The Pursuit of Prestige

Page 1

Volume 02 Issue 09


eDU | volume 02 | Issue 09

A 9.9 Media Publication SEPTEMBER 2011


Thin clients can have fat benefits P50 Academics





educ ation

Integrated BBA-cum-MBA programmes: Need of the hour? P44

Able institutional leadership for

vision and planning scored 98 on the index of importance


Pankaj Jalote, Director, IIIT Delhi, on quality education P64



respondents said qualification and experience of the faculty is very important


Pursuit of

Prestige What it takes to reach the top...EDU finds out Pg 18

3 lakh teachers

needed in higher education, says HRD Ministry

Prestige factors

MJ Xavier, Director, IIM Ranchi, feels that industry-government-academia linkages are critical for building prestige 99 Faculty

89 Institutional Administration

88 Financing & Funding

94 Academic Programmes

87 Technology Usage

93 Students

86 Building & Infrastructure

93 Research

83 Collaborations

Scores of factors on the Index of Importance

77 Stakeholder Participation

Shashi Gulhati, CEO, EdCil, says students must be the centre of the faculty’s universe. They must be initiated into research Bala V Balachandran, Founder & Dean, Great Lakes, Chennai, says attitude and ethical consciousness of students in contributing to society is a key factor in the pursuit of prestige

FOREWORD What is prestige?


“Clearly, the survey reflects the reality of students’ aspirations and, therefore, your focus as higher education leaders”

veryone, who wants a higher education degree, wants to get it from a prestigious institution. Understandably, all higher educational institutions would like to be counted among the prestigious halls of learning. While we all have a sense of what that means, we, at EDU, decided to take a more deliberate approach to examine what constitutes prestige for an academic institution. We sent you a survey and got an overwhelming 530 responses (at the last count). While it is not surprising that faculty and academic programmes emerged as the top drivers of prestige, it is interesting to see your perspectives on the key factors that influence these drivers. For example, when prioritising the stakeholder factors that drive prestige, you noticeably placed ranking in surveys at the bottom of the list. In fact, you emphatically voted that it is the quality of companies coming for on-campus recruitment that is the biggest of the stakeholder factors driving reputation. Clearly, the survey reflects the reality of students’ aspirations and, therefore, your focus as higher education leaders in the context of our country. Similarly, it is interesting that you believe getting your website right is more important than providing interactive blackboards when prioritising technology factors driving prestige. The findings of the survey are the subject of our cover story this month and also provide the backdrop for EDU’s first annual Vice Chancellors’ Retreat, being held this weekend at the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad. We were inspired by the book, In Pursuit of Prestige, co-authored by Charles Goldman of the Rand Corporation, in setting the theme for the survey and the VCs’ Retreat. Dr Goldman is an expert on higher education in the US and will be a keynote speaker at the Retreat. And for the Indian perspective, who better to kick off the Retreat than Andre Beteille, one of the foremost thinkers of our times and author of Universities at Crossroads, a seminal piece of work on the evolution of India’s universities? Looking forward to Hyderabad!

Dr Pramath Raj Sinha

September 2011  EduTech


Contents EDU September 2011

update 04 05 06 07


Viewpoints 08 Rahul choudaha Academic Leadership Beyond Bottom Line


10 Rishikesha t krishnan Wanted Sutradharas of Social Change

expertise 14 VIJAY SHUKLA & Pankaj agarwal Education Reforms on Anvil

Campus 38 designing a difference Can architecture enhance learning? By Teja Lele Desai

academics 44 grooming young mba leaders Shaping young undergraduates through integrated BBA-cum-MBA programmes By Charu Bahri


“Quality research will happen only when there is an urge to discover something” —T Ramasami Secretary, Govt of India, Dept of Science & Technology


EduTech  September 2011

Find out what’s happening in varsities around the world through The Chronicle of Higher Education 56 Scientists tap columbia’s biodiversity to boost development By Steven Ambrus 58 Latin american nations push students abroad By Andrew Downie

Technology 50 Thin client, fat benefits Higher education institutes can reap the benefits of going lean with thin clients 51 tech Snippets 54 tech tutes

Global perspective

60 european universities concerned about funds By Aisha Labi

Perspective 32

64 quality education is costly By Pankaj Jalote


Managing Director: Pramath Raj Sinha PUBLISHING DIRECTOR: Anuradha Das Mathur Group Editor: R Giridhar Editorial Director: Mala Bhargava Managing EDITOR: Sangita Thakur Varma consulting EDITOR: Inga Butefisch Assistant Editor: Smita Polite Assistant features Editor: Rohini Banerjee CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Aniha Brar SUB EDITORS: Ruhi Ahuja, Radhika Haswani, Mitia Nath

cover Story

18 The Pursuit of Prestige What it takes to reach the top...EDU finds out

23 Faculty 24 Academic Programmes 25 Students 26 Research 27 Institutional Administration 28 Technology Usage 29 Building & Infrastructure 30 Collaborations 31 Stakeholder Participation

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Thin clients can have fat benefits P50 ACADEMICS






Integrated BBA-cum-MBA programmes: Need of the hour? P44

Able institutional leadership for

vision and planning scored 98 on the index of importance


Pankaj Jalote, Director, IIIT Delhi, on quality education P64



respondents said qualification and experience of the faculty is very important


Pursuit of

Prestige What it takes to reach the top...EDU finds out Pg 18

3 lakh

teachers needed in higher education, says HRD Ministry



MJ XAVIER, Director, IIM Ranchi, feels that industry-government-academia linkages are critical for building prestige 99 Faculty

89 Institutional Administration

88 Financing & Funding

94 Academic Programmes

87 Technology Usage

93 Students

86 Building & Infrastructure

93 Research

83 Collaborations


77 Stakeholder Participation

SHASHI GULHATI, CEO, EdCil, says students must be the centre of the faculty’s universe. They must be initiated into research BALA V BALACHANDRAN, Founder & Dean, Great Lakes, Chennai, says attitude and ethical consciousness of students in contributing to society is a key factor in the pursuit of prestige

Cover Art: anil vk

Please recycle this magazine and remove inserts before recycling

September 2011  EduTech


from the world of higher education

05 Appointment 05 visa fraud 06 examination 06 judgement 07 revision 07 scholarship & more

Cotton College Columbia varsity Tie-up Assam’s premier Cotton College, recently upgraded to a state university, has tied up with and Columbia University of United States to benefit from its knowledge and expertise in development projects.A team of Columbia officials, led by its Director of Earth Institute and Professor of Health Policy and Management, Jeffrey Sachs, visited the 110-year-old college campus to chalk out plans for collaboration with the university. A group of teachers and researchers from Cotton College would work on the ongoing development projects in health and education in Morigaon district along with experts from Columbia University and officials of the state health department.

Collaboration: HRD Minister Kapil Sibal with Australian Tertiary Minister Chris Evans at the launch of the joint council to facilitate higher education

India-Australia Education Council The university-level collaboration would include degree recognition, credit transfer, and postgraduate and research programmes Launch: India and Australia have announced the launch of an education council to strengthen exchanges between the two nations. “We decided to start the India-Australia Education Council last year in April,” Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said, after meeting Australian Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans, in New Delhi. A meeting of vice chancellors of about 30 universities from the two countries was also held in New Delhi. “We are looking forward to expanding the relations and increasing the people-to-people, and institution-toinstitution contact,” Evans said. The university-level collaboration would include degree recognition, credit transfer, and collaboration in postgraduate and research programmes. Asked about the issue of safety of Indian students in Australia, Evans said special steps have been taken to ensure that. “We did have some issues, but now the students express high satisfaction,” he said.


EduTech  September 2011

IIMC to Set up Branch in Kashmir The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) is planning to open a branch in Jammu and Kashmir by next year, said an official. The institute, which currently has branches in New Delhi and Dhenkanal in Orissa, was set up in 1965 on the recommendation of a team of internationally known mass communication specialists from UNESCO and the Ford Foundation.

new Format for CAT 2011 A new format for CAT 2011 will make belling the CAT (Common Admission Test) easier this year. With the same number of questions, this year’s CAT will have two sections instead of three, and an extra five minutes. The two sections are: Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation, and Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning. A 15-minute tutorial prior to exams would take the total time to two hours and 35 minutes. The test is scheduled between October 22 and November 18, 2011.


New VCs for Six Bihar Varsities Patna University will be headed by Shambhu Nath Singh, Director of IGNOU’s School of Journalism and New Media Studies Appointment: The Governor and Chancellor of universities of Bihar, Devanand Konwar, has appointed vice chancellors for six universities in the state. The Director of School of Journalism and New Media Studies of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Shambhu Nath Singh, has been appointed the new VC of Patna University. Retired Hindi professor of Magadh University, Ram Binod Singh, has been appointed as the VC of Jayaprakash University, Chhapra; the registrar of LN Mithila University, Kumar Bimal, takes over as VC of BRA Bihar University, Mu z a f f a r p u r; a n d P r i n c i p a l o f

B r a j b h u s h a n Sa n s k r i t College, Gaya, Arvind Pandey, takes charge as the new VC of Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University. The officiating VCs of BN Mandal University and Maulana Mazhar-ul Haq University, Controversial: The state government was not consulted over the appointments of VCs Arun Kumar and S Zoha respectively, have been According to HRD sources, the Goverretained as full-time VCs. nor did not consult the state government Appointments of VCs in Magadh Uniover the appointments. Though expressversity and Veer Kuer Singh University ing unhappiness over the matter, the are likely to be made after the final court state government has said it will not be verdict on cases relating to appointment challenging the Governor’s order. of previous incumbents.

Another US Varsity under the Scanner Visa Fraud: Authorities in the US have raided the University of Northern Virginia’s Annandale (UNVA) on charges of alleged visa fraud. This happened hardly six months after the country’s Tri-Valley University (TVU) was declared a ‘sham university’. Officials found that the university is unaccredited, and has about 2,400 students, 90 per cent of whom are from India, and a majority from Andhra Pradesh. Officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the university, which was supposed to issue I-20 forms to about 50 students but issued and enrolled many more. Unlike the TVU case, the focus of the raid is not the students, but the school. According to reports, no arrest, detention or electronic monitoring is being done on the students. The university was given a one-month notice for explanation. Students can either continue at the university till the time it functions, or seek transfer to another university or return to India.

global update


of the 2,400 students in the university are Indians


students were to be issued the I-20 form by the university

September 2011  EduTech



Sibal Dreams of a Common Admission Test The test aims at reducing psychological and financial stress for the students Examination: Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, has said that it is his ‘dream’ to implement a single common entrance exam at the national level by 2013 for admission to engineering and science colleges. During an interaction, he said, “My real dream is that by 2013, I should have the first all India test.” A committee chaired by T Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, was constituted to re-look into the test methodology of selecting students and have a common system for admission. The National Aptitude Test aims at reducing psychological and financial stress on students, Sibal said. Ramasami had carried out a study to seek responses

for a single test and the result says that 80 per cent of the people in India want the test. No political party has refused Reforms: The minister hopes to ensure that every child to have it. gets admission to an institution of his choice Under this format, Class XII having a separate test.” students will appear for a single aptitude He said if there is an all-India list and test whose results will be the basis for there is an equalisation procedure that their admissions, after giving due takes into account each state board, weightage to the board exam results. every child can get admission to the According to reports, when asked institution of his choice and there will be about opposition from Tamil Nadu to no capitation fee. this move, Sibal said “that is a peculiarly The minister is keen to overhaul the Tamil Nadu legislative decision, which is college admission system to make it now being challenged in Madras High more realistic. Court. That’s entirely different from

Technical education

SC Extends Stay on AICTE Notification Judgement: The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday extended the interim stay against the AICTE notification, issued on December 28 last year, by another year. The order has cleared the decks for PGDM institutes in the country to prepare for a smoother admission process in 2012-14. Earlier, the counsels for the appellants – Educational Promotion Society for India (EPSI), Jaipuria Group of Institutions and Association of Indian Management Schools (AIMS), contented before the court that PGDM institutions should be given a free hand in conducting admission process. Senior advocates Rajeev Dhawan, Vinay Garg and KK Venugopal respectively, represented the appellants.


EduTech  September 2011

Hearing the writ petition filed by EPSI, AIMS and Group of PGDM institutions, the apex court on March 17 this year, had granted relief to the PGDM institutions of the country against the notification issued by the AICTE. The order seems to be a big relief for the B-schools of the country as they can continue to use any of the nationally recognised entrance tests like CAT and MAT for their admissions this year. There were nearly 80,000 complaints against B-schools on overcharging and a little less than that on denial of admissions/backdoor admissions with capitation fees, according to AICTE.


4,500 Extra Seats in voices MBBS 2011-12: Azad The revision of guidelines by the MCI has helped increase MBBS seats in 21 new and 33 existing medical colleges Revision: Easing of norms in medical seats for medical courses was reducing colleges has resulted in addition of approxithe teacher-student ratio from 1:1 to 1:2. mately 4,500 seats in MBBS courses, while “These initiatives have resulted in an nearly 6,400 seats have been added at the increase of approximately 6,400 postgraduate level, Health Minister additional PG seats in various disciplines Ghulam Nabi Azad said. in medical colleges during The minister said the recent the last two academic revision of guidelines by the years, 2010-11 and 2011Medical Council of India “has 12,” Azad said. He added that 4,000 increased the total of 4,542 MBBS seats in 21 new medimore PG seats are likely to more PG cal colleges and 33 existing be added as government seats are medical colleges during the has schemes for starting likely to be academic year 2011-12”. new PG disciplines and added One of the steps taken to increasing PG seats by cenincrease the number of tral funding.


`1,200 cr Scholarship Plan for J&K Students

“On average, people with more education and higher attainment make more than people with less education”

—Anthony Carnevale, Director of Georgetown University Centre on Education and the Workforce, USA

“Principals must understand that value addition in education is the only means of a country achieving progress... Students should not be taught, but be allowed to learn”

— Dr BM Hegde Retired vice chancellor, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), India

The government to provide 5,000 scholarships every year over the next five years to study outside the state Scholarship: The government has approved a 1,200-crore scholarship scheme for students in Jammu and Kashmir to pursue higher studies outside the state. The plan was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs that met here with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in chair. “ 88 crore will be incurred in the current financial year,” an official spokesperson said. According to the plan, 5,000 fresh scholarships would be provided every year over the next five years. “Of these 4,500 scholarships will be for general degree courses, 250 for engineering and 250 for medical studies,” the spokesperson said. Every scholar will get up to 30,000 per year for tuition fees for general degree courses, up to 1.25 lakh for engineering courses and up to 3 lakh for medical studies. In addition to these, hostel fees and incidentals will also be given for all categories of courses up to a ceiling of 1 lakh per annum. Students who pass Class XII or equivalent exam from Jammu and Kashmir Board and pursue general degree courses outside the state, are eligible. “The income ceiling will be 4.5 lakh per year,” said the spokesperson.

“I think, as a nation, we hardly celebrate the achievements that one can attain if one has a college education. We are a nation that happily celebrates athletes and entertainers — and I think that’s great… But we do not have heroes that come out of a different kind of life”

— Susan Hockfield, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

September 2011  EduTech



Rahul Choudaha

Academic Leadership Beyond Bottom Line


romoter-leaders may be the new norm in academia today, but with increased focus on research and global recognition, academic leaders will soon take centre stage. The success of an institution cannot be measured by its bottom line alone; and the head of an institution is characterised by competencies and credibility that are very different from those possessed by the leaders of other enterprises. In the June 2011 issue of EDU Tech, Editor Pramath Raj Sinha in his editorial, ‘Can Non Academics Lead’, observed: “...the leadership of academic institutions is no different from that of other enterprises.” While it is true today in the context of Indian institutions, it will not be so in the future. Majority of Indian institutions today are not focussed on research and have failed to provide quality teaching. However, as institutions mature, professionalise and seek global recognition, academic leadership will be characterised by competencies and credibility which will be very different from other enterprises. I believe that the nature of academic leadership in the higher education setting is different from business leadership in at least three interrelated ways. First is the role of institutional mission which defines its purpose and


EduTech  September 2011

shapes the leadership style. The second is the success of an educational institution, which unlike a business enterprise, cannot be measured by the bottom line alone. And, the third is the role of governance, which is a shared responsibility and entails domain expertise for leading an educational institution.

