes for the process.

through the process. “In Australia, for instance, the universities and colleges talk to each other quite a lot. In India, for instance, the NAAC has assessed thousands of colleges and hundreds of universities, so you could talk to some of them and ask for advice” he says. With the number of new institutions ris-

ing at a high rate, accreditation agencies will also have to play catch-up to ensure that the quality of education isn’t compromised. Whether it means decentralising the process or enhancing the capacity of the handling capabilities of existing agencies, the real concern is implementing the process well across the country. May 2010 EDU TECH



Rahul Choudaha

Finding The Perfect International Partner


oreign Universities Set To Invade India —if you think this is a recent headline, you are mistaken. It was taken from an article published in India Abroad on January 18, 2002. There is a resurgence of the news now, eight years later. The difference now; it seems that stakeholders are actually reading the headlines closely

Take the US-based Institute of International Education for instance. The school aims to strengthen academic collaborations between US and India. Its initiative will be funded by the US department of education. As a part of the programme, 10 institutions will undergo training, assessment and strategic planning activities, that will help them to build partnerships. I am honoured to be a part of the advisory board of the programme. Student exchange programmes have been common enough between Indian and foreign universities. However, off late, there has been increased interest in extensive collaborations. For example, Leeds MET, UK, is partnering with Jagran group, while Monash University, Australia, has partnered with IIT Mumbai, to offer joint PhD programmes. Virginia Tech announced its collaboration with MARG Group.

Partnership Challenges Despite widespread interest, the number of successful international collabo-


EDU TECH May 2010

rations remains limited. Many institutions still find it hard to find the right partner.; several partnerships remain only on paper. In the past three years, several delegations, comprising US college and university presidents, have visited India to assess the market and potential partners. While some found what they were looking for, most did not. Finding the right partner is not easy. Foreign universities are likely to fret over the issue of “brand dilution” and “credibility” of its Indian partner. Similarly, from an Indian institution’s perspective, there is a lack of understanding of the functioning, needs and segments of foreign institutions. Even if a partnership is established, there are challenges in sustaining it. Charles Klasek noted, “It is not difficult to sign an agreement with universities of all types throughout the world; it is difficult to implement the agreements, so that there are mutual academic benefits to the institutions involved.”

Some Strategies Robert Stein and Paula Short highlight that “academic collaboration is a complex phenomenon, especially if one considers the array of options and relationships on the menu.” This complexity can be addressed by having a systematic approach of identifying the “best fit partner”. And, nurtur-

Rahul Choudaha

ing the relationship for mutual benefits. Following are six strategies for building and sustaining international academic collaborations: Clarify the level of commitment for collaboration: It is important to articulate commitments from partnering institutions. Partnership requires explicit understanding of motivators, and the need for collaboration and value-addition. This helps in setting realistic expectations and commitment levels. Institutes also need to understand the range of collaboration opportunities available and differential levels of commitment required. For example, a jointdegree programme has to deal with a higher level of regulatory processes. Financial commitment is essentially higher in such instances. Integrate with the societal and industrial needs: Higher education institutions do not exist in a vacuum; they exist in the context of the society and industry. Institutions should not only assess internal capabilities and resources, but also align themselves with the pressing needs of the society and industries. This would help make a convincing case to a prospective foreign institution in collabo-



reputation higher than their own. Many Indian institutions are trying to build alliances with top10 US institutions. This approach misses two important aspects—self-assessment and diversity of foreign institutions. Both these aspects are important to fit the right fit partner. There is a need for a deeper understanding of the quality and types of institutions—how they best fit with the overall goals of collaboration. Engage corporate houses: Corporate houses have expressed their interest in venturing into the higher education sector. Some intend to build high-quality institutions, contribute back to the society and create a legacy. For example, Shiv Nadar University (HCL) is slated to be a not-for-profit project with an expected budget of $600 million. Likewise, there are others—both in India and abroad—who wish to create a legacy of learning and be engaged by government and foreign universities in catalysing academic collaborations. They should be given the chance. Understand institutional culture: Higher education institutions are knowledge enterprises with

cademic collaborations are a complex phenomenon, especially if one considers the array of options on the menu

rating for an area of high impact and need. For example, the issues that concern India currently is the lack of teachers’ training programmes and a lack of talent pool. Hence, Azim Premji University’s focus on education and training seems opportune in this regard. Take an interdisciplinary approach : While one has to identify an area of strength, institutions should explore collaborations at the interfaces of disciples. There are interdisciplinary programmes that may be more open and more relevant for international academic collaborations. For example, if an Indian B-school is looking for a foreign academic collaboration, it does not have to restrict itself to a B-school only; it could even explore relationships with a college of public administration, or industrial and labour relations at leading universities. Explore beyond the big brands: There is a tendency among institutions to seek partners that have a

different cultures, depending on the background of knowledge workers such as the faculty and the administrators. For example, in India, the role of faculty in administration is quite limited. However, in the US, senior administrators usually come from faculty ranks. Thus, it is important to understand the culture and background of decision makers and programme managers for better mapping of needs and relationship management. Troy Heffernan and David Poole note that academic partnerships require “…development of effective communication networks and structures, the building of trust between partners, and ongoing demonstrations of commitment to the relationship.” The strategies discussed here would help in building mutually beneficial international academic collaborations.

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, MBA from NITIE, Mumbai, and BE from Jabalpur University. He can be reached at rahul.choudaha@eduleaders.com

May 2010 EDU TECH



Revenue Generation

Higher education centres are exploring sources other than tuition fees to fund operations. Is it a beginning well made?



n July 2008, when Dr Anil Sahasrabudhe, the director of College of Engineering (COEP), Pune, made an appeal to COEP’s alumni for financial help at a San Jose meeting, Dr Thomas Kailath, a professor emeritus at Stanford and a COEP alumnus, challenged his fellow alumni that he would give $100,000—if they matched his gift. The response was quick. Those gathered there committed $108,000 on the spot.

Since then, COEP has raised Rs 50 million from alumni donations. The college also earns from government and industry-sponsored projects and consultancy, and rents out its grounds and buildings during the holiday lull period. COEP also conducts evening courses in trades such as plumbing, to bring in the extra revenue. Its next plan is to construct an innovation institute with aid worth Rs 10 million donated by two of its alumni and a “friend”. “For now the


EDU TECH May 2010


Revenue Generation

plan is that the institute will incubate companies and will own upto 10 percent stake in them. All this, we hope, will create a perennial source of income if one of these companies becomes successful,” explains Sahasrabudhe. International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad, is already incubating six companies and has a 15 to 20 percent stake in each. Though the transfer of technology at Rs 5 million a year is yet to bring in the big bucks, the deemed university earns one-third of its revenues (over Rs 70 million) from sponsored research projects under the aegis of Intel, Google, Hewlett Packard, Nokia and Amazon. It also has a chair sponsored by Microsoft.

Revenue Challenges


t is not just technology institutes that are tapping innovative models of revenue generation. The Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, operates on a donor-driven model. All its eight Centres of Excellence (CoEs) are run on revenues generated from corporate donations or endowments. While a small band of players are taking baby steps to broaden revenue streams, for a majority of higher education institutes (HEIs), student fees constitute more than 80 percent of their income. “Poor utilisation of alternate sources of revenue is one of the key challenges affecting financing,” notes the Ernst&Young-FICCI Higher Education Survey, 2009. According to the survey, 60 percent of the HEIs did not generate any endowments, while research and consultancy accounted for less than 20 percent of the total fund flow of majority of HEIs (75 percent), with 16 percent deriving nil. Add to that the fact that nearly half the Indian private players are not eligible for any government funding. Thanks to abysmally low penetration (2 percent) of scholarships, education loans coverage and fee regulation by central and state governments, there is little scope to increase fees further. It doesn’t take a genius to figure how urgent the need is for Indian private HEIs to quickly find and exploit alternate revenue sources—especially if we have to achieve the government target of a gross enrollment ratio (GER) of 30 percent by 2020. Indian colleges and universities are not alone. Economic slowdown and shrinking budgets are forcing HEIs across the world to cut costs, keep tuition fees down, and increase revenues from every possible source.