Different Leanings Bolman and Gallosac in their recent book, Reframing Academic Leadership, note that higher education is different from business organisations for several reasons including “...educational mission — a complex and variable mix of teaching, research, service, and outreach. Higher education’s mission requires that many of its key employees be teachers and scholars whose contributions depend on their unique expertise, dedication, and capacity for professional judgment.” To paraphrase, the core mission of a comprehensive institution of higher education relates to teaching, research and community. Unfortunately, in India there are only a handful of institutions which have a clearly defined mission. Most of the institutions here are places for teaching with no focus on research or community service. In the

Rahul Choudaha

private sector, majority of the institutions are driven by a singular focus on profits or surpluses, which means that they have corporate style leadership with focus on the bottom line. Such an approach may work well for this segment of profit-oriented schools, but will fail miserably for institutions that seek excellence and quality.

Clash of Principles One challenge that an institution with a mission statement seeking excellence faces is the clash between its academic and business motives. The emphasis for such an institution is on quality, research and global recognition, and this shifts the measures of success from profits made for promoters, to more nebulous ones like peer recognition, rankings, and prestige. The success of such a hall of learning is then not measured by the number of students enrolled, but rather by how it is perceived by the stakeholders. It is the head of the school who builds its credibility. Amanda Goodall in her book, Socrates in the Boardroom: Why Research Universities Should Be Led by Top Scholars, argues that scholars are in the best position to lead a research university because of their expertise and credibility, which signal confidence among the stakeholders about the values and mission of the institution. She notes, “ settings where expert knowledge is the key factor that characterises an organisation’s core business, it is likely that expert knowledge is the key in the selection of its leader.” The chances of an academic leader earning the trust and confidence of faculty members, are much higher when the person has grown within the educational system and is perceived as an expert by them. This trust becomes even more important in the shared governance model where faculty is intensively engaged with institutional vision and strategy. Bolman and Gallosac have noted that in such an institutional environment the faculty attains “...levels of individual autonomy and collective power beyond most employees in other sectors.” Ajit Rangnekar, Dean, Indian School of Business, in an EDU interview claims, “[t]here is a lot more collaboration happening in the academic world and it is necessary to spend more time in building consensus with the faculty.” In 2006, President of Harvard University, Larry Summers, was forced to resign after a stormy battle with the faculty to establish himself as a change agent. Warren Bennis in his analysis of the event noted that Summers never quite got “...that leaders — especially those who are change agents — can


“In India, majority of private sector institutions are not professional and are headed by promoters...the faculty has almost no say” only succeed when they have a reservoir of goodwill that allows them to convince followers that their fates are correlated.”

India Needs Academic Leaders In India, majority of private sector institutions are not professional and are headed by promoters as leaders. This means that the faculty has almost no say in the governance of these schools. In public institutions, the challenge is at the other extreme as the faculty lacks business acumen and perceives administration as clerical work. The need is to strike a fine balance between academic perspicacity and business efficiency. According to a World Bank report, while US had attained a gross enrolment ratio of 56 per cent 30 years ago, India is still struggling to raise it from 13 per cent. For various reasons which have been discussed in EDU from time to time, at this nascent stage of education system, talented academic leadership is in short supply and professional practices are underdeveloped. Thus, borrowing talent from the corporate world is sometimes a necessity and there are instances where institutions have excelled with leaders from outside the academia. Yet, for instituting and nourishing schools of excellence, there is an immediate need for a cadre of leaders who understand the unique characteristics of academia and its best practices. The future of higher education rests with leaders who make good choices, adapt global best practices and instill values of excellence and success which look beyond the bottom line.

Subscribe to the daily electronic newsletter from EDU at

Rahul Choudaha A higher education specialist based out of New York, Dr Choudaha blogs on www.DrEducation. com. He specialises in strategic management of higher education, institution building, collaborations and market development. He holds a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Denver, an MBA from NITIE, Mumbai and a BE from Jabalpur University. He can be reached at

September 2011  EduTech



Rishikesha T Krishnan

Wanted Sutradhars of Social Change


ndia needs academic commentators to capture the major transitions taking place in its social fabric. However, social sciences have been relegated to the backseat with students hankering after more prestigious and paying disciplines. It is time we redefined scholarship to broaden its scope and developed a posse of engaged scholars.

Indian society is in a period of transition. The media, especially television, offers the possibility of instant fame through reality and talent shows. Smalltown India has arrived on the national scene, whether it is on the cricket field or in show business. Middle-class India is learning to deal with affluence rather than scarcity. While traditional mores are not being thrown out, there is a more pragmatic attitude towards conventional rituals and practices. Who studies and interprets these social phenomena and draws their implications for us? Consumer marketers and brand builders like Santosh Desai of Future Brands and Dheeraj Sinha of Bates 141, (author of recently released book, Consumer India) and journalists such as Anand Giridharadas (who brought us another outstanding book, India Calling) are at the forefront of describing and explaining social change in India. For decades, students in India understood social change from the pioneering work of people such as sociologist MN Srinivas. His theory of Sanskritisation, the tendency of other castes in India to imitate and aspire to brahminical practices, was a seminal work on Indian society. But today, it is marketing professionals like Dheeraj Sinha who are observing and


EduTech  September 2011

commenting on a tilt towards the Kshatriya-like values of competition and success.

Time to Revive Social Sciences We know, of course, that the social sciences have been neglected in recent years, and that our best students have gone into disciplines that promise better prospects for advancement and income generation. We also know that there has been an under-emphasis on research in the Indian higher education system. But, today, as we rebuild Indian higher education, how can we improve the probability that more MN Srinivas-like work comes out of it?

Learnings from US Experience While sources as diverse as Minister of Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh, to MHRD Secretary, Vibha Puri Das, raise the buzz around the importance of research to a crescendo, we might pause to see what history tells us about such a shift in emphasis. The experience of the United States is instructive. The focus of US universities on research was an early-20th century phenomenon. With competitive research grants and a rigorous tenure system that valued publication in peer-reviewed journals over everything else, the US became the


Rishikesha T Krishnan

locus of academic research in the 20th century. But as teaching quality declined and the contributions of academe to the community became less apparent, not all stakeholders were happy. Public recognition of this problem came through the pioneering work of E Boyer, the then president of the Carnegie Institute. In his influential 1990 work, Scholarship Reconsidered, Boyer argued for a more holistic notion of scholarship, one that embraced four functions: discovery – the advancement of knowledge through original research and theorising; integration – making connections across disciplines and paradigms; application – applying knowledge to consequential problems through consulting and service; and teaching – transmitting, transforming and extending knowledge to students. Boyer went on to recommend that faculty performance appraisal should include measurement of all these dimensions. With only a handful of universities embracing Boyer’s philosophy, the problem has become more acute. Today, sustainability of a system where students pay ever-increasing fees to support researchdriven faculty is being called into question and paradigm-shifting research is rare, particularly in the social sciences and management.

Towards the Engaged Scholar At this critical juncture, wouldn’t it be a good idea for our academic institutions to avoid becoming mere research factories? After all, the likely outcome of this is what Blake Ashforth calls ‘vanilla pudding’ – endless variations of tired themes. For this, it’s important that we encourage scholarship rather than research. As Shelley Brickson of the University of Illinois argued in a recent article, an ideal scholar is measured by quality not quantity. You can’t have ideal scholarship without social impact. Ideal scholars come up with new ideas rather than just rely on empiricism. They are likely to be more passionate about their teaching because they believe in and relate to the research they are doing, and can see where it is leading. Some scholars have shown the way. Professor Gretchen Spreitzer, at the University of Michigan’s Ross School, is one of the founders of the school of Positive Organisational Scholarship (POS). POS focuses on the dynamics in organisations that develop human strength and cultivate extraordinary individuals. Closer home, professors Udai Pareek and TV Rao, founders of the Human Resource Development (HRD) movement in India, conducted empirical research, published books, designed instruments and train-


EduTech  September 2011

“Social scientists must grapple with significant social problems... around society... scholarship means more than research” ing methods, and diffused them across the whole spectrum of industry, leading to the founding of such institutions as the National HRD network and the Academy of HRD. Prof Andrew Van de Ven of University of Minnesota has given shape to this broader concept through his idea of ‘engaged scholarship’. Arguing that social scientists must grapple with significant social problems and challenges around society, he emphasises that scholarship means more than research, and that, engagement is the means for scholarship to flourish. Very much in the spirit of contemporary ideas like co-creation, engaged scholarship envisages a relationship between researchers and practitioners in a learning community. He suggests that research projects be designed ‘participatively’ integrating the advice and perspectives of users, clients, sponsors and practitioners. Such engaged scholarship would result in knowledge that is “more penetrating and insightful than when scholars or practitioners work on the problems alone.” Quoting Boyer, he underlines the importance of the scholar stepping back from investigations to build bridges between theory and practice, and communicate knowledge more effectively. We know that what gets measured and incentivised tends to get done. As we introduce new systems of measurement in Indian higher education, we must be careful that we don’t spark a new race to the bottom – to an end where we are left with meaningless empirical studies that help no one except the authors themselves. We must promote a broader, holistic notion of engaged scholarship. Only then will the academia, rather than practitioners, be the sutradhars of our times. Subscribe to the daily electronic newsletter from EDU at

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 Engineering-Economic Systems from Standford University, and a PhD from IIM Ahmedabad. He can be reached at rishikesha.krishnan@

expertise reforms



By vijay shukla & Pankaj agarwal

Education Reforms on Anvil


he Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill, 2010, is a welcome step. However, it is more like a framework around which a more comprehensive and complete policy to govern higher education needs to be built.

The surge of private players in the higher education sector, especially in the professional education streams such as technical and medical, is augmenting the supply side. Certainly a thing to rejoice, as providing quality professional education seems out of reach of the government. Unfortunately, it has also resulted in wide ranging unfair practices that the education providers resort to in their race for RoI (return on investment). From false advertising to opaque fee structure to misrepresentation of key information, the education entrepreneurs are resorting to every trick in the book to maximise profits. These malpractices mislead students into making wrong choices. Such education practitioners are also eroding the credibility of a sector as critical as education. While the current policy in higher education promotes autonomy of institutions; institution promoters are adopting unfair practices by misusing it. This necessitates a tighter regulation regime to eliminate such practices. In such a scenario, The Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill, 2010, which seeks to address these concerns, is a welcome


EduTech  September 2011

Vijay Shukla (above) is a Managing Partner at Eduvisors, a leading research and consulting firm focussed on the education sector. Eduvisors advises clients in implementing varsity projects and assists foreign universities and education businesses enter India. Pankaj Agarwal is a part of Eduvisors.

step. The Bill aims to balance autonomy and protect the interests of students. Once the Bill is passed in Parliament, it is expected to regulate the higher education sector and address the key challenges faced by students and other stakeholders. The Bill intends to force institutions to bring transparency in the admission process: prohibit them from providing admissions by charging over and above the scheduled fee (e.g. capitation fee) in any form; and force them to deliver only credible and true information to students. It also aims to curb the widespread practice by institutions to withhold students’ degrees, certificates or documents in order to retain the money due to the student, or to compel them to continue in the same institute.

Vijay Shukla & Pankaj Agarwal


The major unfair practices identified by the Bill, its provisions and suggested solutions are: • Providing admission by taking money, over and above the scheduled fee (e.g. capitation fee) or taking any favour in kind: The Bill prohibits capitation fee in any form. It considers the individual offering or paying any undue fee equally liable for punishment. It also mandates educational institutions to provide receipts against any money taken from students. The provision is aimed at bringing transparency in fee related transactions. • Making false claims through misleading or false advertising: The Bill seeks to prohibit institutions from publishing misleading advertisements about their recognitions/credentials, infrastructure, academics and other facilities. • Not being transparent in communicating the facts about the institute and the fee structure: The Bill mandates publication and release of prospectus at least 60 days prior to the commencement of admissions. The prospectus should contain explicit details of all fee components (including the proportion of the fee to be returned in case the student leaves the course midway) and other such critical and relevant information likely to influence students’ decision-making. Also, the price of the prospectus must be reasonable covering printing costs, and no profit must be made out of its sale. • Opaque, biased and arbitrary admission process: The Bill seeks to streamline the admission process protocol by making it compulsory for institutions to include details about admission tests in their prospectus. In case the institution does not have admission tests, it needs to explicitly mention the relevant admission criteria which must be fair, impartial and unbiased. Institutions are allowed to charge only a reasonable fee for admission tests that compensates the cost of conducting tests. • Using undue pressure tactics like withholding documents such as degree or diploma: According to the Bill, if a student withdraws from the course midway, the institute can’t refuse to return the student’s original certificates or diploma or any other important documents to put undue and unfair pressure on him/her to continue at the institute. The institute also needs to refund to the student, a proportion of the fees, as mentioned in the prospectus.

By Anil t.

Checks & Balances

Road to reform The Bill will treat such malpractices as criminal or civil offences

The Bill will treat such malpractices as criminal or civil offences depending upon the nature of the crime. The monetary penalty of up to Rs 50 lakh, or imprisonment up to three years, or both is proposed for the institution which contravenes the provisions, especially on the capitation fee and advertisement related clauses. Any institution refusing to return students’ documents or the prementioned fee proportion, should the student drop out midway, will be liable to a penalty which may extend up to Rs 1 lakh.

Implementation Related Challenges The Bill is certainly a step in the right direction. However, certain loopholes and subjective provisions in the Bill can make its implementation process challenging. These necessitate a well-structured framework to address demand side issues in education that contribute to unfair practices. The Bill’s intent can be grossly compromised if students and parents are unaware of their rights, and if there is no quick and accessible grievance addressing mechanism in place to address their problems. For example, Section 18 of the Bill proposes that if an institute contravenes any of the provisions, then the students or parents cannot directly move the court of law. They are required to approach through the authorised person, and only after the concerned person is convinced about the September 2011  EduTech



Vijay Shukla & Pankaj Agarwal

malpractice, can further proceedings begin. Such provisions can be potential loopholes in the whole process and undermine the impact of the Act. Also, the Bill does not propose to cover educational institutions established and administered by minorities. It would have been better to just exempt them from admissions process, rather than exempting them from the purview of the Bill altogether. Though the clause mandating ‘reasonable fee’ for admission test and ‘reasonable price’ for the prospectus seems aimed at preventing institutions from making capital gains out of such transactions, it’s not practical. The costs of admission test and prospectus are determined respectively by the number of students applying for the admission test and the number of copies of prospectus sold. It is practically impossible to arrive at projections, especially if historical data is unavailable. While this clause can certainly check the errant institutions that charge prohibitively high amounts, it will be tough on the recently started schools that cannot have a buffer in their financial planning.

Road to reform The Bill does not propose to cover educational institutions established and administered by minorities

Need for a Collaborative Approach The Bill is awaiting Parliament approval for over a year now and is most likely to be passed during this year. It is definitely a good starting point for the government to develop a foolproof higher education reform policy. Keeping it at the central node, a more comprehensive and sound ecosystem can be developed around the Bill by constructive collaboration with institutions and experts. Independent bodies like Advertising Standards Council of India can be roped in to frame ethical standards guideline for advertisements in the education sector; suitable audit system to validate institutions’ cash flows; and appropriate legal system to apprehend and prosecute defaulters. Relevant adaptations can be made to achieve the key objectives of the Bill.

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Pursuit of

Prestige What it takes to reach the top...EDU finds out


s prestige the Holy Grail for institutions today? Are they all looking for respect and administration of society at large? What exactly are the scales on which an institition’s prestige rests? Is the leader important in this quest or is it the teacher? Do students make their institute or is it the infrastructure? These and many more parameters that judge a school were weighed by an overwhelming 530 respondents in the EDU Pursuit of Prestige Survey. The results were surprising. One thing that shone through in the survey was the involvement of the higher education community in their field. They displayed an amazing drive to look for solutions and connect with the purpose of working towards a better tomorrow. It was apparent that to them the ultimate goal of an institution is to produce the best students and give back to society leaders of tomorrow. An institute which excels in this is prestigious: it strives for excellence, while remaining rooted to the spiritual values of education.


EduTech  September 2011

I N S I D E 23 | Faculty 24 | Academic Programmes 25 | Students 26 | Research 27 | Institutional Administration 28 | Technology Usage 29 | Building & Infrastructure 30 | Collaborations 31 | Stakeholder Participation


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K Ramnarayan, VC, Manipal University: “An institution that nurtures holistic development of the individual is the most prestigious varsity in the world” Dr S Sivasubramanian, VC, Noorul Islam University: “Vision, honesty, integrity and effectiveness of the VC, contribute to the prestige of an institution”


respondents said that course updates and upgrades are crucial for prestige

Publish or Perish: Research is important People First: Faculty builds an institution


respondents said that able leadership for vision and planning is very important

On the index of importance, faculty scored the highest at 99 and academic programmes scored 94 September 2011  EduTech


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Edu Survey | Prestige

A Leader’s Vision of Success A university or a college is only as good as its reputation. Little wonder that educational institutions the world over are in pursuit of prestige: widespread respect and admiration for their achievements and quality


hat is prestige in the eyes of the higher education institutions in India? What are the parameters on which a university or college is adjudged as prestigious? What are the quality benchmarks that the institutions themselves perceive as bringing them prestige? Is it quality faculty, a visionary leader, world-class infrastructure or brilliant students that make an institution prestigious? When we set out on our survey, some of you had raised the query as to why we are calling it, In Pursuit of Prestige and not excellence. The answer is: simply because while pursuing excellence it is really prestige that is our aim; we ultimately want to be among the best. The Edu Survey threw up some interesting and enlightening results. On the index of importance of factors that influence the prestige of an institution; faculty scored the highest at 99. Academic programmes 94, students 93, and research scored 93. But is it possible to attract quality faculty to your institution, without a leader who can command their respect and inspire them to give their best? Try introducing new programmes without a lead-


EduTech  September 2011

er who backs them. Try to get your alumni involved and contribute endowments, with a head in whom they do not believe. Try to get researchers to do great work without a leader who understands them and supports their cause. Just try doing

anything without an inspirational leader at the helm, who believes that the ultimate goal of higher education is to be a contributor to society, and help students traverse the universe of knowledge, while learning the ability to adapt to

Other factors contributing to the prestige of an institution:

“Academicians in key

administrative positions like that of vice chancellor” —K Ramnarayan VC, Manipal University

“Industry interaction” —C Gopalkrishnan Director, Institute of Management, Nirma University

“Distinguished alumni” —Srinivasan Sundarrajan Director, NIT Trichy

“Government funding, vision, honesty, integrity and effectiveness of the VC; belongingness to the institution felt by every stakeholder” —Dr S Sivasubramanian (Former VC of Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu), VC, Noorul Islam University


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Factors that Influence the Prestige of an Institution Academic Programmes Institutional Administration



Technology Usage




Stakeholder Participation Research

93 Students

93 change and be of use to humanity. It would be quite an impossible task. The head of institution not only charts his own course by the simple choices she/he makes but also shapes the future of thousands of individuals. It is ultimately, the administrator of the institution who makes or breaks its reputation. It is the vision of the person at the top that sets the ship on its course, or leaves it adrift, a la Charles Eliot. Eliot made Harvard University what it is today: the most prestigious institution of higher learning in the world.

The Boston Experiment In the 1860s, American higher education was in a crisis, with institutions undecided about whether to continue

Financing & Funding

88 with the classical curricula or to go for more vocational offerings. Colleges were controlled by clergymen, who were in favour of the classical mode of study. But the rising class of businessmen in an increasingly industrialised America, were no longer interested in sending their sons to such colleges and felt that higher education should be made more vocational. In the middle of this conundrum was a college in Boston: rudderless and slowly fading away as three successive presidents in 10 years had failed to revive it. Its alumni, many of whom were now influential businessmen, wanted change: but no one knew what change they were seeking. It was then that a 35-year-old professor of Chemistry at the newly founded Mas-

Building & Infrastructure


Total Respondents: 513 (Index of Importance)



sachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, wrote an article titled ‘The New Education’ in a leading journal of opinion, The Atlantic Monthly. The article presented an idea that could reform the American higher education system. The businessmen of Boston, who controlled the college corporation, had finally found the change that they were looking for: Prof Charles William Eliot. And, Eliot became the youngest president of America’s oldest university — Harvard. What followed in the next 40 years was the phenomenal transformation of Havard into the most prestigious institution in the world. Though opinions may differ on the most prestigious institution in the world, however it is indisputable that

September 2011  EduTech

infographics by Charu Dwivedi



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Which Institution or University is the Most Prestigious in the World? Why?

“Harvard for its top class faculty, great alumni achievements, research output, and good multiple academic disciplines” —Dheeraj Sanghi, Former Director, LNMIIT

“MIT for its application oriented efforts” —Srinivasan Sundarrajan, Director, NIT Trichy

“Harvard University, USA. Because of its seminal contributions in basic and fundamental research in all domains of knowledge” —Rajasekharan Pillai, VC, IGNOU

“The Ivy League (Harvard, etc) in the US, Oxford and Cambridge in UK, IIMs (especially IIM-A) and IITs in India” —Imon Ghosh,Director, Academy of Human Resources Development

“Cannot be ranked like that” —Amita Chatterjee, VC, Presidency University

“Oxford. It fulfils column one rating in almost all the criteria” —Darlando Khathing, VC, Central University of Jharkhand

“Harvard University. It has illustrious alumni and it has been innovative in its programmes and outreach” —Ajit Rangnekar, Dean, ISB


EduTech  September 2011

Harvard is among the top global universities. A majority of the respondents in the EDU survey also billed Harvard as the most prestigious institution, with MIT coming a close second. What has made Harvard the institution that it is today? Most academics have wondered about its success mantra at least once in their careers. Some say that Harvard owes its prestige to its age: it is one of the oldest universities in the world. But by this analysis, University of Bologna, University of Padua and University of Salamanca should also feature on the list of the most prestigious universities. There are others who feel that Harvard selects the most brilliant talents and hence attracts the most brilliant faculty and students. Perhaps yes. But then what brought them to Harvard? How did it all start? The answer lies in the 40 years of Eliot’s administration. What happened then? For starters he practiced what he preached. He set out implementing all the reforms that he had talked about in his article. Eliot hired renowned scholars from America and abroad, reorganised the existing faculty, introduced standardised entrance exams attracting students from around the world, and rebuilt laboratories and classrooms. He reformed the curriculum pragmatically to include electives, and specialised studies. But, he never moved away from the ultimate spiritual goal of education and espoused the belief that a university should ultimately be able to serve society. The research at the university should be aligned to the progress of society. He also believed that a college education should help students make intelligent choices, rather than provide merely technical and vocational training. So were it the reforms that transformed Harvard from a fading institution in Boston to the most prestigious in the world? Definitely, but it were Eliot’s vision and leadership that wrought these transformations. Otherwise, Harvard would have remained just another unremarkable parochial institution. Undoubtedly, leadership and vision of the head of institution play a crucial role in the pursuit of prestige.


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Edu Survey | Faculty

Factoring in Faculty


hat would you rather have: a good team with a bad idea, or a good idea with a bad team? A good team always figures out a bad idea, but there is not much you can do with a bad team. That is why choosing the right faculty is the most important factor in your drive for excellence. The faculty members of an institution are its ambassadors. The teachers directly interact with the students and create an impression about the institution and the values and mores for which it stands. Little wonder, that the majority (84%) of the respondents said qualification and experience of the faculty was very important and rated it the highest on the importance scale. Unfortunately, there is a famine of good teachers. The Human Resource


of the respondents said faculty development and training is a very important factor in contributing to the prestige of an institution Development Ministry’s task force has declared that there is a shortage of three lakh teachers in higher education. Institution administrators are often heard complaining that it is difficult to get reasonably experienced faculty from among the available faculty pool. Apparently, the only way to bridge this

Total Respondents: 513 (Index of Importance)

Faculty Related Factors that Influence Prestige







“A wide horizon, and an understanding that they are the role models,even outside classroom interaction” —Shashi Gulhati former CEO, EdCil

shortfall of good teachers is for institutions to concentrate on faculty development and training. The role of a teacher as a communicator came up strongly in the survey. The respondents were almost unanimous in their views that the relationship which a teacher builds with his/her students is critical. To quote a respondent: “Not all worldly qualifications make a teacher a contributor. It is an art that originates in the heart of the person: to interact and act as a mentor.” A genuine interest in the progress of students is the prerequisite to your becoming a teacher who is a class apart from the rest of the herd.


Faculty Qualifications & Experience | Number of Permanent Faculty | Faculty Development & Training Current Research & Publications by Faculty | Student Feedback on Faculty | Quality of Visiting or Adjunct Faculty | International Teaching & Research Experience | Faculty Recognition by Corporate Sector Faculty Participation as External Experts | Length of Faculty Tenure

September 2011  EduTech


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Edu Survey | Academics

Academics is the Backbone


cademic programmes received the second highest vote in the survey. It is certainly the backbone of any institution. From the Harvard experience, it is easy to see that if your courses are not relevant to present day and age, then your institution can easily fade away. Innovative courses, as required by the industry, liberal electives, regular academic audits, feedback, from both students and the industry, have to be an integral part of the academic structure of an institution.


respondents said that course updates and upgrades are very important for prestige

Academic Factors that Influence Prestige

Academic Audits

Innovation & New Courses

Pedagogy & Teaching Methodology

Course Updates & Upgrades


EduTech  September 2011

86 89 93 94


Total Respondents: 482 (Index of Importance)


The methods employed to deliver academic programmes are also relevant. Teaching must be made participatory. The administration and the faculty must constantly update themselves to keep abreast of what is happening around the world. It is important to be socially conscious in order to design relevant courses. The faculty should also be given certain freedom to include what they consider is important in a course. Some suggestions that our readers have given include regular departmental review meetings on academic programmes, lectures from industry experts, interdisciplinary programmes and regular course updates in consultation with the industry. However, while interacting with the industry, one has to learn not to get so focussed on vocational skills that it takes away from the basic

“Feedback from the industry” —C Gopalkrishnan Institute of Management, Nirma

principles of an educational institution — that of betterment of human values and broadening of students’ perspective to equip them with skills that help them adapt to change.


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Student Related Factors that Influence Prestige

Student Entry through Competitive Exams Student Achievements in Extra-curricular Activities Student-led Initiatives

92 90 85 84

Edu Survey | students

An Institution is the Students it Produces


t t h e e n d o f t h e d a y, a n institution is finally gauged by the performance of its students, both while studying at the institution and after they leave it. Students are the ultimate brand ambassadors of their schools. It is important for institutions to attract the right students, and the selection process, is hence, critical. However, it has been found that education leaders are not as concerned about the kind of students taken in through competitive exams, as they are about the achievements of their alumni. A good sign, as an institution must be committed to equipping its students with the life skills required to adapt to a constantly changing world. A school’s reputation is linked to its alumni reputation. The top institutions of the world have some of the most high-profile achievers on its alumni rolls of honour. Harvard is the alma mater of 62 living

Student-led initiatives scored the lowest on the index of importance with a score of


billionaires. According to the Guardian: “a survey of living MIT alumni found that they have formed 25,800 companies, employing more than three million people including about a quarter of the workforce of Silicon Valley.” However, most institutions in India do not have an active alumni relationship programme. There is a lot that an institution can achieve through interactions with its former students.

Total Respondents: 513 (Index of Importance)

Achievements of Alumni

“The attitude and ethical consciousness of the students in being able to contribute to society as mature and balanced individuals is also a key factor” —Bala V Balachandran, Founder & Dean, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai

September 2011  EduTech


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Edu Survey | research

The Research Rumble


Total Respondents: 513 (Index of Importance)

ublish or perish is clearly the diktat that the educationist community believes in: a majority of them viewed that publications help in building esteem. However, publishing for the sake of it, is not the right way to go about things. Researchers need to be inspired to work, and, under the right leadership this is not an impossiblity. Our respondents too, believe in research that is relevant and is in a new field. Many of them clearly stated that research should be socially relevant. Some also pointed out that research collaboration within the institution, among different departments and at the intersection of various disciplines, can make a huge difference. Involving students in research related activities


Publications in peer reviewed journals got a score of


on the importance index was also felt strongly. Patenting of innovations, too, was considered important by many respondents. Funding for research is often a problem. However, some of the respondents said, “Funding always comes if the project is good.” For a research temperament to flourish and good research to take place,

Research Related Factors that Influence Prestige



EduTech  September 2011




“Creating the right ambience for research, both in terms of facilities and teaching workload; recognising research contribution by suitable means and emphasising quality work in emerging and multidisciplinary areas, etc” —Prof Dr S Sivasubramanian, (former VC of Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu)

an institution’s administration plays the most important role: providing encouragement and support. In our country, research and teaching have been seen as two separate components of higher education, with research institutions becoming oases of excellence. However, if we look to the most prestigious institutions in the world, we find teaching and research co-existing as complementary and cohesive wings.

Publications in Peer-reviewed Journals Research in New Fields & Topics Industry-collaborated Research & Projects Receipt of Prestigious Grants & Funding Collaborative Inter-Institution Research


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Total Respondents: 482 (Index of Importance)

Institutional Administration Factors that Influence Prestige` 98 92 91 90 89

      

Able Institutional Leadership Day-to-day Institutional Administration Student Internships & Placements Support for Research Effective Admissions Process Institute-Industry Interfaces Efficient Student Administration

Edu Survey | leadership

Follow the Leader


ble leadership for vision and planning had the highest number of people rooting for it, with 439 respondents saying that it is very important. It is evident that an inspirational and effective leader can turnaround any institution. Every other process in administration becomes smooth, if you have a visionary leader and a capable administrator at the helm of affairs. From our interactions with some of the visionaries in higher education we have learnt that there are five ways to reach the position of a great leader: 1. Win the trust and confidence of everyone. Do not trade off someone’s

Able institutional leadership for vision and planning scored


on the index of importance trust for anything. Build confidence that you can pull it off and lead by example in everything that you do 2. Create an environment of transparency 3.Strive for the highest standards of

“Student involvement in administration” —MJ Xavier, Director, IIM Ranchi

professional conduct and accountability in all aspects of university life 4. Identify the right kind of people and be committed to their development. Focus on people because at the end of the day they make the university 5. Pursue excellence Of course, there are voices of dissent who claim that true leaders are born and cannot be made. However, if an institution leader has even one of the qualities listed here, the rest can be cultivated. In the final analysis, it is an academic head’s love of teaching and the world of students that makes him/her an an inspirational figure in the community.

September 2011  EduTech


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Edu Survey | technology

Taming Technology “Use of A technology in

Total Respondents: 482 (Index of Importance)

common grouse of many of our educational leaders is that technology is overrated. But if you look at the best institutions in the world, you will find that these are the places where new technologies are being born daily. The top-rated schools are technology savvy and recognise that the future hinges on it. In order to equip and inspire students to create something new, institutions need to be keyed in to technology — existing and emerging. An institution’s

Institutional website scored the highest on the index of importance at


Technology Related Factors that Influence Prestige

curriculum delivery”

—S Gurpur Director, Symbiosis Law School, Pune

quest for the Holy Grail will remain unachievable unless institutions prepare themselves technologically to achieve it. But as one of our respondents said: “It is not just a question of creating these facilities, but the effective utilisation of the same by the teachers, students and research scholars and of course the administration.” Institutions bring in the latest technologies, but most often they remain unutilised or underutilised. Teachers and students must be encouraged to become familiar with technology, as it can be harnessed to make work simpler and better. From administration to research, technology can aid an institution in many ways. It is up to the institution to break these barriers to technology.