Increasing Foreign Flavour


he private sector’s business model requires raising tuition 2 to 3 percent faster than inflation every year. And they have done so for the past decades. “This is clearly unsustainable in the long run,” says Lloyd Armstrong, the provost emeritus of Uni-

Money for Innovative Earning The University Grants Commission (UGC) has a scheme called “Incentives for Resource Mobilisation” for universities it supports. According to the scheme, whatever a university earns through alternative sources—donations, alumni gifts and consultancies—can be retained by the university in a corpus fund for development work. The UGC adds to this corpus by granting 25 percent of the funds (up to a maximum of Rs 5 million per annum) raised for this corpus by the university. During 2008-09, it released Rs 26 million, which means that the UGC-supported universities raised Rs 106 million.


versity of Southern California (USC). The USC understood this early on. Thus, it made “aggressive global reach” its strategic priority in the nineties. It opened offices in Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mexico City and Taipei to market the university and recruit talented foreign students. Today, it has the largest number of international students among all the US universities. Officials from top universities in the US and UK are increasingly making personal visits to India—the recent one made by the Oxford Vice Chancellor Andrew Hamilton is one such example. The visits are made to increase visibility; apart from setting up local offices here. Singapore and Britain are also making it easy for students to stay back and work in their countries after graduation. “Foreign students are not eligible for financial aid in the US, which means they produce 25 to 65 percent higher revenue as compared to domestic students,” said Armstrong. Save a few like Pune University, which has 14,000 foreign students from 100-plus countries, Indian HEIs are yet to exploit this revenue stream. In 2008, India attracted 18,594 foreign students compared to the 62,3805 that came to the US.

Strategic Investments


niversities abroad have a longer history of diversifying their revenue sources and establishing strategies to reduce dependence on tuition fees. For premier institutions in the US and UK, the tuition fee is less than 20 percent of the operating revenues—for Yale, it’s a mere 9 percent. While endowments are the biggest source of income for Ivy Leagues, for all the leading UK universities maximum revenue comes from research and government grants. Fifty-five US universities have a billion-plus endowment fund. It is only natural that the HEIs in that country have developed mature investment strategies. While Harvard and Stanford have asset management companies to manage their endowments, the annual reports of Yale’s chief investment officer David Swenson have become a must-read for professional investors. These three mainly invest their money in hedge funds, hard assets (such as real estate) and private equity and stocks, while the majority of Tier-2 HEIs also have finance professionals to handle endowments, park their funds into fixed income securities and stocks. The idea is to maximise returns to support the university, build world-class facilities, recruit the best faculty, conduct path-breaking May 2010 EDU TECH



Revenue Generation


research and admit the brightest students—thereby building a reputation.

Spreading Gift Culture

Here are some alternative sources of revenue, which are quick to kick-start

Gifts & donations: Give alumni, friends and public options to gift or bequeath financial instruments and tangible assets

D Executive education: Offer evening programmes or online distance education courses for working professionals. Technology may be outsourced

Consultancies: Encourage faculty to consult .This builds the institute’s reputation and generates other kinds of revenue like sponsorships and grants


EDU TECH May 2010

Events: You could tie-up with companies for sponsoring cultural and sporting events in your campus, in return for visibility or advertising

Publications: Can arrange with faculty to share royalties generated from published works

Foreign students: Market the university abroad by setting up offices, personal visits and road shows and through online publicity

Monetising real estate: Renting your grounds for conferences,, exhibitions, plays and other events

University & college radio and magazine: Could have advertisements and other sponsored programmes on the radio through which companies might want to reach the huge audience it provides

r Rita Bornstein, the President Emerita and Cornell Professor of Philanthropy and Leadership, Rollins College, says, “A strong reputation is vital for an institution to attract philanthropic support. Everyone wants to be part of a ‘winning team’.” She doesn’t say it, but the $10-million chair she holds, a first for a US college presidency, was endowed more for her leadership and reputation as a fund-raising specialist. Not only did Rollins’ ranks climb significantly during her tenure (1990-2004) as the president, but its endowments also quintupled in the period. People like assisting various successful institutions, with excellent leadership, because they want to be confident that their gifts will be well-spent. Venture Capitalist Srini Raju, who gifted Rs 350 million to ISB for a CoE in IT and networked economy, says, “I wanted to give money to a knowledge-oriented organisation. My passion matched with that of ISB’s commitment to excellence.” More and more HEIs in developed countries are also seeking services of professional advancement consultancies to learn the most effective strategies to raise funds. Susan Washburn, Principal of Washburn & McGoldrick Inc, which advises 140 clients across the US, UK, Europe, Canada and Australia, says, “The challenge for educational institutes is that they must demonstrate relevance and urgency. They must show that they meet needs, and not just have needs.” With a sharp fall in endowment values—from $36.9 billion in FY 2008 to $26 billion in FY 2009 for Harvard—and shrinking government budgets, the pressure to increase revenues from other sources is building-up. Cambridge recently opened its hallowed portals to tourists. It is going to let out its rooms for £41 to £100 a day. In contrast, Indian HEIs have had little scope of building endowments. Higher education in India was traditionally pub-

Revenue Generation

lic-funded and therefore university administrators did not develop a culture of cultivating private sources. “Administrators have been too lethargic to seek out endowments. Most have never even created a repository database of their alumni,” says Arun Nigavekar, a former chairman of the UGC. While the space is dominated by the private sector now, nearly half of the 20,000 colleges in India have come up only in the past decade. Except Indian Institutes of Management and Indian Institutes of Technology, which have been pro-actively raising alumni endowments since the nineties, even reputable private universities are seeing alumni gifts trickling in only now. “We are only 26 years old. It is only in the past five years that our alumni have entered their forties and are growing into senior positions. Now, they are thinking of giving back to the university,” explains Sekar Viswanathan, pro chancellor of VIT. A point to remember here is that the wealthiest of US universities are also its oldest— Princeton was established in 1746 and Harvard in 1636.

Making Research Pay


ome Indian HEIs like the IIIT Hyderabad, VIT and Symbiosis, are taking pro-active initiatives to garner better revenues from research. While IIIT Hyderabad created a synergistic relationship between basic and applied research departments that led to more industry projects, Symbiosis is now setting up an Institute of Research and Innovation to centralise its research activities and get better industry sponsorships. While all top-notch universities in the US and UK attract huge corporate and government sponsorships, they don’t depend entirely on them. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), for instance, showed a 26 percent jump in research revenue from non-federal sources, with the greatest increases coming from nonprofit foundations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other foreign governments.


“WE RECRUIT THE BEST” INSEAD’s Dean, J. Frank Brown, speaks to EDU on how the leading global business schools are facing challenges and are attracting funds How is INSEAD managing the impact of the recession? We rallied by developing and introducing new courses, responsive to current business needs. For instance, we introduced a new programme on “Blue Ocean Strategy” for executives that teaches them to create and capture uncontested market spaces, and makes competition irrelevant. We have also added a section of executive MBA at our Singapore campus to increase our intake. Our philosophy for offering participants the knowledge of the world through diversity and multicultural experiences, creates demand for our programmes.

Has setting up campuses in different geographies helped in augmenting INSEAD’s revenues? It has certainly added to our capacity. Compared to the 1,000 MBA students we now have, we would have remained at the 600-bracket, if we had stayed put at Fontainebleau, France. We have excellent support in the form of sponsorships and endowments from the governments, both at Singapore and Abu Dhabi, with programmes specific to the region, or their requirements.

What other sources of revenue do you have? J. FRANK BROWN Dean, INSEAD

Around 10 percent of our income comes from endowments and fund-raising initiatives such as sponsorships for research, and gifts and donations from alumni. We operate hotels and restaurants on our campuses for executive students. This brings us 10 percent of our operating revenue. INSEAD has three hotels and two main restaurants in France, and one hotel and one main restaurant in Singapore.

INSEAD’s website lists “attracting best talent” as a funding challenge. What do you do to develop a strong faculty? A strong faculty is a precious resource. We recruit the best teachers from the best PhD granting institutions. INSEAD also focuses on mentoring, training and developing faculty. Each newly-recruited junior faculty is assigned a mentor from the senior faculty. A special training programme is held to develop his or her teaching skills and research capabilities.

Also, what is taken is paid back in dividends! Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were mentored by their computer science professor, the Late Rajiv Motwani and they recently gifted Stanford $2.5 million for a chair in his memory. To extract more from its research,

Oxford has taken strategic stake in many companies whose main line of activity is commercialisation of IP. Likewise, Cambridge also has a wholly-owned company to fund technology transfers. Both earn significant amounts from universityowned companies. May 2010 EDU TECH



Revenue Generation

“DONORS APPRECIATE TANGIBLE RESULTS” Dr Maria Vaz, Provost of Lawrence Technological University, talks to EDU about the 78-year-old American university’s efforts to broaden and diversify its revenue base and reduce dependence on tuition fees. Last fiscal saw you conclude your largest-ever fund-raising campaign. Isn’t the economic recession affecting you? Clearly the disruptions to the automotive and manufacturing sectors will have an impact. However, Lawrence Tech is fortunate to have alumni and donors representing a variety of industries and professions throughout the nation, and around the world. So, recession, while a factor, has not had a major impact on the overall fund-raising till date. In fact, we have undertaken a campaign that is expected to raise some $100 million in philanthropy and donors’ gifts.

How will you do it? What else are you doing to enhance revenues?