75 Interactive Whiteboards 79 Online Student Evaluation, Videoconferencing & Collaboration 81 Institutional ERP Systems 82 Web-based Student Services 84 Campus-wide Wireless Networking 85 Institutional HR Systems 86 Student Record Management Systems & Digital Libraries 90 Campus-wide High Speed Networks 91 High-speed Connectivity to External World 92 Institutional Website 28

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Institutional Infrastructure Factors that Influence Prestige 82


Total Respondents: 513 (Index of Importance)


85 90



Library Well-equipped Labs Classrooms with Modern Teaching Aids On-campus Residential Facilities Size of Campus Layout of Campus Recreation & Sports Facilities Ownership of Campus

Edu Survey | infrastructure

Not Just Brick & Mortar I nfrastructure scored the lowest in the survey. However, we cannot undermine the role that state-of-the-art infrastructure plays in an institution’s prestige ranking. Classrooms, laboratories, libraries and sports facilities must be good. The best institutions boast of the best facilities. Harvard’s library is second largest in the US. No wonder, libraries and laboratories got the highest vote from our readers. Though recreation and sports facilities have been rated much lower; they are playing a big part in the best institutions. It is a well-known fact that an aesthetically designed campus can change the way people perceive an insti-


respondents were neutral on the issue of ownership of campuses tution. However, blindly aping the US or the European models is not the best answer. Campuses in India must evolve with their roots in Indian traditions and borrow from the vast knowledge of our ancestors for building green and energyefficient campuses.

“Student activity centre, meditation/yoga hall, auditorium and amphitheatre, are others that are essential” —MJ Xavier Director, IIM Ranchi

September 2011  EduTech


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Edu Survey | collaboration

Collaborate to Achieve T



85 88


EduTech  September 2011


on the index of importance grammes can often be very rewarding. In fact, most high-end research projects are done collaboratively, where researchers with similar interests get together to work on it. Organisations like Interna-

“Whatever be the collaboration, it must be effectively implemented. It should not be only on paper for the sake of advertisement” —Sivasubramanian VC, Noorul Islam University

tional Alliance of Research Universities do phenomenal work by sharing knowledge and working on projects that require large funds and collaborative work. Collaborations, however don’t always work. Many times, it just remains on paper. It succeeds only when there is equal commitment on both sides to see it through.

Inter-Institutional Collaboration Factors that Influence Prestige



Dual/Twinning programmes scored

Course Design & Materials Evaluation & Certification Faculty Exchange Programmes Student Exchange Programmes Transferable Credits Dual Degree/Twinning Programmes

Total Respondents: 482 (Index of Importance)

he right kind of collaborations can help you get that edge for your institution, but it has to work both ways to be effective. The truly prestigious institutions always have a mutually beneficial collaborative programme. In your quest to reach the top, it is a good place to start. Faculty and student exchange programmes enhance and broaden the horizons of both the teachers and students. Working on joint research pro-



81 90

86 87


Stakeholder Factors Influencing Prestige Quality of Companies Conducting On-campus Recruitment uality of Companies Offering Student Internships Q Reputation of Governing Board Members Advocacy & Support from Alumni Winning National & International Awards Financial Support from Alumni & Other Sources Rankings in Surveys

Edu Survey | stakeholders

Stakeholders Make a Difference S “Rankings can takeholder factor scored the lowest in our survey. But contribution of alumni in an institution’s prestige cannot be ignored. Harvard would not have attained its current status if the alumni were not involved in its affairs. The kind of endowments that Harvard attracts is also because of the relationship it maintains with its former students. Our respondents gave the highest vote to the quality of companies coming to the campus for recruitment. It is true, that when industry recognises an institution’s potential, you have truly arrived. However, it is also true that if you are not yet there and still struggling to make a name for yourself, then the alumni, who may be in positions of importance, can help with campus recruitments. They

Rankings scored the lowest at


on the index of importance are the beacons of quality of a school. In the absence of a good alumni outreach programme, it may not be possible to tap into their areas of influence. Some of our readers pointed out that the parent community can also help in spreading the word about an institution and it would be a good idea to get them on your side.

become a bit of a game. There are too many factors involved. It is important for the institution to do its own periodical quality audit” —Kavita Sharma, Director, India International Centre, former principal, Hindu College, University of Delhi

September 2011  EduTech


Total Respondents: 482 (Index of Importance)


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dialogue Quality research will happen only when there is an urge to discover something. Fortunately, this hunger for innovation is embedded in a majority of the people in India


EduTech  September 2011

Dr T Ramasami

Dr T Ramasami


Research off the

Beaten Path Dr T Ramasami, Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Science and Technology, has revolutionary ideas on research. He shared with EDU his vision, mission and achievements

Subhojit Paul

By smita polite EDU: What is the role of Department of Science and Technology (DST) in encouraging research and innovation? Dr T Ramasami: Let me use the analogy of a nursery keeper to describe DST. A nursery keeper doesn’t know which seed will germinate, which germinated seed will become a sapling, which sapling will become a tree and which tree will bear the fruit. But a farmer cannot afford such ignorance. He must know the seeds, the land he tills, the best season to plant the seeds, among many other things. Institutions like Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) or Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) are like farmers. DST invests in hope, while CSIR & BARC invest in returns. We are a bottoms-up organisation. We don’t drive down processes or direct the system, whereas the farmers do direct them. Any final research is done by the people. At DST, we want to build national capacity without limiting ourselves to any specific area. The good thing about India is that there is no shortage of problems, and, we need people to solve them. Which problem is more important? It is a matter of choice that the people must make and not the government. Our focus is not on innovation alone, but the capacity for innovation. By building capacity, you can harvest a large number of products and processes in the times to come. But, innovations are limited to a particular lifetime. You should see DST as a policy maker not an executive body.

Dr T Ramasami Engagement: Secretary to the Government of India, DST ACADEMIC:• Master’s in Leather Technology, University of Madras, India • PhD in Chemistry from the University of Leeds, UK Awards:• Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Chemical Sciences, 1993 • Great Son of the Soil Award, All India Conference of Intellectuals • National Civilian Honour (Padma Sri) • Acharya PC Ray Memorial Oration Award • Chemito Award for Excellence in Chemistry and Life Sciences • Fellow, Indian National Science Academy

September 2011  EduTech



Dr T Ramasami

Our focus is on enabling a policy framework and giving hope to the people. In 2006, the remuneration of a research fellow was a measly 8,000. Within two months, we raised it to 12,000 and added an HRA component to the salary structure. In two years, it was hiked to 16,000, excluding HRA, which was paid additionally. We are working on revising it again and also on an annual increment scale. It is not about more money. Rather, it shows our concern for researchers. We raised their salary without anyone asking us. And since then, the number of PhDs as compared to 2003, has risen considerably.

2010-2020 has been declared as the Decade of Innovation. What are the schemes that the DST is working on to promote innovation? Innovation, by definition is the first application of a concept. It need not be in science and technology alone. Traditionally, our country has focussed on understanding nature and discovering natural phenomena. We have not focussed on plain knowledge. As such, our cultural system of learning is not centred on innovation. Rather, it is centred on wisdom, knowledge, understanding natural phenomena and multiple processes. In fact, astronomy has a strong presence in India.


EduTech  September 2011

But in today’s world, when knowledge is money and money is being converted into knowledge, innovation is essential. We need to create an ecosystem where schools, universities and institutions like IITs, have a similar focus. There must also be demand from the industry for innovation. If there is no demand for innovation, there is little point in supplying it. Science and technology departments define objectives. Schemes are just the means of reaching these goals. The focus should be on the objective itself and not on the schemes because the latter changes with the context, situation, and the nature of an organisation. Creating a project culture in this ecosystem is important, in order to steer it towards innovation. For example, Pursuit of Inspired Research is an initiative where we introduce the concept of innovation to 10-year-olds. Then we had an initiative called The Power of Ideas, where The Economic Times, DST and IIM Ahmedabad came together and invited people to send original ideas that could be developed into working models. In three months, we received 6,500 ideas. After due diligence, we found 250 ideas worth working on and funding. The universities are not our main focus; that is MHRD’s (Ministry of

Human Resource Development) field of work. But the researchers in the universities are our concern. In a study that mapped the publication output of universities in India from 1996 to 2006, we found that 35 institutions contributed about 47 per cent of publications from India. Of them, just 14 were universities. The data was an eye-opener. We then developed a new scheme called Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence (PURSE). Under this, we gave incentives to universities based on their performance in 2006. They were also given the freedom to invest funds in areas which they felt needed attention. When we reviewed these institutions after three years, there was a remarkable change in their performance. The analysis of citations and publications between 1998 and 2008 showed that the number of contributing universities had grown from 14 to 44. In 2010, 31 per cent of publications had come from universities. Consolidation of University Research for Innovation and Excellence (CURIE) is another initiative which we set up to improve the R&D infrastructure in universities for women. The National Innovation Foundation for promoting grassroots innovation, which was supported by a corpus fund from DST, has now become an autonomous

Dr T Ramasami

Students opting for jobs where compensation packages are huge, is a natural process that we shouldn’t fight institution headed by Anil Gupta of IIM-A. Primarily, what we are doing is to try and promote affordability of innovation. Because the rest of the world is focussed on the process of innovation, India has an opportunity to leverage the purpose of innovation. This is affordable to many and contributes to the development of the larger population.

Will you also be involved with the innovation universities? Not as an institution. Institutional capacity and human capacity-building are interpenetrating roles and responsibilities. But they demand very different cultural practices. A university, by definition, has to focus on the scholarship of individuals. It is not a place where you get a product or a process. It is a centre where you create an individual who then creates his own innovations and processes. It is a place for human capacity building and prepares a person for life. On the other hand, institutions, especially research institutions, focus on products and processes. Human beings are not products and innovation universities are not about the physical manifestation of patents. But, if you look at the department as a policy maker which wants to build innovation capacity, then yes, innovation universities will also be supported by us.

People seem to be opting more for high paying jobs and sectors like IT, and pure sciences are being neglected. What are your views on this? This is mainly due to people’s perceptions, even though evidence points elsewhere. But then, you may ask where do these perceptions come from? Just look at the cut-off marks in Delhi University for its science courses. The number of students entering tertiary education sector is increasing. Earlier, about 35 lakh students used to seek admission to these courses. The figure has now risen to approximately 1.6 crore students. Social behaviour is dictated by many factors and not just policy. And, students opting for application-oriented jobs where compensation packages are huge, is a natural process that we shouldn’t fight against. IT industry creates millions of jobs annually, while pure science research centres generate just 6000 vacancies. There is a huge difference. But perhaps, it is not fair to compare the two, because 6000 by itself is a good number. In my opinion, the enthusiasm to study abstract subjects like astrophysics and astronomy is not decreasing. It may be lower when compared to other popular subjects, but still it is adequate to meet the requirements of the science sector. When you talk about pure sciences, you must also understand the purpose of the subjects. Every person studying science doesn’t have to become a scientist. Science is required to understand even non-science processes, including banking. Who says IT, medicine or marketing exclude science? But then, people in marketing earn more money than people involved in product research. And that is why, there exists this perception that pure sciences are less popular. Most of us see things through our individual telescope. If you look at the total ecosystem and say engineering and IT are also sciences, then it becomes different. People like me look at things in their totality. So, I am not worried.


We often compare ourselves to China or the US. According to you how do Indian universities compare to them in terms of research? There is no point in comparing India with the US or China. All the countries of the world are not in the same phase of development. What you require for your country should suit your stage of progress. At this moment, our emphasis is on increasing enrolment. If you have to teach more people with fewer faculties, it is a big challenge. And, if you say just conduct research and forget teaching, that’s not good for the country. Universities in India are grappling with many system-related challenges. They are dealing with complex problems which are different for state, central and private universities. Governance is a very important part of the system and has an impact on all the activities of an organisation. Instead of trying to change the system, which is the MHRD’s job, we are supporting them to leverage resources that we can provide. And, our experience in the last five years has been good. There are more patents and citations – evidence of our successful approach. India’s growth rate in patents and publications is 12 per cent per year. The highest growth rate in the world is that of China at 18 per cent and 12 per cent is at the second spot. The world average is 4 per cent. The IITs and our universities are growing at about 18 per cent. Nations should look at trends, not absolute quantum. The trends are positive, but we have a long way to go. An individual is driven by aspirations and inspirations, but systems are driven by their own behaviour. A university, first of all, has to provide tertiary education. That is fundamental. However, if this component of the education system is not connected to excellence in research, it will lose in quality. So you cannot ignore research. But what kind of research do I do? Research in development areas like agriculture or water, is different from product research that industry will absorb and make profits from. The kind of mix that a university chooses for its research work will depend on the development phase of a country. September 2011  EduTech



Dr T Ramasami

You have been a scientist yourself, how do you think universities can conduct quality science research? Quality research will happen only when there is an urge to discover something. Fortunately, this hunger for innovation is embedded in a majority of the people in India. You have a country north of Himalayas with which everyone is obsessed. But all that this country does and achieves is by processes that are driven from the top. Some of us here are also taking that route. India has a composite culture, so one model won’t work. In a research environment, the moment you drive things from the top, there’s a price to pay. The moment ‘how many patents and papers’ becomes our main concern, there will be a dilution of standards, literature and quality. You cannot avoid it, because you’re forcing people to do things. It’s not natural. There is a balance that you have to achieve. Mankind has always wanted revolutionary growth. So we had an industrial revolution, a green revolution, an agricultural revolution and a white revolution. But, Nature takes the evolutionary path. In the revolutionary path, you use more materials, money and energy, but utilisation is low. Thus, the evolutionary path is optimal. So the balance for a country hinges on maximisation of optimisation. Several of us talk about maximisation and some old guys like me talk about optimisation. So, you do not believe in the ‘publish or perish’ culture? I am not sure whether anyone who published a lot prospered from his/her publications. Our scientific discoveries are evidence of engaging passions of creative minds. The best scientists in the world have just had three or four wonderful ideas in life. Science should not be pursued only for the sake of publications. If you combine publication with a career and create a career reward system, then such professional pursuits will yield your country only in the short run. In the long run, you will have to pay a price that a country should not have to pay. But, reward systems have a


EduTech  September 2011

The kind of mix that a university chooses for its research work will depend on the development phase of a country

tendency to work against value systems. I am not sure which should be protected — values or rewards? As the secretary of DST, I would like India to be very competitive. I wouldn’t want Indian youth not to scale the heights of global competitiveness. When India ranked 15th in publications in 2003, I wasn’t happy. But we’ve moved up to the ninth position now, so I feel better, and want us to move further up. In my official capacity, I am pushing for it, but my personal philosophy is different.

How has the situation changed over the years? Can you say that India is doing well now? When I came to India in 1976 after completing my PhD from the UK, there were no facilities in this country. I went to the director and asked him to give me 50,000 to purchase a device for some research work. He gave me 30,000. I pooled the remaining 20,000 from my personal funds. A majority of us worked on our research with little or no facilities and infrastructure. That situation has changed to a large extent now. We have agreements with countries like Germany and Japan for procuring proper equipment. If you ask me whether India is doing well, my answer is ‘yes’. But if you ask me if India has lived up to its potential, my answer is ‘no’. There is a big differ-

ence between where we are and where we could be, but that gap can be bridged if the trends are right. I am not sure if India will maximise its potential in my lifetime. I will die but my nation cannot. So for a country like India, it’s more important to see how sustainable its approach is, and not how rapid.