DR MARIA VAZ Provost, Lawrence Technological University, US

Lawrence Tech is now more attentive to identifying and cultivating alumni, and others, who have the ability to grant major gifts to the university. The process can sometimes take years with a prospective donor to align what they may be interested in supporting with what the university’s needs may be. At the same time, the size of graduating classes has grown over the years. So, alumni contributions, too, are growing, because we have a larger pool of potential donors, and more alumni have reached a point in their lives where they can more readily consider larger gifts.

What other sources of additional revenue is Lawrence Tech pursuing? We engage in applied research projects for corporations and government. This research offers “real world” experiences for students and provides a revenue stream. It also helps build leadership skills, allowing our graduates to be of immediate help to their employers. Employers regularly tell us that the Lawrence Tech graduates “hit the ground running”—they know what to do. We believe this practical application of classroom theory similarly resonates with donors, as they see and appreciate the tangible results.

You plan to raise $10 million annually from applied research by 2015. What are your plans? Prospecting, publicising successes and relationship-building with the public and the private sector are the major things we are doing. We have an ongoing road-show project to target 60 companies and professional firms. Apart from fund-raising, these initiatives will also aid student recruitment, faculty enhancement and research partnerships. Further, Lawrence Tech has recently been working to develop more formal processes and procedures that will encourage future growth in research revenues. We also encourage faculty involvement in research and consulting.


EDU TECH May 2010

Rules And Stops


r Vinod Bhat, pro vice chancellor and director of planning, Manipal University, believes, “Such things are not possible for Indian HEIs because the law of the land does not allow it.” Current regulations mandate that HEIs can set up not-for-profit organisations (NPOs) either in the form of a trust or a society, or a Section 25 company. However, a Section 25 company is not recognised by the UGC and it cannot distribute profits. A Central law dictates that surpluses and profits earned by an NPO have to be ploughed back into the institute. And to be eligible for income tax exemption given to NPOs, state and central laws limit the type of investments HEIs can make. For instance, the NPOs cannot invest in the shares of private limited companies. While structures and regulations are limiting, alternate sources of revenue are still available to private HEIs. Some of the options would include offering campus jobs and coordinating with embassies for scholarships to attract more international students. Leasing out space to established food and beverage outlets is another way— The London School of Economics made 24.42 million pounds through catering and also has a wholly-owned subsidiary to develop its potential of consultancy and executive or distance education. The education reforms currently underway are expected to create a more enabling atmosphere for generating legitimate alternate revenues. Meanwhile, HEIs need to create strategies and performance benchmarks to maximise revenues from all legitimate sources. What they do now will have a bearing on the future of higher education in India.

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 editor@edu-leaders.com


Edu Tech December 2009




Designing Smart Faculty Offices


capable faculty leaves quite an impact on the quality of any institution. Recruiting “great” teachers, providing them with an excellent environment, which helps them to grow and excel, and retaining the best of the best, are the key challenges before every institution. Admitting that, it is surprising that few institutions spare a thought to the planning and designing of the faculty office, or offices New teaching methodologies and technologies may be shaping the physical constructs for the instructional space, but little progress has taken place as far as faculty office environment is concerned. However, there are exceptions. I remember a president of a US college who specifically instructed the college’s Master Planning Faculty Steering Committee to concentrate on the faculty office, pointing out that its “where” and “how” would be one of the most crucial decisions that they would be making, leaving members stumped. The president had understood an important thumb rule— a high percentage of learning happens outside the formal confines of the classrooms, and often within the faculty office. And also, that students’ engagement with the faculty shapes futures. In fact, it is one of the most important aspects of what is considered to be the “college experience”.

Prime Considerations Which leads us to the argument that such faculty chambers should be ideally located in places that are accessible to students and enhances student-faculty interaction. And it should be conducive to research as far


EDU TECH May 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 the United States and other countries. He is currently involved in designing some university projects in India

as the faculty is concerned. The notion of the “ivory tower”, entailing that a faculty member should be able to “escape” to the confines of his office and then engage in scholarly research, is not necessarily the best idea. On the other hand, not giving the faculty (even parttimers) any place to hang their hats will not encourage them to stay on campus before and after scheduled class time. There are a number of conflicting objectives that arise while trying to decide where to locate faculty offices: l  Should privacy for research get priority while constructing offices, or should accessibility to students be highlighted? l   Should promoting interaction between colleagues take precedence, or should inter-departmental interaction be promoted? l  Should offices try to reduce the amount of space

Aaron B. Schwarz


for adjuncts (part-timers), or make sure professors stay on campus after hours to work with students—however expensive the exercise may turn out to be?

Diverse Methods Different universities approach the problem differently. Some locate department chairs and principals with respective faculty, while others locate department heads away from their faculties to maintain a hierarchy of designation. Some institutions prefer to mix faculty members, so that office suites don’t become silos, encouraging interdepartmental interaction, and flexibility in assignments. Several prefer to locate offices in areas away from classrooms—on different floors, or buildings. In such cases, members share an easier support system, and this creates a faculty club atmosphere. However, on the downside, students feel intimidated to venture into these cloistered areas. I have been to institutions where a single faculty member holding several posts has had three separate offices: one with his department, one adjacent to his research lab, and one with the entrepreneurial inter-departmental centre he was starting up. One individual with three offices on a single campus seems a bit wasteful. However, it is understandable if the science faculty want second offices, closer to the laboratories.

Assessing Needs When assessing campuses, we always ask users about how often a specific room is used. Utilisation is never taken at face value—whenever possible, data is collected from registrars, as well as having visual inspection carried out. (The firm checks out the amount of dust collected in the room and the date of the newspaper on the table). But, some colleges do indulge in value engineering to locate classrooms on one side of the corridor with faculty offices directly opening on to the other side. This way, the faculty is close to their teaching posts and accessible to students. However, traffic along the corridor negates any sense of privacy. Designing teacher clusters (comprising faculty offices) close to classrooms is one approach that works well. In the teaching cluster, faculty offices are collocated with student waiting areas, support personnel and equipment, and conferencing space. In some instances, graduate student space, team project and seminar rooms and other non-scheduled spaces can be included nearby. These clusters could be located near classrooms, or heavy activity areas, so that they are welcoming to students.

Members Speak Responding to a programme questionnaire, members of a faculty once admitted that they needed private offices with natural light. Their requirement list also included an office large enough to have adequate desk space, a library-cum-bookshelf space, and a conference table for students to meet them. Requirements should ideally dictate the office size. The need for private offices for faculty should be further questioned. Private, fully-walled and secured offices are still prevalent within the academic circles, while corporations long ago

OFFICE TALK: Designing teacher cluster comprising faculty offices close to classrooms is an approach that works well

shifted to open workstations, or glass fronted offices. Funnily enough, almost all faculty members are quick to tape paper to their glass partitions, if their office is indeed designed with this medium. Campuses need to invest more in faculty resource areas—places where teachers can access conference rooms, industry journals, a lounging space and refreshments. The place should also offer “technologists”, located nearby to help the faculty with their presentation materials and delivery methodologies.

Picture This Consider these areas looking more like a firstclass airline lounge. What does a lounge have? It has various seating areas of different types: for quiet work and for discourse. There are areas for informal chit-chat. There is access to food, access to journals, computers, restroom facilities and seminar rooms. There are assigned, secure, cubbies to leave behind resource materials and files. Imagine that there are several spaces like this dispersed on the campus, close to classrooms and labarotories. If these existed and were distributed properly perhaps we can then re-ask all those questions that we did.

Image Issue How and where faculty is housed on campus is a direct reflection on a campus’s culture and brand. What is the expected time and type of interaction with the institutions students? What is the expected interdisciplinary interaction? All these answers emerge when the faculty room is examined. Finally, answers regarding priority should determine the size and location of faculty offices and related support spaces. May 2010 EDU TECH



Water conservation

Pearl Academy of Fashion’s

400 students 25,000 litres and staff need


of drinking water per day. Its rainwater harvesting plant provides 50,000 litres per day


IIM Kozhikode planted an areca nut garden and Congo signal grass, and also dug up a pond to facilitate water percolation. It spent Rs

8 million

to build the RWH plant. Maintenance cost was negligible

EDU TECH May 2010



Water conservation



H2future O FOR THE

Administrators are adopting sustainable water management solutions to create eco-friendly campuses




emand for water in even the smallest of campuses is more than 25,000 litres per day. Water is needed for the grounds, for students and staff, in the kitchen and dining areas, for cleaning and cooking, and for consumption. Pearl Academy of Fashion set up its first full-fledged campus in 2005 in Jaipur, 12 years after the institute came into existence. Arindam Das, director, says, “Our intention was to make the best use of locally-available material and create a sustainable, aesthetic and harmonious campus.” Which meant that the planners had to go green—all the way. Natural light was used extensively, traditional materials such as matkas were used to maintain a lower-ambient temperature within the building and rain water harvesting (RWH) was incorporated. Today, the academy’s rain water harvesting plant comprises three large storage tanks, each with a capacity of storing 50,000 litres per day. With a student and staff strength of 400, the academy has a daily drinking water demand of about 25,000 litres, which is just half that of its storage capacity. For the toilets, landscaping and

EYE STOPPERS NIIT UNIVERSITY’S CONSERVATION efforts conseve created a sustainable source of water for the hills upstream from its campus as well DEMAND FOR WATER ON THE smallest campus is 25,000 litres per day May 2010 EDU TECH



Water conservation

maintenance of water bodies, the academy uses recycled water that is treated in its in-house sewage treatment plant.