How much do we spend on research? Is our return on investment good? Our expenditure on research is a little less than one per cent of our GDP. But the GDP is increasing and will double in the next five years. That’s what the Prime Minister has promised. Of the total expense, 0.74 per cent is in the public sector and 0.26 per cent is in the private sector. In the world including China, the investment in public sector is one-third and in private sector it is two-third. In Japan, the ratio stands at 80 per cent in the private sector and 20 per cent in the public sector. In India, private sector engagement is low because our ability to convert technology into high value products is also low. In terms of total amount of money spent on technology, China invests 21 times more than India. If you compare the number of scientists between countries, China has nine to every one scientist that India has, while the US has 30 against our one. So when you’re comparing India to the US, you must also take into account the inputoutput ratio of each country. The ROI is OK but the investments are low. However, investments cannot increase without absorption capacity. There is a time lag between our development phase and their development phase. China started economic liberalisation 10 years ahead of us. What was the life expectancy of an average Indian when the British left the country? Below 30 years. Today, it’s 65 years. That is a major development. These are the areas in which we have made investments, and they must get precedence over what we apply in science and technology. The political will to invest in R&D is not lacking. My budget has increased 2.4 times since I joined,

Dr T Ramasami

and the preparedness to invest is also fair. But the returns are yet to come.

You were recently involved in the curriculum committee report of the IITs. How do you think administrators can encourage research? If you ask an IIT professor, who has fairly good research potential, to tell how much time he spends on teaching, education administration and research, the answer may shock you. You will find that a lot more time is spent on education administration and in conducting examinations like JEE. Every time we increase the batch size, the sheer number of answer-sheets to be corrected also increases. This is a huge obstacle in the path of those who may be interested in research. On the other hand, we have noticed that many talented women leave research work halfway to take a break and start a family. Re-entry for

such women, who are in the age group of 35-40 years, becomes difficult in pure research. For instance, I can’t go back to a research lab. I will be thrown out because I have been away for too long. But then, these women have a solid education base which can help in administration work, like correcting papers and conducting exams. So we can create a cadre of such women to work in administration. But we have to treat them with dignity. They should not be treated as mere assistants, but as academic faculty who work in administration. If you do that, you can then unshackle the core faculty and let them flourish in the creative space of research. These steps can also help universities. Also, when talking about research in universities, IITs and other institutions, remember that they don’t get funding for research as an institution. They get money for individual researchers who take up projects of importance to them-


selves. So, you must not ask the institute director about what they have done, but the scientist who has received the fund. We can find ways to engage institutions in research by giving them a planned research grant and institute a research council to advise them on how to spend their funds. Students can be involved in such research projects. However, students will be around for a few years only, till they get their degrees and jobs. It would be wiser to create a cadre of staff to do the research work with students, who can then continue on the projects even after the students have left. In any system, nature tries a hundred things, but only two to three survive for the next generation. The evolutionary path has a very low success rate. But I am not worried about failure, I believe in trying. Subscribe to the daily electronic newsletter from EDU at

September 2011  EduTech



Design Schools

designing a difference

Keen to provide a stimulating setting that promotes creativity, design schools are building campuses that encourage interaction, original thought and idea-exchange. But can architecture actually enhance learning? EDU finds out by Teja Lele Desai


EduTech  September 2011

Design Schools


f it weren’t for the architecture of Assisi, Jonas Salk may well not have solved the polio puzzle. The American virologist credited the serene architecture of the famed Italian town’s monastery with providing him the final intellectual impetus for his history-changing discovery. Architects have long suggested that the built environment has a strong bearing on our psychology, behaviour and creativity. Now, behavioural scientists are starting to back this theory, claiming that spaces can be designed to promote creativity, alertness, social cohesion and intellectual excellence. The Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, San Diego, USA, has initiated interdisciplinary research to promote and advance knowledge that links neuroscience to a growing understanding of human responses to the built environment. And, at architecture schools in several parts of the world, there are plans to initiate classes in introductory neuroscience. Over the years, research has linked student behaviour and achievement to the physical environment. Certain designs of facility are known to foster interaction and social intimacy, keep students focussed and alert and enhance learning. The built environment – perhaps the only three-dimensional constituent of educational

September 2011  EduTech



Design Schools

programmes – gains importance when it comes to creative curricula. Logically, a design school’s basic components include lecture rooms, design and art studios, exhibition spaces, laboratories, workshops, library, material museum, resource centre, auditorium, faculty rooms, a computer centre and a cafeteria. But a design school is not just

about boring studios, lecture rooms and preachy lessons. Gurgaon-based DADA & Partners, a multidisciplinary design firm offering architecture, urban design and planning services, recently proposed the prize-winning master plan for the new 20-acre campus of School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.

Parul Mittal, a partner in the firm, says transdisciplinary learning was one of the prime concerns guiding SPA’s design. “There has been a complete shift in how learning actually happens these days. In addition to the interdisciplinary nature of design learning, we feel that learning comes from outside the academic and disciplinary sphere. Our plan

‘Flexibility and interaction are critical’ Prof Pradyumna Vyas Director of the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, speaks to EDU about how the built environment influences design school students’ creative, imaginative and artistic skills

How can the design of modern design schools enhance student learning and ensure an environment that inculcates innovation? When we are designing schools, we need to create spaces that are more interactive. With cross-disciplinary learning being the norm at design schools, we need to ensure that there are no boundaries between departments and subjects. That said, institutes should be connected with society and can’t function as isolated islands. I also feel that school buildings should have strong visual characteristics and should be flexible in nature. It is very important that the design ensures a fluid quality, so that the building can adapt to changing needs with time. Any kind of interior should not become a hurdle to creative thinking, so even the furniture needs to be multi-use.

How does the NID campus at Paldi, Ahmedabad, foster creativity and imagination? I find NID the perfect example of what can be termed a flexible structure. The building is designed on a grid and has partitions as and when needed. The beauty is that the design is constantly evolving along with the needs of the faculty and students. If you want bigger classes, smaller spaces, different openings, a newer look, all you have to do is change the arrangement of the partitions. The changing environment allows students a chance to grow with it.


EduTech  September 2011

How does NID’s physical environment engage students and allow them to learn? We strongly believe that people interaction is the key to performance and learning at design schools. A good design school should be able to harbour creative processes and students without any kinds of boundaries. At NID, the informal spaces foster easy communication and interaction, which is imperative to learning at a design school. The reception area, which is used to display exhibits on steel channels attached to structural concrete ribs, creates another informal setting where students often stand to discuss the changing displays and their learnings. Interaction between faculty and faculty, students and faculty, and others is enhanced, thanks to the kind of spaces created by the layout.

Which other schools come to mind, in India or abroad, for providing an ambience conducive to learning? When I think of other good schools that provide the perfect learning environment, I think of IIM Bangalore (designed by BV Doshi). The architect has managed to attain the perfect balance between the built environment and nature.

Any tips on how new D-schools can give their students an environment to grow and let their ideas blossom? All new schools have to be more interactive. We need to design keeping in mind the needs of at least the next 100 years. An educational institute cannot be redesigned or shifted after 10-20 years. NID had to open campuses in Gandhinagar and Bangalore because we did not have the space to expand. It is very important to involve students in the design process as their inputs can also provide value. A modern D-school will also need to be energy efficient. That means we need more natural light, natural cooling mechanisms and lots of greenery.

Design Schools

aims to provide opportunities to promote an intense, well-connected and engaging learning environment for students indoors and outdoors,” Mittal says.

Built to Foster Learning At the new SPA campus, academic buildings are designed to foster learning in every corner and to enable interdisciplinary interaction. Both undergraduate and postgraduate buildings will offer flexible learning and work environments, and will be interspersed with strategically located communal spaces. The layout reflects the fluid nature of learning today. Keeping in mind the changing needs of learning institutes, blueprints have been designed to be flexible – for the initial building stages as well as future phases.

Creating Right Setting Designers say that creating the right setting for students is important to inculcate creative, imaginative and artistic skills. Only the right design can bring about a D-school that aids learning, unleashes students’ creativity, encourages group activity and stimulates originality. Sanjay Mohe, the architect behind NIFT, Hyderabad, agrees that knowledge-transfer in design schools is not limited to classrooms. “It happens through observation, peer activities, group discussions, etc., and we need to create spaces that fuel the latent creativity in our students,” he says. Since NIFT is a fashion school where group interaction and informal discussions are common, Mohe decided to create a series of spaces that would invite students to hang out. There are areas that are open to the sky, workshops overlooking one another, spaces around lockers, open machine and art rooms and a circulation space that combines a ramp and seating to allow students the freedom to pursue their coursework as they like it. “We often see students spreading out their drawings in the courtyard for a tete-a-tete with their seniors or the faculty. They also hold impromptu shows on the ramp, and use the shadows and effects created by the pergolas for photography,” Mohe says.


“We’ve tried to create a malleable but suggestive space that promotes activity and collaboration...We used everything to encourage creative collaboration” —Scott Witthoft

Lecturer, d.School, Stanford University

The tradition of fostering creativity in design schools goes way back. The Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA), one of Le Corbusier’s works, stands as testimony to the master architect’s stunning interpretation of a design school. The institute’s central courtyard is its heart, with all rooms and activities radiating from it. The unfinished concrete and bricks, the white walls and front facade of modular colours are design elements that have inspired students down the ages. Speaking about how design is an integral part of life and not just a subject to be studied at CCA, graduate Apurva Bose Dutta, says: “The courtyard is a major hangout area and creates an interaction space where an exchange of ideas takes place on a regular basis. Such spaces work wonders in design schools. Also, CCA students get a very neat and practical demonstration of Le Corbusier’s works and ideas as they’re all very much alive on this campus.” Clearly, a design school should have the ability to harbour creativity without precincts and boundaries. When the Sushant School of Design (SSD), Gurgaon, was being designed, the brief was clear: focus on physical building conditions that influence learning and creativity. Jitender Shambi, Head of Department at the school, which opened in 2009, says, “Design schools have specific requirements regarding spaces that happily sit together but perform functions

that may be conflicting. Educational spaces require the non-room to be thought of as much as the room. Circulation spaces, public and private thresholds and spillover spaces are critical.” Keeping students’ creativity foremost in mind, the focus was on an open plan, visibility, natural light and opportunities for change. A second phase of construction begins this year. Watch this space. Citing the new campus of London’s Central Saint Martin College of Art and Design as an impressive blend of spaces and technology that is likely to revolutionise learning, Shambi believes that spaces designed for creative processes are modest, silent and absolute in providing the user the spatial experience and tools that inspire, to contemplate and to produce. “The open-plan foundation studio works as a space for production,” Shambi says. “The space reflects the nature of the course where students are exposed to an intense year of creating and thinking, exploring subjects such as textiles, ceramics, spatial design and conceptual drawing. The studio acts as the backdrop for this activity and can be thought of as a blank canvas.” The blank canvas concept seems to have worked for the SSD campus. Students’ creativity is obvious as one walks around the courtyard – the walls are replete with murals and sculptures, providing a vista of exhibits that changes with time. Most designers agree that multi-functional spaces, that are flexible and can be September 2011  EduTech



Design Schools

adapted to different needs, are an important facet of design schools. The entrance porch-corridor at CCA also comes alive in the form of an exhibition space. “A design school works when students keep adding to the design. At CCA, a lot of sculptures, murals, tensile structures and landscaping elements created by students have becoming an integral part of the college design,” Bose Dutta says. At the National School of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, the reception area showcases informally placed exhibits. The steel channels on structural concrete ribs have display frames that can be adjusted in many different arrangements. At NIFT, Hyderabad, the corridors work as open galleries and exhibition spaces, both formal and informal, with students discussing ideas, dressing up mannequins and finalising designs there. On a campus, casual spaces are known to readily foster communication and interaction. The open plan of the campus at Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), credited to architect BV Doshi, creates a layer of interactive and transition spaces that form the backbone of the design. The many walkways – with a variety of steps and platforms – create a sort of an unforced approach towards the building. The resulting common spaces are often used for informal gatherings, exhibitions and games. The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, a cutting-edge school that offers a wide variety of design courses, believes that “space makes people.” Scott Doorley, a creative director at “”, as it is known, says: “An intentional space can have a great impact on not only the education within the space, but also innovations that derive from innovators. We inherited an interesting challenge as we were shuffled between four spaces in four years prior to moving into our current space. These years led to many insights about needs and opportunities for collaborative and creative learning spaces.” The space was created through a radical collaboration of several groups – the school, two architecture firms, the Stanford School of


EduTech  September 2011

Universal Spaces

“We need to create spaces that fuel the latent creativity in our students” —Sanjay Mohe

Architect, NIFT, Hyderabad Engineering and the Stanford Department of Project Management. Office furniture companies, Steelcase and OneWorkplace, were responsible for several of the more experimental materials and artefacts used. Scott Witthoft, a lecturer at d.School, Stanford University, says: “We’ve tried to create a malleable but suggestive space that biases towards activity and collaboration at the team level. We used everything at our disposal to encourage creative collaboration, such as upright postures to encourage movement and shifting of leadership roles; access to vertical workspace to encourage collective visualisation; prominent, visible storage of work-in-progress to provide a sense of energy; open-plan classrooms to level status relationships between teachers and students; music to set the tone; non-precious materials to encourage making; and contrasting special touches to create a sense of home, safety, and belonging.”

The concept of ‘flexible spaces’ has been around for a long time. SR Crown Hall, the college of architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, embodies Modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s concept of universal space. Characterised by an aesthetic of industrial simplicity, the structure is one that can be adapted to different uses with varying needs over time. The lower level of the structure comprises compartmentalised rooms, but the upper floor level is a single glass-enclosed architecture studio space, the architect’s ‘universal space’. With no permanent partitions, spaces could be carved out as and when desired and greater intermingling was possible between students, faculty and staff. The same concept is followed in the Yale Art and Architecture building. Keen to unify the various forms of arts, architect Paul Rudolph created spaces that would emphasise interaction due to the absence of permanent partitions. Two large open spaces serve as the hub – one as a gallery and meeting room on the main floor, the other as architecture studios on the fourth and fifth floors. All rooms are arranged around these open spaces in a pinwheel-like pattern. Last, but definitely not the least, a cutting-edge design school that allows rethinking the conventions of design practice also needs to provide students and staff with learning add-ons that promote a culture of collaboration – it could be the new-age library at SPA, the Woodshop at the Graduate School of Design (GSD) at Harvard University or the material museum at CCA. Talking about the library at the new SPA campus, Mittal says: “The new-age media library commons will be the hub of the campus and encourage the concept of working ‘where you are’, be it the e-cafe or wi-fi-enabled student lobby. The cafeteria, campus centre, auditorium and hostels also embrace similar concepts. There are spaces for interaction, but there are also spaces for quiet reflection.” Subscribe to the daily electronic newsletter from EDU at

Integrated BBAcum-MBA programmes: Grooming young leaders of tomorrow or just a marketdriven exercise? by Charu Bahri


EduTech  September 2011



Business Education

ome October, the portals of IIM Indore, one of India’s leading postgraduate management institutes, will welcome another batch of students, albeit with a difference. This year, 120 young minds, fresh from school, will take admission in IIM Indore’s newly launched Integrated Post Graduate Programme (IPGP). If the students stay the course, five years down the line they will be awarded the coveted IIM-MBA degree. Students who choose to quit after three years, will be given diplomas equivalent to a BBA degree. A first in India, the IPGP programme has generated much interest and debate. The education circle is busy debating the pros and cons of integrating the undergraduate and postgraduate management education. Though many have praised the course as the need of the hour, some including those in the highest echelons of the education sector have expressed doubts on the ‘experiment’. Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education and Governing Board Member, SS Mantha, has not been too supportive of the new endeavour – “Courses where students go into management straight after school raise questions because they have no domain knowledge which they can build upon.”