Tailored Solutions In 2003, planners at IIM Kozhikode faced a unique challenge—to create a sustainable source of water on campus. Despite Kerala’s regular rains, the campus’s topography was such that the rainwater would run off into the sea. The area around the institute routinely faced a shortage. Unless the rainwater was harvested the campus would have to be dependent on tanker-supplied water, running up a large bill. Planners felt that there was a need for a wellmanaged campus development programme that would ensure sensible consumption and also allow the campus a room for future expansion—in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner. For RWH solutions to work, they had to be tailored to the peculiar topographical conditions of the campus. The institute’s 96-acre campus only had a single pond of 1.5 acre that dried up by February every year. Not to be daunted, the administration decided to build a catchment area in an adjoining piece of land near the pond to catch the runoff. In that area, an areca nut garden was planted along with a thick layer of weeds. And another smaller and older pond was dug up further to accelerate the rate of water percolation. A network of canals and structures were built alongside to help the water to percolate into the large pond. However, the major challenge was the problem of soil erosion. Rajiv Varma, executive engineer, explains: “To tackle the issue we sought the help of a Coir Board that provided us with coconut geotextile, which is a type of woven organic fabric that allows water to pass through, but holds the soil back. Nearly 35,000 square metres of geo-textile was spread


EDU TECH May 2010

Global Best Practices As Indian colleges take their first step towards developing sustainable campuses, administrators are realising the need to create awareness among students, faculty and staff. TERI University’s Dr Seth says, “We invite students from other colleges to workshops and sensitise them.” Some initiatives taken by the Ivy League colleges could serve as a model involving stakeholders to create a sustainable, water-friendly campus. Princeton University focuses on sustainability. The university has built a framework around the theme of greenhouse gas emission, resource conservation and education, research and civic engagement. Students and faculty are the driving force behind these initiatives. Campus-based projects are integrated into the courses; the results become data for ongoing campus assessment programmes and the overall sustainability movement. Examples of these projects include: evaluation of impervious surface area changes over time, sustainable agricultural practices, and strategies for communicating these to the public. Besides, students routinely engage in outdoor or community service work that are linked to sustainability themes. The university also organises conferences where top researchers and thinkers are invited to discuss solutions to sustainability challenges. At Stanford University, focuses on keeping water demand below the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission allocation of 3.033 million gallons per day. Some of the initiatives they have taken include retrofitting of toilets, faucets, showers and urinals with efficient, low-flow models. The campus managers encourage water conservation practices such as the use of front-loading washing machines instead of top-loaders. The water-efficient (WE) technology demonstration programme is another initiative that has been launched by the University which lays down WE Goals and Benchmarks for new buildings. Harvard University is working with the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), residents of the North Allston neighbourhood and relevant regulatory agencies to support a water-friendly neighbourhood and campus. The University is also working on a new Institutional Master Plan (IMP) which will be approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The effort is to adopt a set of urban restoration guidelines that will integrate sustainable water management and design in a bid to create water friendly neighbourhoods and buildings.

across the surface. Seeds of Congo signal grass were planted through them. Over the years, the geo-textile have all but disappeared and the grass has formed a thick cover, preventing soil erosion. Along with the institute’s sewage treatment plant, IIM Kozhikode is a self-reliant institute today, as far as water conservation is considered. The institute uses nearly 50,000 litres of treated water for irrigation. Its total daily demand for water is 200,000 litres. The capacity of the main water pond is 30,000 cubic meters. The total cost of building the RWH system was Rs 8 million, whereas maintenance costs were almost negligible. Says Varma: “By creating a rechargeable and sustainable water source it’s a win-win situation. It helps meet our water requirements without depleting the water table.”

Water conservation


“Within the next two years, around 15 percent of our energy needs will be met by solar energy”

“It was a move from being a resource-consuming but beautiful landscape to a more contextual landscape that the site could support”

“Our intention was to make the best use of locally available materials and create a sustainable, aesthetic campus”

—RAJIV SETH Registrar, TERI University

—RAJEEV SHOREY President, NIIT University

— ARINDAM DAS Director, Pearl Academy of Fashion

Says Das: “While the average cost of construction was around Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,200 per square feet, our innovative low-cost design helped us achieve the same results at just Rs 1,300 per square feet.” The positive outcomes impacted not just the campus, but the neighbourhood as well. NIIT University’s efforts to conserve at its Neemrana campus near Gurgaon created a sustainable source of water not only for its own campus, but also for the hills upstream. The university’s bio-technology department started a project of making the hills green beyond their boundary. Native plants that required little water were planted. Rajeev Shorey, university president, explains: “It was a move from being a resource-consuming but beautiful landscape, to a more contextual landscape that the site could support.” For TERI University, an environment-friendly campus helped “create a test bed for green initiatives” and served “as a model for others”. Not surprisingly, its 2-acre campus located at Vasant Kunj in New Delhi incorporated special measures to reduce energy consumption. Dr Rajiv Seth, registrar, TERI says, “Within the next two years, some 15 percent of our energy needs will be met by solar energy. We are also experimenting with wind and biomass-generated energy.” TERI has also instituted a RWH system to capture and store rainwater. Similarly, its water conservation and recycling efforts enable it to treat and reuse waste water for landscape maintenance.

Value Through Awareness Sometimes, the main challenge faced by universities and colleges before adopting such initiatives is to convince stakeholders. Seth says: “Awareness has to be built from day one about the significance of these practices. It’s not just enough to send a message to shareholders, but its important to create an awareness among all.” At TERI and Pearl, even students have been sensitised regarding the need to conserve water. At the time of construction, low-flow faucets were built into the design, enabling both campuses to wring out the maximum benefit. Recognition of these efforts through awards and media coverage has helped boost awareness. Pearl won a clutch of international architecture awards (including the Best Learning Building of the World-2009). It won among 611 entries from 95 countries. “We routinely have visitors to our Academy, keen to incorporate some of the green solutions that we have.”

IIM Kozhikode’s Varma concurs, “We often receive visitors from NGOs and government agencies. But, we are not really sure if they actually incorporate the system once they go back.” TERI, however, hopes to translate all this interest into concrete measures. It has set up a “green buildings division” that provides consultation to other campuses. It has also developed a “Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA)” that prescribes norms needed for a building to be considered environmentally-friendly and sustainable. Seth says, “Until recently corporate social responsibility was considered a side activity. But, with consumers becoming more conscious, they prefer to exercise choice about products they buy. A similar wave is likely to happen with green buildings, as well. Once that happens green campuses could have a definite branding and marketing edge over their competitors.”

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 editor@edu-leaders.com

May 2010 EDU TECH



Ganesh Natarajan

Solutions For Making Students Employable


esults of the fourth quarter, along with the outlook presented by the top 30 Indian software companies for this fiscal, testifies to the renewed zest in the software industry.

Analysts estimate that India will achieve a 15 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in software service exports in the next three years. The uptick in IT spending is expected to register five percent growth this fiscal. Focus would be on offshore outsourcing—not-so-good news for the West, but for India it will entail a hunt for IT talent. As the industry embarks on a talent hunt, campus recruitments are bound to get into an overdrive. However, the recession knocks endured in the past 18 months will hopefully ensure that excesses are not repeated. The search for talent sources should spread wider to tap more institutions including the second tier ones, and not be confined to the top colleges alone.

The Issue At Hand Are the second tier institutions in India ready to provide the talent that the industry seeks? I have been a part of the Global Talent Track initiative over the past year. Through it, I have learnt just how much the student-employer expectations have evolved, since the early days of the software industry. In the nineties, the formal education sector was unaware of the next step—to create employable skills. The sector continued to focus on data structures and computer


EDU TECH May 2010

architecture, rather than on applications. The gap left the door open for private firms such as the NIIT and the APTECH to build businesses through dual certification programmes. In this decade, a number of graduating BCAs and MCAs have redressed the “neglect”. The quality of these graduates still leaves much to be desired. However this issue is getting a lot of attention and a greater number of state governments and smaller universities are now more willing to talk about this issue. The industry has also come forward to address this issue. There are two new solutions that appear to have emerged to address this issue of producing employable graduates. The first of this involves technology.

Using Technology Technology is being used increasingly to reengineer learning methodology towards a more “learner-centric model” of education—a concept which uses video and computer-aided instruction extensively. Here, the teacher becomes more of a classroom facilitator. Discussion, dialogue and collaborative learning become the key. These include solutions like CISCO, Tele-presence and Webex that enable synchronous and asynchronous forms of interaction between students.

Ganesh Natarajan

Advantage New Method The advantage of this new method of “blended learning” is that with the help of technology concepts can be explained and understood much better. It also boosts interaction and facilitated learning in classrooms. This new education model will also need to focus on the question of “quality and scale”. It will need to look at training faculty in lesser-known universities to use these tools effectively, otherwise, the limited traditional model will continue. The role of technology in building connected communities—either in education, healthcare, or in government-citizen interfaces or social inclusiveness—cannot be overemphasised. In the revival of economic fortunes, judicious application of technology will ensure that a harmonious society can emerge, where opportunities for skill development and employment are distributed across a wider section. It is not only the IT industry that stands to gain. All service sectors will also benefit from this new approach being employed by institutions.

Bridging Programme The other solution that can address the issue of employability effectively has come up because institutions have become more open to interac-

tions with the industry. In the current scenario a new kind of partnership has emerged between potential employers, engineering and technology institutions, and skill-providers. I believe there are three reasons as to why the current partnership will flourish further. Companies have realised that they have to tap new supply sources, particularly from the Tier-II engineering and technology colleges, to feed their need for more entry-level recruits. I T and BPO firms have realised that they need talent in large numbers. The cost of training these graduates to become employable can be costly. A custom-designed finishing school programme, providing technical and soft skill on behalf of the institutions is the key to ensure that the industry gets what it needs. These bridging programmes will be a blessing because they will definitely enable placement averages to go up, particularly in case of private engineering and BCA and MCA colleges. It will also make them attract more students to their institutions. It is necessary to take note of these solutions and look at ways of improving employability of students. Those in the second tier institutions that do not look at solutions now may have to repent later.


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 Parul Vaidya who works with Zensar. He can be reached at ganesh.natarajan@eduleaders.com

May 2010 EDU TECH



Digital Library



Digital GOES


EYE STOPPERS DIGITAL LIBRARY OF INDIA aims to digitise one million books, mainly in Indian languages IISc HAS DIGITISED OVER 203,842 books from libraries across India


EDU TECH May 2010


hen Google launched its agreement with publishers and authors regarding the digitising of books and making them available over the web, the company’s co-founder and president of technology, Sergey Brin said: “Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. The tremendous wealth of knowledge that lies within the books of the world will now be at their (readers’) fingertips.” This could well be your vision for your students. To give them access to all the knowledge in the books that your library stocks, and those that other libraries do. Often, when a student needs to find the book he is looking for, he finds that all copies have been lent out to other students. Various departments might want to secure subscriptions to the same prestigious journal. These books and journals are obtained with considerable effort. But when the library runs out of space, the old journals and magazines are simply junked. Either an institution lives with it, or decides to opt for a digital library. Simply put, a digital library stores its collections of books, journals, dissertations, and magazines in a digital format. Instead of allowing precious real estate to be converted into “physical libraries”, storage servers share books and journals at the click of a mouse. This enables students to gain access to the knowledge repository via computers.


Sizeable content, a willingness to support an ongoing effort and a well-trained library team; these are the must haves to start a digital library

Digital Library


May 2010 EDU TECH



Digital Library

Figure out


how much of the content in copyright needs to move to the digital library, and work out a strategy to find permissions for it

how to convert what is out of copyright to digital format, and in what phases this needs to be done



Work out

how much content you have and how much will come in the next few years

the infrastructure and resources you need (hardware, software, connectivity and people) depending on your budget

Six easy steps to a digitised library

Make a strategy for migration of content for the coming years, keeping in mind hardware refreshes, software upgrades and other issues

“A digital library is the need of the hour. The students and faculty demand that kind of access now,” says Dr MG Sreekumar, librarian and head, Center for Development of Digital Libraries (CDDL), Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIM K). He is also the UNESCO co-ordinator Greenstone Support for South Asia. So does that mean traditional libraries are out? “No, we are of the firm belief that traditional libraries are to be respected. We should look at digital libraries as a layer added above the traditional libraries. That’s when the real value addition happens to the existing knowledge in the organisation,” he says. There are no physical books to rummage through. Every digital object in a digital library, whether a book, or a video, or a journal, is tagged using metadata. Metadata are keywords and descriptors that describe each item in the collection.


EDU TECH May 2010

Train users to use the digital library to its full potential and make them aware of issues such as plagiarism, copyright, and potential misuse

Information managers in a digital library make this metadata highly descriptive, so that anybody using the digital library can easily zero in on the item he is looking for by running a search.

Inside A Digital Library So what all can a digital library contain? Dr S. Ashok, chairman, Education Technology and Library, Network of Automated Library And Archives (Nalanda), National Institute of Technology, Calicut (NITC) says, “Nalanda has e-books, e-journals, e-databases, back volume collections of journals, student theses, faculty course materials, application notes, data sheets, and e-learning courses, conference proceedings, dissertations and CBTs.” The Digital Library of India project, which is hosted by Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in cooperation with many institutions, for the Centre, aims to digi-

tise one million books, mostly in Indian languages. Dr N. Balakrishnan, Chairman of Division of Information Sciences, IISc says, “We have digitised over 203,842 books from various libraries across India. We have books and journals in diverse subjects along with newspapers and manuscripts.” Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIM K), has e-books, e-journals, videos, and a repository of its own publications which include conference proceedings, working papers and student publications.

Digital Plusses “Things have been completely turned on their head now. Take publishing for instance. Fifteen years ago, a book was printed and then it would be converted into the digital form. Now the book takes birth in the electronic form and then if required, it is printed. Another example

Digital Library

is the library. Earlier you would visit the library. Now the library is made available to you,” says Sreekumar of IIM K. This implies access to a library that is not limited by timings. It is available round the clock as long as the connectivity to the library is maintained. Concerns regarding real estate and storage of books, magazines and journals are eliminated. Libraries don’t have to worry about maintaining multiple copies of a same book. In a 2004 paper by the Centre for Knowledge Societies developed for Educational Development Centre, authors Aditya Dev Sood and Uma Chandrasekharan, say, “Although conventional libraries do preserve socio-cultural ambiences within their spaces, a digital library can provide more equitable and widely distributed access at lower costs.” As already mentioned, many libraries take on the task of digitising existing rare manuscripts and old books. If such fragile objects are given public access they would soon be unusable. Converting them into digital formats ensures that this does not happen, and that all those who need to read them get access to their digital versions. Digital libraries are not limited to printed material. Knowledge can be contained in any form, such as audio recordings, videos, graphics, images, even e-mail. All these can be brought to users. This also means that users now have a choice of how they want to carry that data. Digital libraries can enable printing of information, or allow copying through various media.

“Nalanda has e-books, e-journals, student theses, application notes, data sheets and dissertations” —DR S. ASHOK Chairman, NITC

Costs are reduced. Available roundthe-clock as long as connectivity to the library is maintained

Once an institution sets up a digital library using open interoperability standards, it can connect to digital libraries across the world. This throws open knowledge residing in any server anywhere on the planet. It completely and absolutely simplifies knowledge sharing, and makes the entire process of seeking knowledge seamless.

Start The Scans This does not mean that institutions should start scanning the books it has, once it decides to embark on the digital library journey. Do remember that you have purchased a book, not its copyright. So, making it available in a digital form for public use might mean that you are violating copyright laws. Understanding what can go and cannot go into the digital library is the first step. Out of copyright material can be included, but not those still in copyright, in-print, and out-of-print material. For the latter set, you have to get the permis-

“You cannot touch anything that is under copyright” —DR JAGDISH ARORA Director, INFLIBNET Centre, UGC


sions from publishers. You could end up getting rights permissions which allow usage of material in certain ways, which could be different for different publishers and material. Your digital library software should be able to handle these disparate ways of managing the rights. “You cannot touch anything that is under copyright,” says Dr Jagdish Arora, Director, INFLIBNET Centre, an inter-university centre of University Grants Commission (UGC). Sreekumar agrees. “It is not advisable to digitise anything under copyright. Take the legal route and approach the publishers for permission,” he says. This does not mean that your digital library will end up with a precious few books. The books you already have can be made available to your students by approaching the publisher. The publisher could have options to provide e-books against a certain payment. You could also negotiate a deal in which you can make parts of the book, or an entire copy, available to users. For instance, a book which does not seem to have a presence in your region, may find a new market if you make it digitally available to students and faculty in your institution. Such actions would also please the publisher. Numerous books are available in the public domain. According to reports, in November 2008, Googles Books Library Project had touched the 7-million mark, of which 5 million were out of copyright. Project Gutenberg has over 30,000 free e-books on its site. A trend that will define digital libraries in the coming years is the changing attitude of authors making their content open to public. The Open Access Initiative which encourages free and unrestricted online availability of material, says, “Open access is economically feasible, as it gives readers the power to find and use relevant literature. It gives authors and their works vast and measurable new visibility, readership, and impact.” The Open Access Initiative encourages institutions and authors to make their works accessible to all. There is a definite effort to have open access journals which May 2010 EDU TECH



Digital Library

“A DIGITAL LIBRARY IS AN ONGOING PROCESS” Dr Jagdish Arora, Director, INFLIBNET Centre, an inter-university centre of UGC, gives tips on how to build sustainable digital libraries What are the things that a higher education institute should keep in mind before it starts on a digital library initiative? The key thing is to not approach a digital library effort as a “project”. A digital library is an ongoing process and it requires sustained support from the institution. So, treating it as a project that has been completed and done with, is not the right approach. Also, a digital library must meet interoperability standards. Only then will a digital library be able to connect with other such libraries across the world. The institute should also be prepared with migration strategies to deal with technology changes. Let’s say you scan documents at 100 dpi today. A few years from now, the minimum resolutions being read by devices and software could be 400 dpi. Then what happens to your documents? So you have to build in migration strategies at every point, and keep migrating well in time so that you stay ahead of technology obsolescence.