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New VC of BRAOU Appointed Dr P Prakash has been appointed as the new Vice Chancellor of BR Ambedkar Open University (BRAOU) in Hyderabad. He is presently working as the Additional Secretary of University Grants Commission (UGC) at New Delhi. An alumnus of Osmania University, Prakash received the CSIR national scholarship and was also conferred the Young Scientist Award by the Indian Botanical Society. He is the former registrar of Urdu University, Hyderabad, UGC.


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Pros & Cons Certainly, Mantha’s observation raises pertinent questions. On the one hand, there are people like Dr Rajan Saxena, Vice Chancellor and distinguished Professor of Marketing, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai and ex-director, IIM Indore who contend that BBA programmes — management courses in their own right — are to be studied straight after school. Saxena says, “Undergraduate and postgraduate management programmes f u l fi l d i f f e r e n t p u r p o s e s . ” T h e undergraduate programmes are aimed at preparing first line supervisory and executive staff, both for front-end and back-end positions in the BPO industry. In contrast, students passing out of postgraduate management courses are absorbed in managerial cadres across the industry. Hence, Dr Saxena believes that integrating both programmes simply for the sake of creating better managers may confuse the purpose of each course. On the other hand, Mantha says that s u p e r- s p e c i a l i s a t i o n a t t h e undergraduate level is a no-no. His opinion is built on the assumption that management education is an extension September 2011  EduTech



Business Education

of graduate studies in the disciplines of arts, science, engineering, or commerce. “Management is an applied science; applied in real time. Since ‘situations’ needing to be managed exist in many walks of life including business, management studies are best built on a basic discipline. A sound base helps students understand the practice of management, and this know-how may then easily be extrapolated to other areas,” he says. Some educationists concur with this view that students who have already done their graduate studies derive more benefit from postgraduate management education. “Students pursuing an MBA after acquiring a wider knowledge base get more benefits out of the course vis-àvis regular BBA graduates,” agrees Professor Raj S Dhankar, Dean, Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), University of Delhi. He notes that most of USA’s leading B-schools offer MBA programmes.

Is Integration a bad Idea? Engineering, science, and liberal arts graduates get more out of an MBA course because they bring more to the

“Students pursuing an MBA after acquiring a wider knowledge base get more benefits” —Raj S Dhankar

Dean, FMS, University of Delhi

The BITS Pilani Experience


he Management Group (currently renamed as Department of Management) at BITS Pilani was established in the year 1971. Initially, it offered a two-year MBA programme. In 1973, when the institute launched an integrated educational structure, MBA evolved into an integrated first degree programme MMS (Master of Management Studies) with a strong foundation in science and engineering. This programme was successfully offered for three decades. The MMS programme absorbed students straight after 10+2. The content was a judicious mix of mathematics, science, engineering, computers, analytics and all the basic management courses. Based on the feedback from the industry, BITS Pilani introduced a new MBA programme in 2006. Applicants are required to have a first degree from BITS or its equivalent. The new programme endeavours to create manpower with a scientific and engineering approach to business administration. Students are also given reasonable exposure to certain modern technologies. Flexibility and a very strong component comprising industry project experience are incorporated into the programme.


EduTech  September 2011

table. Unlike undergraduate students, their minds are not raw and many of them also have industry exposure, thanks to rigorous internship that forms a part of their studies. “Engineering and science graduates have developed sound technical skills. Students drawn from a liberal arts background bring a lot of creativity and essential writing skills. Such skills blend well with the management techniques they learn during an MBA programme and make for well-grounded, all-rounder managers,” says Saxena. So, is integration a bad idea per se? “No,” says Saxena adding, “it’s just a question of knowing what subjects can be integrated to best meet the needs of the industry.” He believes the answer lies in integration that cuts across disciplines – management with technology, management with architecture, management with healthcare, etc. It’s not as though no change has taken place in B-schools’ curricula. Professor Dishan Kamdar, Senior Associate Dean, Academic Programmes, Indian School of Business, points out that most of the leading global B-schools have made revisions or completely revamped their curriculum in the last five years. Still, more changes are required to ensure that the curriculum has rigour and is cutting-edge and global. “Integrated courses that enhance the functional and cross-functional expertise of students will ensure that the curriculum stays relevant,” adds Kamdar.

Adding value to BBA degrees Management as a subject comes neither under art nor science streams. Rather, it’s an interdisciplinary course of study. Possibly, that is why American undergraduate management courses offer students the choice of social subjects like history and geography. In contrast, Indian BBA programmes have adopted a narrow structured syllabus centred on industry and trade. Professor Dhankar is of the opinion that the American system offers students a much more comprehensive MBA programme, and if they choose to study

Business Education


New Appointment | osmania university

New Appointment | Jammu university

The Government of Andhra Pradesh has appointed Prof S Satyanarayana as the new Vice Chancellor of Osmania University. He is currently the Registrar of Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies (RGUKT) and has over two decades of experience in university education. Beginning his career in 1983, as NSS programme officer at Osmania University, Satyanarayana took over as its Directorate of Admissions in 2002. He was appointed as the principal of Nizam College in 2006, and later became the registrar of RGUKT.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary SS Bloeria has been appointed as the first Vice Chancellor of the Central University at Jammu. Bloeria is a 1968 batch IAS officer who rose to become the chief secretary of the state in 2003 and retired in 2005. He is a native of Jammu. Earlier, Amitabh Mattoo, an internationally acclaimed academician and international affairs expert, was appointed to the post but he refused to join citing personal reasons.

Osmania gets its 23rd VC

management at the postgraduate level as well, it enhances their knowledge and skills further. “Whereas if a BBA student in India were to go for an MBA, the value addition in terms of knowledge is very restricted.” In this context, IIM Indore’s IPGP programme promises to be a cut above the regular BBA courses. A press release issued by the institute says that 40 per cent of the course will be a medley of social science subjects like history and political science with a fare sprinkling of mathematics, statistics, logic and computer science. The course has been structured thus, possibly to help students develop essential rationalising skills. Soft skills and biological sciences will be included as well. Functional areas of management will constitute half of the course content,

First VC of Central Varsity

while one-tenth of the programme will focus on giving students international exposure and internship in social organisations across India. The variety in course design seems intended to ensure that students receive broad-based knowledge, and thereby addresses the challenge of ‘early specialisation’, for which the institute has been criticised. It is also being said that this course curriculum design is based on the institute’s experience in teaching postgraduate students, who are found lacking in understanding of social aspects and subjects such as business law or business history.

Global Trend Towards Integrated Programmes According to Aparna Prasad, Member, Academic Council, Jain University, there is a

global trend towards integrated interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary programmes. In her view, “An innovative approach, curriculum design and delivery, tailor the course to the needs of the academia and industry. This can spell success for any scholastic programme, even an integrated management programme.” Balance is the key – a well-composed course can provide students with the grounding that will equip them for the future, she says. There aren’t enough examples of integrated management programmes, to either praise or pan the IPGP course. From a market perspective though, it will find many takers. When two years at an IIM promises a line-up of jobs from the best companies, parents and students alike will buy into the premise that a five-year course at one of India’s leading management institutes will only

“An innovative approach, curriculum design and delivery, tailor the course to the needs of the academia and industry” —Aparna Prasad,

Member, Academic Council, Jain University

September 2011  EduTech



Business Education

brighten their future prospects. But educationists are of the opinion that integrated management courses are not likely to cause much of a stir across India Inc. “Students undergoing integrated regular BBA and MBA programmes will possess knowledge in only one stream – management. They will be more adept at running the monetary aspects of a business, rather than becoming good leaders. India needs agents of change. We need great leaders, even if they are not the best managers,” says Professor Dhankar. Also, people possessing undergraduate degrees in alternate disciplines will have an edge over ‘pure’ managers when the job market for management professionals shrinks. That is not to say that graduates from sought-after educational brands like the IIMs (case in point, IIM Indore’s IPGP) will not be hired by the industry. “Students from such premier institutes will be hired anyway. But students undergoing integrated management courses from unknown institutions are not likely to be in demand,” he adds.

Challenges to Integration Faculty: High-quality research-oriented faculty can strengthen the learning and research culture amongst students. Institutes adopting the integrated pattern may need separate faculty to teach undergraduate students, who have raw, yet more creative minds. They question more and are less exposed to the industry. While some faculty members may not mind teaching undergraduates, all postgraduate-level teachers cannot be expected to comply. Discrimination between students: Discrimination between students cannot be ruled out with those who have cracked a highly competitive admission test getting preferential treatment. The integrated course’s students may be perceived as being of lower calibre.

IPGP: Leader of Change? A lot of future initiatives hang on the fate of IPGP: Will its fresh design succeed? Will it usher in a new era of management education in India? Will more leading postgraduate B-schools take the plunge to cater to students across the management education spectrum?

If they do, will they continue to be known for their academic rigour and in-depth industry research or will the move dilute their brand? The jury is still out on that. Subscribe to the daily electronic newsletter from EDU at

TECHNOLOGY 54 Tech Tutes: Blog

51-55 Tech Snippet: Technology News and Tips and Tricks

Thin Client, Fat Benefits Higher education institutes can reap the benefits of going lean with thin clients – an innovative technology with many benefits by tushar kanwar 50

EduTech  September 2011


t’s the quintessential dilemma for administrators and IT heads of higher education institutions – how to rein in IT spending without compromising the IT learning experience. Especially, given the increasing role IT plays in today’s classrooms, and the fact that the unstoppable advancements in technology threaten to virtually make any investment in IT obsolete. There is hope though in the innovative yet diminutively named technology called ‘thin’ clients. We spoke to leading solution providers and institutions that have implemented thin clients in their campuses to understand the important considerations and choices you have to make when going for one.

Thin Clients

Tech Snippet | Mobile Learning

AppInventer Lives on Google’s AppInventer was an ambitious project: trying to make it possible for non-developers to create Android applications. AppInventor, which started off an invite-only product, was recently made available to all, as part of Google Labs. Initially, Google Labs’ shutting down meant that AppInventer would no longer have a home. Fortunately, it is not the case, as Google has announced that AppInventer will be open-sourced and it has found a home in a new MIT Centre for Mobile Learning, at MIT’s Media Lab. The new centre will be run by professors Hal Abelson, Eric Klopfer and Mitchel Resnick of MIT. For those who have not heard of Google AppInventer, it is a browser-based application by Google that allows anyone to

What are Thin Clients? At its most basic level, a thin client is any technology solution that allows data and processing to be located away from the desktop user, typically on one or several server computers in a secure data centre. Each user on the node of the network runs his/her own ‘virtual machine’ – wit h i t s o w n o p e r a t i n g s y s t e m , applications, stored data and personal settings – over the network. Imagine a scenario in your campus, where the students can log in from shared terminals in computer labs and classrooms, and have the same desktop and programs running when they reach their dormitories or hostels.

Big on Benefits Clearly, thin computing implementations make a lot of financial sense, and the most attractive benefits of desktop virtualisation come from costs savings on several fronts, according to Manish Sharma, Vice President, APAC, NComputing, a player in the virtualised computing space. Giving an example to demonstrate the low cost of entry, Sharma says that a 30-seat computer lab built using a traditional ‘all-PC’ deployment would cost four times as much compared to a desktop virtualisation model. But it’s not only upfront acquisition costs that are reduced. Studies also show


create an Android application without writing any code. Instead, one could lay out the user interface (UI) of the application using a simple drag-drop interface, similar to those found in visual UI layout tools in International Development Enterprise (IDE). The web application can even be used to debug directly from the web UI. As part of MIT’s Centre for Mobile Learning, the focus of AppInventer will be research-based and as a tool to aid education. AppInventer started under MIT with major contributions from them, and is now back in MIT’s hands.

a 75 per cent saving, as compared to traditional PC environments, in ongoing support costs, such as, installation, maintenance and replacement. Add to it the power consumption savings – depending on the thin client devices selected, an institution can save up to 90 per cent on electricity costs as compared to traditional power-consuming infrastructure like standalone desktop PCs. Looking beyond pure numbers, thin clients help organisations bring in productivity benefits for their IT staff as well. Since the applications and data reside on the servers, installation time is dramatically reduced with far fewer devices to configure and install. Abhilesh Guleria, Country Head, Multimedia Product Group and IT Platform Business, NEC India, says that easy manage-

ability tips the scales in the favour of IT virtualisation. New applications and upgrades, including latest security patches, are loaded only once onto the server, and become instantly available on all devices, regardless of age, platform or hardware configuration, obliterating the need to individually touch each thin client device to install software. Since these devices are essentially network terminals, they have very few moving parts and are less susceptible to breakdowns. With fewer variations between thin client hardware, troubleshooting is much easier for support staff and users.

Usual Hiccups As with any user-facing roll-out, the biggest challenge around thin client computing is managing end-user expecta-

“A 30-seat computer lab built using a traditional ‘all-PC’ deployment would cost four times as much, compared to a desktop virtualisation model” —Manish Sharma VP, APAC, NComputing

September 2011  EduTech



Thin Clients

Tech Snippet | Online Search

Google Improves Sitelink Feature In a bid to make online search more intuitive, Google has made some notable improvements to its ‘sitelinks’ format. Google, on its official blog, says the search engine has “expanded and improved” the sitelink feature, which you may recall, as the links beneath the main URL you get after searching for particular terms on Google. As you can also see, the font size appears to be larger and all the subsidiary links have small descriptions or snippets beneath them. Moreover, the maximum number of sitelinks per query has been increased from 8 to 12, depending on

tions and acceptance. According to Sharma, historically, thin client solutions meant users had to compromise on performance to achieve cost advantages. It is no longer the case, with virtual desktops such as NComputing’s L300 devices and others, able to deliver

the size of the website. “It turns out that sitelinks are quite useful because they can help predict which sections of the site you want to visit. Even if you didn’t specify your task in the query, sitelinks help you quickly navigate to the most relevant part of the site, which is particularly handy for large and complex websites. Sitelinks can also give you a good overview of a website’s content, and let webmasters expose areas of the site that visitors may not know about,” says Google’s blog. Google has also made some improvements to its algorithms, combining the sitelinks with regular search result rankings. Google says it will give higher-quality links.

PC-like performance, including fullmotion multimedia playback. Some vendors, including NComputing, package ‘classroom-in-a-box’ solutions which allow institutions to literally take it outof-the-box and get rolling. In addition, users may need training in the new sys-

tem, especially some groups of users who are uncomfortable with less control over their computing environment. Administrators will need to stress the advantages, such as the ability to access one’s desktop and applications from any location, to convince the reluctant staff.

“We, at Amity, were able to derive huge benefits” In Conversation with JS Sodhi, Assistant Vice President, AKC Data Systems (Amity Group)

What were the considerations that compelled Amity to go for the thin client implementation — stated needs and benefits you were looking to derive from the implementation? Amity has always supported eco-friendly projects. We feel that it is our social responsibility to use technologies which are green and consume less energy. We were also looking for a solution that delivers significant cost savings which we can re-invest in software and services for our students. With the desktop virtualisation implementation by NComputing, we, at Amity, were able to derive huge benefits (see Sample ROI Calculation), both in business and social terms. For example, we have replaced our UPS of 10 KVA with a 3 KVA version for each 40 computer lab, bringing the electrical consumption down substantially. Consider this – typical desktops consumed around 180


EduTech  September 2011

watts, while the NComputing solution consumes just 5 watts – leading to less heat in the lab and greater cooling impact. Plus the productivity benefits – the virtual PC boots up much faster than a regular PC, and we are able to administer the systems in a far more effective manner. With the reduced maintenance, now one lab administrator can easily handle multiple labs without any difficulty.

What were the various virtualisation vendors you considered for the thin client implementation? We explored various options like VM Ware thin client with Wyse, HP thin client terminal, Citrix with thin client terminal and NComputing Adaptors, finally choosing NComputing.

Please tell us about the scale of your thin client roll-out? At Amity, we implemented 40 units of NComputing’s L300 product as access devices, each device with a monitor, keyboard, mouse and network port, and connecting to one of the many servers or environments depending on what application the user wanted to put the device to.