What does Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET) Centre do? INFLIBNET is an autonomous Inter-University Centre (IUC) of the University Grants Commission (UGC), which is involved in creating infrastructure for sharing of library and information resources and services among academic and research institutions. We have just launched N-LIST (National Library and Information Services for Scholarly Content). This is being jointly executed by the UGC-INFONET Digital Library Consortium, INFLIBNET Centre and the INDEST-AICTE Consortium, IIT Delhi. It gives cross-subscription to e-resources subscribed by the two consortia, i.e. subscription to INDEST-AICTE resources for universities and UGCINFONET resources for technical institutions. It also gives access to selected e-resources to colleges. N-LIST project provides access to e-resources to students, researchers and faculty from colleges and other beneficiary institutions through servers installed at the INFLIBNET Centre. will enable authors to give the public easy access to their work. Digital libraries that meet the standards of the Open Archives Initiative enable self archiving, which allows authors to submit their works to electronic libraries. These efforts can enable open access to works by scholars and researchers. This is not just limited to written works. Says Sreekumar, “We already have lots of authenticated videos from institutions such as MIT Open Courseware and IIT.”

What’s The Strategy? A digital library has two parts to it—


EDU TECH May 2010

externa and internal. The internal consists of all content that is generated within the institution. The external consists of all links to outside content. Internal content refers to the research papers and course material, while the external content refers to links to any number of journals, and other content which needs to be procured from outside the library. What should be the balance between the two? Sreekumar opines that there should be sizeable knowledge within the institution before it can go into the digital library.

He also advises developing a strategy to collect all this knowledge which is scattered, disparate and distributed. The other key aspect is money.“You need at least Rs 100,000 to 500.000 to get your digital library off the ground, depending on the volume of knowledge. A sustained investment is also required. So institutions should be geared up for that,” says Sreekumar. Institutions should be ready to treat it as an ongoing process and give it continuous support. Digital libraries ride on technology. Faced with the reality of technology obsolescence, an institution has to invest to ensure that the digital library is available despite any change in hardware, software and format. For hardware, you need to look at reliable servers with 3-5 TB of space, SCSI and RAID capabilities depending on what an institution’s requirements are. You need UPSes to ensure the servers are up and running round the clock. Power and cooling costs have to be factored in as well. If your institution intends to get into a lot of scanning, you could opt for high-end scanners. The other option for this is to outsource the scanning. “This costs Rs 5 per page,” says Arora. “You would also need software and other resources to ensure that the scanning is not error-ridden.” “The other time consuming process is the assignment of metadata. This is what can make your digital library useful. The more descriptive metadata you can have, the more levels at which this description can be done, and the better your indexing will be. This leads to better search results and retrieval.”

Core Of The Library The digital library software is the core of the solution. “You can opt for commercial software which could easily cost well over Rs 200,000 or opt for free open source repositories such as Greenstone, Dspace, or Eprints. To customise them for your institution, you could opt for outsourcing parts of it to a vendor, and train your library team to handle the rest,” says Sreekumar. When opting for digital library software, what should one keep in mind?

Digital Library

“The ability to integrate all types of media is one. We also look for the interface, and the environment it works in. For instance, does it run on web technologies? Everything is online, so it has to support web standards,” says Sreekumar. In other words, one has to look at how easy it is to make the knowledge easily and seamlessly accessible to the end user. An institution should also look for interoperability standards. This will help its digital library collaborate with other digital libraries of the world. So it needs to primarily support OAI-PMH (Open Access Initiative-Protocol for Metadata Harvesting). Echoing this thought, Arora says, “The software has to meet international standards.” Talking about Dspace, Venkatesh L.S., Director, Ecole Global, says, “DSpace is an open source digital repository solution that helps librarians implement a standards-based system. There are other commercially available software but libraries prefer DSpace as it complies with the key international standards for digital archives.” It is easy to implement and is also customisable. It can be integrated with existing enterprise systems such as a library management system. The key standards supported by DSpace include CNRI Handles, a technology specification to assign unique handles to each digital object which helps in easy retrieval; and OAI-PMH v2.0 which allows digital libraries to collect metadata, index them and provide better search results.

Knowledge can be contained in any form— audio recordings, videos, images, graphics and even e-mail


According to Sreekumar, Greenstone is a renowned open source software system sponsored by UNESCO. One of the laudable efforts of Greenstone is its commitment to lower the bar for construction of practical digital libraries, while leaving a lot of flexibility for the user. Greenstone is being used by institutions across the world and the feedback is encouraging.

Preservation Is Critical Digital storage is highly perishable and you can lose data not just to bad weather or wear and tear, but also to an inadvertent click of a delete button. “You need to have multiple copies, proper backup and storage in place so that all your data is always around,” warns Arora. The other issue in preservation is obsolescence of technology. You need hardware refreshes and software upgrades every few years. Moreover, you have to be prepared to deal with the various format changes.

“Earlier you would visit the library. Now, the library is made available to you.” —M.G. SREEKUMAR Librarian, Head, CCDL, IIM Kozhikode

Manage Rights It is also important to control who has access to what material in your digital library and you should find a way of managing access rights. There are solutions that can help you solve this issue as well. For instance DSpace has the provision to define access roles and depending on the roles, restriction to different areas of the library can be governed. Users who upload their digital assets are asked to grant a license which would enable other users to download their content. Provision to just view abstracts but non-use of full material can be provided for different items.

The Right People The key challenge for institutions embarking on a digitising project is related to people. Librarians run libraries, but they are not software experts, while software experts cannot run libraries. “We need professionals who understand the science of running libraries as well as understand software, and that is a big challenge,” says Ashok of NITC. Institutions should be on the lookout for programmes for library professionals

to be trained in digital library software. Current efforts to promote digitisation are encouraging. UGC’s efforts in running INFLIBNET, the launch of new initiatives such as N-LIST (National Library and Information Services for Scholarly Content) which provide access to online journals to government aided institutions, INDEST (Indian National Digital Library in Engineering Sciences and Technology) Consortium which enable subscriptions to electronic resources for government institutions are some of the ways the Ministry of Human Resources Development is involved in pushing the idea of digital libraries. With this kind of effort and support, we will hopefully see more institutions coming up with digital library initiatives.

What’s Online To read more articles on technology 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 editor@edu-leaders.com

May 2010 EDU TECH



P.K. Gupta


The Trainers’’ P.K. Gupta, Founder of Sharda University, talks of teachers’ training and how technology can help cope with the looming shortage of faculty By Smita Polite


EDU: From being a part of the manufacturing business to becoming an educational entrepreneur—it has been quite a journey. How did it all happen? P.K. GUPTA: You could say that I was inspired by my grandfather, who was an educationist and a social


worker. In 1985, I was working in Chennai supplying engineering equipment to research laboratories. It was then that the bug bit me! In those days a lot of private colleges were being established in south India. And students from the north were thronging those places, as there was a distinct lack of specialist universities and institutions in the north. I saw an opportunity to fill this demand-supply gap. It took me 10 years to gather enough resources and start the first college. Whatever money the family had, was invested and re-invested. All resources derived from other businesses were put into the first college—Hindustan College of Science and Technology which started in 1996 at the old campus. Then came the Hindustan Institute of Management and Computer Studies, followed by Anand Engineering College (christened after my father). In our fourth year, we established the Babu Mohanlal Arya Smarak Engineering College named after my grandfather(Babu Mohanlal). I felt that I had come a full circle. EDU TECH May 2010


FACT FILE EDUCATION An engineer and an alumnus of former Agra University (Dr BR Ambedkar University) AWARD Agra University Gaurav Shri Award, 2010 TEEING OFF: An avid golfer, Gupta loves to set off with his clubs at the end of the day FOOD TALK: Given a choice between north and south Indian food, he would prefer his idlis and dosas any day

May 2010 EDU TECH



If a teacher does not make it through our institute, they get jobs elsewhere! In 2000, we began to consolidate our courses with multidisciplinary programmes. In 2005, we started Sharda University named after my mother. Its first institute was Hindustan Institute of Technology. Between 2005 and 2006, we established a dental college. In 2007, we started BBA, BCA PhD programmes and by 2008, there were enough multidisciplinary programmes to get us the university status (that was awarded in 2009).

What were the major challenges? Getting the right faculty was, and is, the biggest challenge. Even today, I notice that most interviewees come to us because they want to be employed, not because they wish to be teachers. In 2000, our country produced 200 PhD (engineering) scholars. China produced 2,000. India needs 20,000 engineering doctorates annually. From the (approximately) 5,000 Indian engineering colleges, 4,000 doctorates pass out every year—and the demand-supply gap grows. Right from the first interview of the teacher aspirants that I conducted, I realised that common sense was remarkably uncommon. When I would ask a candidate to explain a simple plastic mug, he would talk of synergy. But, I wanted a simpler answer from them—one that a layperson would understand. To address these problems, Sharda University began a faculty-development school to create a new breed of teachers who would be trained to encourage learning and questions in the classrooms. Curiosity killed the cat perhaps, but our students should be fearless and ask on.

Can you shed more light on the teachers’ training programme? To train future teachers,we hire experts from Technical Teachers’ Training Institute, Chandigarh, and from the CBSE board. These experts conduct classes on pedagogy that are dialogue-based. The training gives candidates a scope to discuss a topic through presentations and question-answer sessions. I say “teachers of the future”, because we don’t recruit every person who undergoes the two-month training. If we need two, we hire four candidates. For these two months, we give all candidates a monthly stipend of Rs 10,000.


EDU TECH May 2010

Post-training, another set of interviews is conducted. Even if a teacher does not make it to our institutes, they get jobs in other colleges! That’s because our training is solid.

Sharda University focuses on technology for training. Can you explain why? Yes, we try to take lesson notes online. In another two years, all classrooms will have CCTVs and multimedia projectors. Whatever technological upgrade is possible, we’ll take the step. Students will be granted the opportunity to answer and discuss questions online—on a bigger platform. After all, they pay good money to come and avail education with us. And technology ensures that teachers do their jobs. By taking the lessons and lesson plans online, we allow more transparency. Technology also allows interaction among a bigger group of experts—we can invite teachers, academics and experts from across the world to talk on a topic. I have a dream that 25 percent of my faculty will comprise experts from overseas. I want to increase the competition—and technology will help me in achieving that dream. We also need technology to compete with other universities and the Ivy League colleges that are planning to start operations here.

What’s your advice to people running universities, especially in terms of technology adoption? Let your budget decide for you. This year, Shar-

P.K. Gupta DIALOGUE da University invested around Rs 900 million to equip each classroom with multimedia systems. Another Rs 250 million went into software development. It’s not possible for all institutes to invest so much of money. We could, because we are mature enough to afford the spend. My advice would be— start manually, then gradually move to the IT processes. At the end of the day, ensure an administrative system that is transparent and error-free. And I believe that technology helps an institute to do that.

What’s your vision for Sharda? In another five years, I want Sharda University to be among the top 100 in the world. In India, it should be among the top 10. Quite honestly, we are aiming for the numero uno position. The hurdle before us is finding the right kind of human resource, as good faculty is hard to find and retain. As far as infrastructure is concerned, we are trying to invest Rs 2000 million in two years’ time, and wish to raise that amount to $2 billion in 15 years’ time.

Within 14 years, you are one of the biggest entrepreneurs in the education sector in UP. What would you attribute your success to? I know where the money comes from. It’s the hard-earned money coming from parents who have saved up to give their sons and daughters the best. From the core of my heart, I can never compromise on quality because we realise that the money is precious, what we are offering is precious; people we are dealing with are equally precious. And we take pride in what we do. The 16,000 students we have groomed in all these years are all a part of my and Sharda’s success story. Twenty years down the line, I want to see my students lead companies and take the country forward.

Start manually, move to IT processes. Ensure a system that is transparent. Technology will help you Whats in Online Find insightful similar stories at edu-leaders.com Write your views, opinions about the stories, issues that you found interesting to the editor at editor@edu-leaders.com

May 2010 EDU TECH



Dr Ashok Sadanand Kolaskar

NAME: Dr Ashok Sadanand Kolaskar CURRENT ENGAGEMENT: Vice Chancellor, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar DATE OF BIRTH: September 3, 1950

AWARDS AND HONOURS Fellow, Indian National Science Academy Fellow, National Academy of Sciences Citation from the Governor of Maryland for his contribution to Bioinformatics PARAM Award for best parallel computing in bioinformatics Advisor, National Knowledge Commission Chairman of the central committee task force on bioinformatics Member, Academic and Executive Councils of Central Universities, Assam and Madhya Pradesh, Member, board of governors, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore

Making Changes Inside-Out His desire to make a difference to higher education drove Ashok S. Kolaskar to quit his US job and head home By Padmaja Shastri 60

Edu Tech May 2010


hen former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam called Ashok Sadanand Kolaskar five years ago to ask if he was interested in taking over as the Vice Chancellor (VC) of Delhi University, he threw the question back at Kalam. When Kalam said “no”, Kolaskar also turned down the offer. “Many of my wellwishers reproached me for letting go of such a coveted position. But, if I had accepted, then I would have been doing nothing new,” explains Kolaskar, who was the VC of the University of Pune at that time. When his tenure at Pune University ended in 2006, he went back to teaching and research at the university’s bioinformatics centre that he had helped establish in the late nineteen eighties.

DR Lohia

THINGS HE LIKES Book: Jonathan Livingston Seagull Movie: Mother India Food: Pulihora (Andhra tamarind rice) Music: Hindustani vocal, especially Pundit Bhimsen Joshi. Also, Kishore Kumar. Quote: “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed” – Mahatma Gandhi

Dr Ashok Sadanand Kolaskar

In 2007, he took everyone by surprise when he joined DSK Global Education and Research Private Limited, a Punebased start-up. The idea was to try out a “completely new model of skill development”. As the managing director of the company that started an industrial design, animation and gaming school, Kolaskar toyed with a novel international collaboration, which was not limited to course content, but also involved governance systems and faculty.

Making A Difference He joined KIIT, too, so that he could learn to operate a different model of education—a residential, private university—from the inside. “From the outside, you can never know the strengths and weaknesses of a system. Unless you have worked on-field, I don’t think your advice has much meaning,” he reflects. It is because of this “inside-out” approach that Kolaskar’s advice is widely sought by higher education stakeholders. As the advisor to the National Knowledge Commission, his in-depth reports on higher education, open educational resources, research and education networks and distant education, have paved the way to path-breaking reforms. He is regularly involved in policy formation to improve governance and quality of higher education, as a part of government committees and task forces on higher education, biotechnology and bioinformatics. He is also on the board of educational and research institutions; and companies. “You can do any number of things if you manage your time. I learnt that from my doctoral guide G.N. Ramachandran at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc),” he said. It was the desire to make a difference that motivated Kolaskar to quit a high-paying job as the director of the Bioinformatics Programme with American Type Culture Collection—a global bio-resource centre based in the US—and join the Pune University as VC, a job that paid him Rs 25,000 per month. He worked 18 hours a day to turn the university into a model for others like it. Some of the reforms that he introduced were a first for any university in the

country, like online admissions and implementation of an IPR policy. “There will always be someone who will disagree. It is important to listen to views, remain neutral and find a solution. That helped me carry the team along,” he says. At KIIT, too, his mission is to take the university to the next level. He wants to establish deemed universities that can do a splendid job. His agenda is to increase the university’s research component, enter international collaborations, institutionalise choice-based credit systems, and obtain an accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, USA. Just two weeks into his new job, he is already on


love—teaching and research. Widely acknowledged as the father of bioinformatics in India, he is one of the few scientists in the world pursuing research in this field. He has 1,000 citations, numerous publications and a host of software products to his credit—some of which have been commercialised globally. “I coined the word ‘bioinformatics’ when I started to use the computer to analyse protein and DNA sequences as a scientist at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad,” says Kolaskar. He went on to establish the Bioinformatics Centres there, and at the University of Pune. His research was aimed at understanding the living world better. In

“From the outside, you can never know strengths and weaknesses of a system” the fast-track of change. Incidentally, Pune University saw a five-fold jump in its corpus during his tenure.