Thin Clients

Tech Snippet | Ultra-thin Laptops

Intel Sets up $300 mn Fund for Ultrabooks Intel Capital has established a $300 mn fund to assist companies across the world to develop hardware and software technologies for its upcoming ultra-thin laptops ‘Ultrabook’. According to reports, the company is scouting for Indian hardware and software companies for this purpose. Intel’s fund, to be spent in the next three to four years, is aimed at enhancing people’s interaction with Ultrabooks — a new class of computing devices that blends the capabilities of laptops with tablet-like features. Ultrabooks are less than an inch in thickness. Intel believes

Way to go Lean With the maturing of the desktop virtualisation space, many vendors can roll-out standard solutions – campuswide or multi-site deployments – in a short period of time. However, as Sharma suggests, in order to achieve the maximum benefits possible, institutions should invest significant effort internally and also with the bidding vendors into planning the design. For optimising potential benefit, one fundamental task should be to evaluate whether a migration makes sense for all or some of an educational institution’s users. While it may sound like a good idea on paper, thin clients may not suit the work demands of all users. Client virtualisation works best for users who access a limited number of standardised applications, not for certain staff who need a larger variety of programs or intense computing power. The fit may not be ideal, as well, for legacy or graphics-heavy applications used within graphic design departments. Post the initial planning, Sharma adds that it is essential for any institution to engage with partners that have practical, commercial, and technical experience, and have achieved success in similar implementations. Service level agreements, purchasing, user requirements capture, LAN/WAN, telecoms, server, desktop, terminal services and application integration, are just some of the skills on which administra-


the sleek build puts them in a new genre of sub-notebook — perhaps mini notebook or ultraportable. Apart from being ultra-sleek, the Ultrabook is a feature-rich device. The device, Intel says, will start up instantly, have a long battery life, a sensitive touch screen and will support all the PC-type apps that do not work on tablets presently. The devices are expected to be priced starting from $1,000. Intel hopes the new device will help gain nearly 40 per cent of the laptop market by the end of 2012.

Case Studies: How they Did IT Thapar University, Punjab: Apart from the multitude of servers and over a hundred PCs that form the Computer Centre at Thapar are 16 SUN thin clients that form the core of the Cyber Surfing Lab. Here, students can log in with their own credentials on each of these devices for the duration they wish to browse the internet, which allows sharing these terminals without compromising individual privacy. Shoolini University, Himachal Pradesh: At Shoolini University, the University IT centre encompasses one central lab with 100 computers (thin clients) for general surfing purposes. Bradford College (UK): As one of the biggest universities in the United Kingdom with three campuses, 30,000 students and 2,500 employed staff, Bradford College had planned to reduce the burden of the existing PC installation at one of its campuses. NEC IT implemented 360 of their US100 thin client terminals with eight of their VPCC servers, reducing not only the TCO, but delivering a solution where each terminal was capable of fullscreen flash video and RFID card security.

tors and institution heads should be evaluating a potential partner. JS Sodhi from the Amity Group adds an institution administrator’s unique perspective to the decision-making process. He recommends that institutions looking towards desktop virtualisation, consider a number of factors – what applications are commonly used and how often, the number of users and their geographic location, and the existing network availability – all of these

decide the scale of a roll-out. A good system should also build in load balancing features, and issue management and monitoring features. Any good vendor should be able to fit in their virtualisation solution within your existing IT infrastructure, and not necessarily need to start from scratch. Subscribe to the daily electronic newsletter from EDU at September 2011  EduTech



Thin Clients


Share your Thoughts – Blog

Want the world to be your stage? Here’s how…


Head over to the and logging is a great outlet click on the orange ‘Get started here’ butfor teachers and administon. You will need to then choose a trators to build awareness domain name – a unique name that will about issues in education; identify your blog to your potential readshare information and ers – so think wisely. You’ll need a few best practices with one another; and details like a username, a password and bring about systemic change. Even if an email address and that’s it – your blog your goals aren’t as far reaching, and you is ready to use at yourchosenname.wordjust want to set up a blog as a hobby (where ‘yourchosenname’ is (cooking, or perhaps photography), the name you chose for your blog). here’s the lowdown on what you need to Get Familiar: Once you’ve signed up do to get a basic blog up and running. and verified your email address, your Get Started: Before you can start hamblog is ready to use and the first place mering out blog posts and gaining a you should head to, is the dashboard, the dedicated reader base, you will need to behind-the-scenes control panel where set aside a few minutes to sign up for a you can publish content, new blog, tweak the setmanage comments, and tings to your needs, and change your settings, etc. generally get acquainted READER ROI This is the view of your with the whole process. For You can include your personal blog only you can see; in a the purpose of this tutorial, blog link on your way the back-office we’ve picked WordPress. university page operations that keep your com, arguably the most or your email blog ‘front desk’ running. popular hosted and free signature, if the Take a look around the blogging platform in the content guidelines allow it dashboard – you should see world, though you can as an auto-generated post well go with the Google Your can blog titled ‘Hello world!’, and a powered Blogger platform about a hobby, b i g m e n u i n t h e l e ft – it really comes down to say cooking sidebar. If by the sight of individual preference.


EduTech  September 2011

Blog on: Teachers and administrators can use blogs to great effect for spreading awareness

that menu, you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, don’t worry; you really only need to know your way around a few key parts of the dashboard, to start using your blog. As you get more familiar with and want to extend your blog capabilities in new ways, you can explore some of the other menus, learning at your own pace. For now, head to the General settings menu. Here you can change the site title, an explanation of what the site is about, and common settings such as timezone, date/time format and privacy settings (is it visible to everyone, including search engines like Google, or just to readers?). Get Writing: Assuming you’re clear what you’re going to be writing about (that’s why you started this blog in the first place, right?), you will want to pick a theme that suits your style or the subject you intend to cover. Head over to the Appearance > Themes area of your

Thin Clients

Tech Snippet | Web Design

Adobe Releases Muse Adobe has recently released a preview of yet another HTML-based design tool after EDGE. The new tool code-named ‘Muse’, allows a person with no knowledge of web development languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create websites. The application offers a design-oriented interface, which, those working with the print media will be familiar with. The sites created with Muse can be exported to HTML code or directly published to Adobe’s own Business Catalyst service. It does not currently support CMSs; instead it generates the entire code structure for a website, which can be directly uploaded to a web server.

dashboard, and select a theme. For example, if you’re planning a photo blog, you will want to choose a theme that allows your images to take centre stage on your site, so pick a theme with a lot of space for your visual content. For most folks though, the default ‘Twenty Eleven’ theme is sufficient. Don’t worry even if you can’t make up your mind while picking the perfect theme, you can always change the theme later. Now that your design is set, let’s create a test post for your blog. Log in to your dashboard, and head to ‘Posts’ menu and pick the ‘Add New’ option. In the page that loads, write up a title for the post – imagine that it is a headline for your content. Below the title, you will see a visual editor (much like you would see in a web-based email like Gmail), which allows you to easily create, edit, and format the content of your post. Type in the text, play around with the formatting options, and when you’re done, you can either choose to save the posts any time (without sharing them on your blog) by hitting the ‘Save Draft’ button, or if you’re ready, hit ‘Publish’. Once you’re familiar with posting, you can add in more content, by way of links to other reading material/sites, images, videos – in each case, WordPress makes it exceedingly easy to post such content. Get Networked: Once you’ve gotten


One can easily insert widgets such as menus, featured news boxes, image galleries, light boxes, etc. The application will automatically generate a menu, based on the structure you define for the website in its Plan view. The menu entries will even be kept in sync with the changes made in the site’s structure. The application also lets one add random HTML code snippets, which can allow for embedding maps for Google maps, Twitter widgets and pretty much everything else. This added code can then be placed anywhere on the page just like any other widget. Muse will only be available on subscription because Adobe would like to release features for it faster than the yearly cycle they intend to maintain for Creative Suite.

Expand your reader base by providing links to your blog on your social and professional networking accounts along with your email account; wait for the praise to flow in. You are now a veteran blogger

Get started with our tutorial and sign up for a new blog with one of the many blogging sites

down to a rhythm of publishing your posts, you should head out and solicit readers. For example, you can include your personal blog link on your university page or your email signature, if the content guidelines allow it. Post about it on social media – Twitter or

Facebook – and have friends and family chime in with their comments. From there on, the world is your oyster! Subscribe to the daily electronic newsletter from EDU at September 2011  EduTech


the global perspective From

o f h i g h e r e d u c at i o n

INSIDE 58 | Latin American Nations Push Students Abroad 60 | European Universities Concerned About Funds

Scientists Tap Columbia’s Biodiversity to Boost Development Academics are working with the business community to use biotechnology for development By Steven Ambrus

Treasure Trove: A consortium of universities is working to tap Columbia’s rich biological reserve


hen Lucia Atehortúa returned to Columbia in 1983 after completing a doctorate in botany at the City University of New York, she was astounded to find that Columbia’s scientists were almost completely ignoring the nation’s immense biodiversity. With between 45,000 and 55,000 plant species, Columbia is among the world’s


EduTech  September 2011

three most bio diverse countries, but no one seemed interested in tapping its vast biological treasure trove to make money or improve people’s health and standard of living. Fast-forward 28 years and Atehortúa’s laboratory at the University of Antioquia, in Medellín, is packed full with dozens of PhD’s and graduate students working on a variety of projects, including bio fuels that don’t impinge on agricultural land and the enhancement of foods using extracts from herbaceous plants, algae, and fungi. National energy, food, and cosmetics companies line up to hire out the lab’s services, and Atehortúa has four patents in the United States with seven more pending. The University of Antioquia is a public university and one of the nation’s premier research centres. It has built much of its reputation on basic and medical sciences but focuses increasingly on biodiversity and biotechnology. It is not alone. A consortium of four other universities in Medellín is working under contract with private business to perfect techniques of pyrolysis, the thermochemical decomposition of organic material, to produce cleaner energy from coffee-bean husks and waste-water sludge. Other universities around the country are working to produce cosmetics and cures for malaria and tuberculosis from rainforest plants,

Global.Chronicle.Com $2 mn annual budget comes from Columbiwhile others still aim to develop industrial and an companies interested in the practical medical products that can withstand extreme applications. An animal-food company and temperatures, from micro-organisms found in an ice cream firm, for example, finance high-mountain glaciers. efforts to use extracts from medicinal mush“There has been an ever greater interest over rooms with anti-cancer and cardiovascularthe last 10 years in making Columbia a Sign up for a free weekly boosting properties to enhance the health regional centre for biodiversity and electronic newsletter from The Chronicle of Higher Education at benefits of their products. biotechnology research,” said Mauricio Chronicle.Com/Globalnewsletter Meanwhile, Empresas Públicas de Medellín, Rodríguez, the biotechnology manager at The Chronicle of Higher Education is the city-owned utility and energy company, is Colciencias, the government agency in charge a US-based company with a weekly banking on her work to develop new bio fuels of formulating science and technology policy newspaper and a website updated from microalgae and from a tropical bush in the country. “There is a push at the daily, at, that cover all aspects of university life. seed to catapult their business into the world universities to develop the physical With over 90 writers, editors, and of alternative energy. infrastructure and human resources so that correspondents stationed around “We are interested in technologies that allow Columbia can develop bio fuels, biomaterials, the globe, The Chronicle provides you to produce fuels on an industrial scale and medicines from its rich offerings of flora timely news and analysis of academwithout using huge tracts of land that current and fauna.” ic ideas, developments and trends. biofuels, like ethanol or biodiesel, require,” The move away from an exclusive emphasis said Sergio Montoya, the utility’s Deputy on basic to more applied sciences in the Director for Energy Research and Developacademic world comes as both rural areas and ment. “We believe it will be a huge niche for business as concities like Medellín, the nation’s second largest, seek to break cerns over climate warming intensify in the 21st century.” out of an antiquated 20th-century model of raw-material One floor below Atehortúa’s lab, scientists insert a DNA samexploitation and manufacturing to embrace more globalised, ple into a genome sequencer and watch as the machine’s screen high-tech markets. produces spherical representations of genetic matter etched in It also comes as Columbia’s government advances steadily in green. The $2 mn machine was given to the university by Roche its nearly 50-year-old war with Marxist guerrillas. With security Pharmaceuticals in exchange for tax exemptions in Columbia, conditions ever better, huge areas of mountain forest and junmaking the country the fifth in Latin America after Mexico, Bragle have been opened up to scientific research. Plants and anizil, Argentina, and Chile to have such a facility. Eighteen months mals once out of reach are now at the fingertips of university later, the university is already negotiating with private businesses scientists, and ideas for new products abound. on genome studies ranging from potato disease to changes in the Atehortúa, whose small, rounded face and impish smile give human intestine brought about by certain foods. her the air at 60 of a somewhat older Audrey Tautou, believes the nation’s universities are slowly but surely moving down a path of great promise in which they will use biodiversity to spur The Coffee-Berry Borer scientific creativity, new inventions, and new biotech compaThe most advanced project, however, is one dear to the coffee nies. “There is the feeling in both the academic and business farmer Jorge Hernández, who lives 112 miles away in the heart communities that we can use biotechnology to give added value of Columbian coffee country. Hernández’s family has been growto the raw materials of nature, create business opportunities, ing coffee for more than 60 years, and his fields on a steep mounand improve energy and health.” tain slope are carpeted with iridescent coffee bushes. NonetheAtehortúa specialises in growing plant cells in vitro and less, for more than a decade, he and his family have been fighting developing biofuels from micro-organisms. The University of a seemingly hopeless battle against a pernicious black-winged Antioquia supplies the infrastructure, but most of her $1.5 to beetle called the coffee-berry borer, which burrows into coffee beans, lays its eggs there, and destroys them from inside. Hernández throws his hands up in despair when he thinks of the destruction. Despite all efforts to eradicate it using insecticides and bug-killing fungi, the beetle costs him and other Columbian coffee farmers up to 20 per cent of their profits each year and inflicts losses running into hundreds of millions of dollars in dozens of coffee-producing countries where it persists. “God willing, they will destroy this bug,” he says. “It is costing us dear in worry, sweat, and money.” Hernández places his hopes in the university’s sequencing centre and the research it is conducting in collaboration with the country’s National Coffee Grower’s Federation, into the berry borer’s genome. The idea is to identify the genes that

“...we can use biotechnology to... create business opportunities and improve energy and health”

September 2011  EduTech


THE GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE draw the bug to the coffee bean, and then either to develop new resistant varieties of coffee or introduce strains of the insect less aggressive in using the beans as a host. The stakes are high for Columbia. With more than 550,000 growers, the country is the world’s fourth largest coffee producer. For the coffee federation, the collaboration with the highly trained scientists at the University of Antioquia and the access to their genome sequencer is worth every cent of the $90,000 they are paying for the first six months of the study. “Before we had to risk damaging our DNA samples in transport to Russia, Korea, or the States,” said Pablo Benavides, Head of the federation’s Research Team. “Now we can do it here, with people who speak the same language and have the same concerns.” Whether the University of Antioquia can help to find a solution to the plague of the coffee-berry borer, or to the numerous other problems that intrigue and vex the private sector, is an open question. So too is the future of the still nascent biotechnology laboratories at Columbia’s universities.

But the US government, which signed a science-andtechnology cooperation agreement with Columbia in 2010, seems optimistic. It has witnessed the Columbian government’s commitment to investing in applied sciences, especially biotechnology and renewable energy. It has seen the government’s support for universities generally, and it considers the nation to be the “next rising science star and partner for collaboration with the United States” after years of working with countries like Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina, according to Frances Colón, an environment and science adviser at the US State Department. Atehortúa is hopeful as well. “I believe this is the future. I expect my students to generate spinoffs from our work. I expect them to invent new products and build new industries that will create jobs and wealth for our country.” Subscribe to a free weekly electronic newsletter from the Chronicle of Higher Education at

Latin American Nations Push Students Abroad Apart from Brazil, Chile and El Salvador are also planning to offer incentives to their students to study abroad By Andrew Downie


EduTech  September 2011

Opportunity: Latin American countries are offering scholarships to students for studying abroad



he Brazilian government announced this year that it plans to give 75,000 scholarships for local students to study abroad by 2014. But when officials tell students how and where they might apply, some can’t quite get their heads around it. “I can feel that they are thinking, This can’t be for me, it has to be for someone else, maybe for those with PhDs or more advanced degrees,” said Thais Pires, Head of Alumni Advising-Education USA. “They want to know more, but lots of them can’t believe it.” The disbelief is perhaps understandable given the unprecedented scope of the programme, Science Without Borders. But the vast new effort is indicative of a broad trend up and down the region. More Latin American students are going abroad, largely to the United

Global.Chronicle.Com States, to study (although their numbers still lag way behind students from Asia), and governments across the continent are using some of their newfound wealth to increase the numbers further through generous scholarship programmes. In addition to Brazil, nations as diverse as Chile and El Salvador have offered or are planning to offer new incentives to get their students into foreign programmes. “They are all trying to increase dramatically the number of students they send abroad,” said Samir Zaveri, International Operations Director for BMI, a company that organises education fairs in Latin America. “The idea is that they come back with more skills and help the economy and help with its growth, especially in areas where there are shortages.” That is especially clear in Brazil, the biggest country in South America and the world’s seventh largest economy. Brazil is growing fast, but it struggles to find the researchers, engineers, and highly skilled workers to maintain that growth. The 75,000 scholarships offered by the government of President Dilma Rousseff, as well as an additional 25,000 slated to come from the private sector, are exclusive to fields of national interest such as science, technology, and engineering. They will come from the Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (Capes) and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). “Capes will manage 40,000 scholarships, and CNPq will manage 35,000 scholarships,” said Denise Neddermeyer, Director of International Affairs for Capes. The other 25,000 scholarships “will cover areas with an important technological impact, such as engineering, hard science, mathematics, energy, sustainable development, environment, biotechnology, and health”. That focus is shared by governments across the region, large and small. El Salvador, for example, created a vice ministry of science and technology in 2009. The Central American nation provides 35 scholarships a year for students to study abroad, but it is planning to add another 150 to that number over the next three years, said José Marroquin, the Engi-

neer in charge of Becas Fantel, the government’s main scholarship programme. The additional places are for students pursuing subjects important to the country, such as environment and health. Ecuador this month announced its most ambitious scholarship programme yet, with the aim of sending more than 1,000 students abroad, while Colombia will send more people overseas in 2011 than in the 18 previous years put together. And Chile plans to offer 30,000 scholarships by 2018 through a programme called Becas Chile. The $6 bn scheme was started by former President Michelle Bachelet in 2008 and replaced the smaller President of the Republic scholarships. Like in many other national scholarship programmes, those who win Becas

Grants given to Latin American students on Fulbright programmes tripled to $21 mn in 2010, from $7.5 mn in 2000, said Jenny Verdaguer, Branch C h i e f f o r F u l b r i g h t We s t e r n Hemisphere programmes. The leading contributors today are Chile and Brazil, two of the fastest growing countries in the hemisphere. They replace Mexico and Argentina, two nations that underwent harsh economic times during the last decade. Not coincidentally, new programmes are being discussed with Panama, Paraguay, and Peru, economies that grew 7.5, 15.3, and 8.8 per cent respectively in 2010. “I think that the willingness of governments to send students abroad is predicated on their economic resources, and

Grants given to Latin American students on Fulbright programmes tripled to $21 mn in 2010, from $7.5 mn in 2000 Chile scholarships sign a contract agreeing to return home after completing their studies and work for “the good of the country”. Its sheer size has proved a particular boon to less-well-off students. “One new student who just came here is from the south of Chile, and five or six years ago that would have been impossible,” said Cristian Castro, a Chilean student earning a doctorate in history at the University of California at Davis. “The best thing that Michelle Bachelet did was to democratise it. People who never imagined leaving the country can now do so.”

Foreign-Currency Reserves One key factor in making this all possible is that Latin American governments have huge reserves of foreign currency thanks to the worldwide thirst for commodities like copper, iron ore, soy beans, and sugar.

if they have that they can dream large,” Verdaguer said in a telephone interview from Washington. The increased investment in Fulbright programmes “is very much a function of improved economic conditions in the region,” she added. While continued economic growth would thus appear to be a prerequisite for longer-term continuance of the scholarships schemes, there are other obstacles, not least of which is the commitment of Latin governments to actually carry out such grandiose plans. Other issues include how readily their foreign degrees will be accepted at home — Brazilians getting doctorates abroad must go through a lengthy process to validate their qualification — as well as ensuring that students come back and share their knowledge, as stipulated in their contracts. September 2011  EduTech


THE GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE “It is hard to oblige people to pay it back if they don’t want to,” said Ian Whitman, author of an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report on the Becas Chile programme. “They want them to come home but come home to what? Research institutes without a test tube or a microscope? In the case of Chile, we recommended that they use some of their money to improve the infrastructure of their research sector.” Another issue is foreign-language proficiency. More than half of those winning the

first scholarships from the Becas Chile programme needed to take language lessons before going abroad. And Neddermeyer acknowledged that Brazil must invest in tuition because not enough students are fluent in languages other than Portuguese. “It is clear this could be a difficulty in longer term,” she said. “I think we have a group ready right now, but when we extend ourselves, I think we will need to have extensive courses. That can also be negotiated with the foreign universities. Some will offer that as part of their deal.”

For now, the main challenge is spreading the word and ramping up interest with universities and students. It’s not hard once that initial skepticism wears off, said Pires. Especially with such unprecedented numbers at hand.

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European Universities Concerned about Funds The latest wave of economic turmoil could further hinder public financing and alternative revenue streams for varsities By Aisha Labi


s global financial markets gyrate and national economies on both sides of the Atlantic face unfamiliar perils, the potential implications for higher education in Europe are worrying. European higher-education systems remain for the most part publicly financed, and as cash-strapped governments have cut public spending in recent years, universities in several countries have suffered the consequences. This latest wave of economic turmoil could further hinder public financing for universities and alternative revenue streams, including philanthropy, on which many institutions have become increasingly dependent. Stubbornly high unemployment rates in several countries mean that young graduates are less likely than ever to find work, putting further strains on already-stretched social safety networks and pushing colleges to focus more on teaching job skills. And a readiness by young Europeans to take to the streets to protest austerity measures, as in Britain, Spain, and other nations, adds an unpredictable dimension to an already-volatile situation. The European University Association, a Brussels-based organisation that represents higher-education institutions and rectors in 47 countries, has been tracking the global economic crisis and its impact on higher education since 2008. In a report published in June, it said that, although the extent to which different countries have been shaken by the volatility


EduTech  September 2011

varies considerably, “the economic crisis has left few highereducation systems unaffected”. Public money accounts for, on average, 75 per cent of European universities’ income, and such reliance on government financing “means that any change in this funding source can potentially have the highest impact,” the report says. As with previous analyses, the association’s most-recent report emphasises that the impact of the financial turmoil on higher-education systems has varied significantly across Europe. In some countries, including England, Greece, Italy, and Ireland, universities have been subjected to cuts of more than 10 per cent. Greece’s youth-unemployment rate of more than 40 per cent is among Europe’s highest, and its economy has been the focus of concerted European bailout efforts for the past several months. The report calls the situation there “critical,” noting that the Greek student population “has been increasing while the government has been cutting higher-education funding by up to 35 per cent over 2010 and 2011.” International focus has shifted in recent days to the ailing economy in Italy, where universities are facing severe cuts of 14 per cent over the next two years, according to the report. “The situation appears critical as some 25 universities already face a default risk in the near future,” the report says. Each of the countries that has made what the report described as ‘major cuts’ in higher-education spending has faced

Global.Chronicle.Com increasing financial pressure as the summer has progressed, amid fears of economic contagion spreading across Europe and growing speculation about which economies might be next in line for a costly bailout. Governments won’t make decisions about budgets for several months, so exactly how the latest turmoil will hit higher education won’t be known for some time. However, there can be little doubt that universities will eventually feel the impact. France has been a bright spot, singled out by the European University Association for its government’s ambitious stimulus package for higher education. The report noted that “the prospect for 2011 remains positive,” with an additional projected increase of 4.7 bn or $6.7 bn. But with rumours swirling of a potential downgrade of France’s credit rating, following Standard & Poor’s reduction of the US rating, and with the French government seeking ways to trim its public deficit, universities in France could see a change in their fortunes. Despite the uncertainty, some education experts are hopeful that universities will be able to ride out the economic upheaval largely unscathed. “No one enjoys turmoil in the markets, “Joanna Motion, Vice President for International Operations at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, wrote in an email. The organisation helps institutions with their fund raising. “But

France has been a bright spot...for its government’s ambitious stimulus package universities, by definition, are focussed on big issues,” she said. “They’re here for the long haul.” As universities rely more on philanthropic giving to replace public financing, they have reason to remain optimistic that donations will continue to flow in, she said in an email. “University campaigns these days are driven by transformational, high-end gifts. Money of that kind is genuinely global and fluid — and to some extent finds shelter from the storm.” Subscribe to a free weekly electronic newsletter from the Chronicle of Higher Education at


Rooting for Liberal Arts The book talks about the issues confronting higher education today and suggests solutions to restore liberal arts Lowering Higher Education: The Rise Of Corporate Universities And The Fall Of Liberal Education is an in-depth and controversial analysis of the issues confronting higher education today. The book reveals what happens to liberal arts and science education when universities sell them in the form of job training to the students. This book is a follow-up to the authors’ 2007 book, Ivory Tower Blues. It explores the subverted ‘idea of the university’ and the forces that have set adrift the mission of these institutions. It also tells why the universities across the world are not teaching liberal arts and what implications this will have on students, professors and society in the future. With selected examples from around the world and schemes for betterment, the authors have made a breakthrough with Lowering Higher Education. The authors say that the universities are under tremendous pressure to dig up new revenue sources for themselves and often apply business ideas

“It’s the credential of a university degree and not the content that matters” James E Côté

or tie-ups with corporations for this. They advise the universities to look back and see if these steps have led to deterioration in their important academic values. The authors link this corporatisation with the wide array of issues facing higher education: lowered standards, inflated grades and the fall of humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences instruction. According to the authors, this corporate model treats students like customers, who expect services for the fees they pay — good grades for little effort — thereby creating a culture of academic disengagement among the students and the faculty. Besides these, the book also offers potential suggestions to breathe new life into liberal education. Liberal education, the authors say, can be restored by considering the university as a place where politics finds no place; maintaining standards and by doing away with the notion that the university is a place to get job training. According to the authors, if things do not change, most of the colleges and universities will pretend to teach students at a higher level, with students pretending to learn at that level. In reality though, universities will simply provide empty degrees that are little more than expensive ‘fishing licenses’ for the lower-level white-collar jobs and result in a terrifying situation for higher education and society. Author: James E Côté and Anton L Allahar Publisher: University of Toronto Press Price: $24.95

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EduTech  September 2011


gADGETS Tech Insider | Mala Bhargava

New Ways of News When the Apple iPad was first launched in 2010, it promised to revolutionise the ailing news industry. I’m afraid I was among the sceptical as I just didn’t think that format was the only problem that newspapers had. But I was wrong. The iPad has done something magical to reading newspapers and magazines, and although this may not translate into comfortable sums of money in the coffers for news organisations, it has certainly brought up media consumption to never-before levels. You could even say that news reading is one powerful reason to buy an iPad. Every publication worth its salt has a tablet-optimised news app today. With the Times of India app, for example, you can see a clean round up of the day’s stories with a whole strip of mini videos running along the bottom of the screen. With the NDTV news app, you can pick any channel to watch live – as long as you have a good internet connection or 3G. But the real magic is with news apps that make magic out of the way content looks. There are a bunch of news apps, each of them offering you a different nuanced approach to news reading. I have nothing less than 12 of them on my iPad – and I use them all, depending on how I want my news at that particular moment. Flipboard, one of the first apps, to make an appearance and a definer of all subsequent apps, auto-formats news from many sources, including your own Twitter and Facebook feeds, and presents them in a beautiful flappable set of pages. This is wonderful for leisurely reading and feasting on photos. Pulse, also an early app, organises news source-wise, letting you get into each story to read in nice big print, also flappable like a book. News 360 is fantastic for researchers and writers as it gives you news items as covered by the huge number of sources. If I were to describe news apps in one word, it would have to be – revolution.

Mala Bhargava is Editorial Director at 9.9 Media and a technology writer. She is also the author of That’s IT, a regular column on personal computers in Business World.

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September February 2011  EduTech


Perspective Pankaj Jalote

PankajJalote is Director,IIITDelhi & Professor, IITDelhi

Quality Education is Costly


igher education institutions can be broadly divided into two groups – those which are research-led but also provide teaching and those which are teaching-led but also engage in some research. Interestingly, the best institutions for education, particularly for rapidly evolving disciplines, are actually the research-led universities, simply because the best faculty prefers to work in them. For example, the best places for education in areas like science and engineering are the top research-led universities – MIT, CalTech, Berkeley, Illinois, Princeton, Cornell, etc., in US; Cambridge, Oxford, City University in UK: and IITs, IISc, etc., in India. In India, there are about 3,000 teaching-led institutions, as all of our colleges and many of our universities as well, are in this category. We have less than 50 institutions that are genuinely researchled. Clearly, the challenge in higher education today is to build good quality research-led institutions. Unfortunately, in our country there is a lack of appreciation about the costs involved in setting up a research-led institution. This may be due to the large number of teaching-led colleges where the costs are significantly lower. In a research-led institute, about two-thirds of the students are undergraduates (UGs) and the remaining are postgraduates (PGs). The UG students are the primary source of fee revenue, as PhD students and many of the Masters


EduTech  September 2011

students are generally treated as useful resources for the institute and are paid some stipends/fellowships. This pattern holds globally as well as in India. The running cost for an institute can be approximated through the faculty strength. For each faculty member in such an institute we should have a few Masters students and a couple of PhD students, and one to two staff members. Given that the faculty in such institutes, who are doctorates, will necessarily be paid well, the salary bill will translate to over 30 lakh per faculty members per year. Add to this the non-manpower costs for running an institute including travel, maintenance, electricity, etc: the total cost will be around 40 lakh per member per year (assuming there are no major and expensive research facilities). Such an institute can have about 12:1 UG student to faculty ratio. This means that, for running such an institute, the

In almost all the reputed research led private universities in the US, despite high tuition fees, UG education is subsidised

total cost will be about 40 lakh for each 12 UG students. In other words, the fee will translate to around 3.5 lakh per UG student, just for running the institute. Add to it the cost of infrastructure and facilities: the capital cost of building a decent campus with good research facilities is at least 20 lakh per UG student – this includes hostels, classrooms, labs, recreation facilities, etc., as well as R&D spaces, faculty offices, cubicles for PG students, and accommodation. If this capital is to be recovered from the UG fees, then it will add approx 2 lakh per year per student. This estimate is excluding the cost of land, which when added would escalate the total cost. In almost all the reputed research-led private universities in the US (e.g. MIT, Cornell, Princeton), despite high tuition fees (of the order of $30,000 per year) UG education is subsidised. They provide these subsidies, which can be to the tune of $20,000 per student per year, through their endowments, government grants, and other resources. Quality education provided by reputed research-led institutions will be expensive. And, we need many such institutions. A key challenge is to find viable methods of subsidy and strike a balance with fees, so that such institutions can be created and sustained. (The views are personal.) To read an extended version of this article, please log on to

Subhojit Paul

Establishing a research-led institution is expensive and leads to a high fee structure. But India needs more of them. Perhaps, subsidies can do the trick?



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