Braving Odds Challenges are not new for Kolaskar. He was born at Vilegaon in the Akola district of Maharashtra into a lower-middle class family. As one of six siblings, he had his share of problems while growing up. “We had just one lantern. We would walk four miles to school everyday,” he reminisces. His education was supported by scholarships. Post school, he joined the Nagpur University for his bachelors degree and later topped his masters education in physics breaking all records.

Complex To Basics Despite having his fingers in several pies, Kolaskar never abandoned his first

that pursuit, he developed a method to develop peptide vaccine candidate against the virus that causes Japanese Encephalitis, for which he was awarded several patents. His students love the fact that he is approachable and explains each topic in detail. “Today, most students come to colleges to earn a certificate. That worries me,” he says. A proponent of the hybrid model—distance education combined with classroom teaching—Kolaskar thinks it is ideal for India, because it costs less and can be rapidly scaled. “We need to quickly build on our strengths to become globally competitive, rather than spend too much on our weaknesses,” he says. Spoken like the bridge player that he is. Little wonder then that he knows how to make the best use of cards that he has been dealt with. And comes up trumps. May 2010 Edu Tech


CLASSIC THINKING Nietzsche’s Legacy For Education: Past and Present Values

Book Review

The World Is Open Helping the trustee, president, department chair and faculty find decision-making tools to aid administration TECHNOLOGY IS changing education in multifarious ways. In this seminal work, Dr Curtis J. Bonk explores the trends in the internet, and their impact on education. He uses the 10 principles of the mnemonic WE-ALL-LEARN module to optimistically transform Thomas L. Friedman’s “Flat World” into one where we are all learners, contributing to the evolving web of learning. In a postscript to the book, Bonk refers to our age as the “learning century”. It is an age abundant with learning opportunities made available by web technologies, and he believes us to be educational archaeologists excavating a boundless treasure of learning possibilities. The openness of the world has ensured that “anyone can now learn anything from anyone at anytime.” The internet is a vast storehouse of knowledge and a channel for disseminating and procuring information from across the world. This pool of information is crossing boundaries and being made available to millions who presently have no access no knowledge. Bonk, a professor at Indiana University, shows us how pioneers like Glenn R. Jones utilised the potential of web technology to start a “revolution” in education.

The book revisits Nietzsche’s contributions to educational philosophy. It is significant for contemporary educational thought, since it examines the question of value in postmodernity. In a series of wide-ranging essays, this collection addresses questions of self, ethics, difference, arts, democracy, modernity and nihilism. As the editors explain, “It brings together educators who, working from Nietzche’s texts, mark out the significance of his thought for educational theory. Individual chapters firmly link Nietzsche’s ‘oeuvre’ to contemporary scholarship and particularly to the work of the French post-structuralists.” Don G. Smith, associate professor at Eastern Illinois University, claims that, “In the light of today’s beleaguered common schools and the decline of colleges and universities as places of higher learning, Nietzsche reminds us that while everyone may be schooled, not everyone can be educated. Nietzsche’s most valuable educational legacy is his warning that society cannot foster educated individuals through coercive mass schooling.”

Author: Curtis J. Bonk Publisher: Jossey-Bass (July, 2009)

Author: Michael Peters, Paul Smeyers, James Marshall Publisher: Praeger (October, 2000)

Price: $19.77

Price: $131.95



The Genius in All of Us

THE author of Me, MySpace, And I introduces us to the multi-tasking and technically savvy youth, providing us with strategies to engage them at school and at home. He says, “The little I in iGeneration stands for things like the iPod and iPhone, and also stands for individualised.”

Shenk makes a bold statement claiming that no one is born a genius, with innate special talents. Achievements in any field are the result of a process of interaction between our genes and the environment, since nature and nurture work in tandem. He debunks conventional myths regarding “giftedness.”

AUTHOR: Larry D. Rosen PUBLISHER: Palgrave Macmillan (March, 2010) PRICE: $11.56

AUTHOR: David Shenk PUBLISHER: Doubleday (March, 2010) PRICE: $17.79

EDU TECH May 2010



Double Delight

Opinions may be divided over the new ClamCase— but it deserves a second glance

GADGETS Beating The iPad In response to Apple’s iPad, Samsung is set to launch an Android-powered tablet device in August, called the S-Pad. It will feature a seven-inch Super AMOLED screen and stunning clarity even during the bright lights of the day. Details are few for the moment, but it will feature both Wi Fi and 3G connectivity, along with hundreds of e-books, a USB dock, and have access to the Samsung App Store.

Price: Scheduled to be released in August. Pricing is not available

WITH THE RELEASE of Apple’s iPad, it was only a matter of time before developers devised a way to convert the iPad into a netbook. That time is now. Developed by its namesake ClamCase, LLC, the gadget is a wireless Bluetooth keyboard with docking capabilities that is fully compatible not only with the iPad, but other HID compatible Bluetooth devices such as Sony’s PlayStation 3, Tivo, and some HTPCs. The ClamCase can also be used as a flip cover, designed to protect your iPad from all damage. Finally, it has an infinity stand which allows you to manipulate the positioning of your iPad—it can be used as a netbook, or in tablet form, or at an angle, so you can watch movies. Whatever may be your intended use, the ClamCase looks set to be the great addition to the iPad.

It is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2010. For now, the pricing is unavailable

A Complete Experience On June 10, Sony will enter the world of nextgeneration TVs by introducing 3D sets. Sony’s technology will utilise active shutter glasses that give an impression of 3D images. In addition, the company is expected to incorporate 3D technology into other products, such as Blu-ray discs and Playstation 3 games—for the total effect.

Price: Tentative cost between $3,500 & $4,000

O! What fun

New Phone On The Block

NOW YOU CAN bring your HD media from your PC to your living room, without sacrificing quality, converting formats, or burning DVDs. ASUS has unveiled its O!Play Air HDP-R3 HD media player, which promises to provide users wireless access to digital content from all sources. It will stream a wide variety of audio, photo, and highdefinition video formats from PCs, NAS, card readers and USB, or eSATA-connected, devices.

Mi-Fone, Africa’s fastest growing mobile devices brand, has made its entry into the Indian market with a range of new phones. They offer a wide variety of features such as GPRS, JAVA, push email, and dualSIM at value for money prices. There are numerous other features including an LCD touch screen on one model, FM radio capability, and more.

Price: Rs 10,500

Price: Starting Rs 3,990 May 2010 EDU TECH


LEGACY “Books are for all. A library is a growing organism”

Ranganathan The Reluctant Librarian

Often a chance comment has the power to change the world. Professor Edward J. Ross’ remark one evening, “You mean, books are for use,” changed Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan’s concept of libraries. It led him to formulate his five laws of library science for which he received the Padma Shri award. Today, Ranganathan is considered to be the father of library science and documentation in India. He is admired worldwide for his contributions as an educator, librarian and thinker, and for laying the theoretical foundations of information organisation. He believed libraries could help societies grow and thrive by spreading literacy. He also saw them as places of service and intellectual dialogue, perceiving library workers as both scholars researching in the field, and teachers, sharing their knowledge with society. Yet, interestingly enough, when Ranganathan began his journey, his knowledge of ‘libraries’ was limited to what he had read in a few pages of an Encyclopaedia Britannica article, days before an interview. His journey began as a mathematician. After graduating from Madras Christian College, he went on to pursue his life-long aspiration of teaching the subject. He served as a member of the mathematics faculties at universities in Mangalore, Coimbatore and Madras over a period of five years, during which he published many papers on the subject. Ranganathan was selected out of 900 candidates for the post of university librarian offered by the University of Madras. The other candidates lacked formal training. In comparison, Ranganathan’s limited papers were enough for the committee to repose faith in him. He was reluctant to take up the job, and had even forgotten about his application when he received the call for an interview. At first, he hated his work. He would complain bitterly to the authorities, requesting them to allow him to teach again. He was told his lectureship would be granted, but only on one condition. He would be required to travel to London in order to study contemporary Western practices in library science. He travelled to University College London, where he just “managed to scrape through”, securing average marks. However, he developed a keen interest in the problem of classification, focusing on what he perceived to be flaws with the popular decimal classification, and began to explore new possibilities on his own. Eventually, it was this reluctant librarian who developed the first major analytico-synthetic classification system—the Colon Classification. Ranganathan’s inspiring story demonstrates how even slow starters can turn into high performers. If you would like to share similar stories with readers of this publication please write to the Editor, EDU at editor@edu-leaders.com


EDU TECH May 2010

~: 1892 - 1972 :~ FIELD Library Science ASSOCIATIONS Government College (Coimbatore) Presidency College University of Madras Benaras Hindu University AWARDS AND HONOURS 1957 Padma Shri 1965 National Research Professor in Library Science THE JOURNEY 1924 Appointed first librarian at University of Madras 1945 Librarian at Benaras Hindu University 1947 Taught at Delhi University 1954 Research and writing in Zurich 1958 Visiting professor at Vikram University, Ujjain 1962 Founded the Documentation Research and Training Centre