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How India could become a global higher education hub

The five strategic pillars for building world-class Indian higher education

Achieving the goals set out in the Vision 2047 five-year plans will require strategic reform and infrastructural development in five key areas of India’s HE ecosystem: student-centricity, research and innovation, educators, international mobility and digital learning.

Student Orientation: The policy would aim to provide an education system that serves all students, regardless of age, gender, passion, interests, strengths and weaknesses, in an individualized manner, while being accessible to all. Many factors have contributed to this powerful need for student-centeredness. According to an India Skills Gap report, 52% of India’s youth are unemployed, a large number of unused reserved seats remain unfilled, $17 billion in potential income is lost due to students going abroad to study and more than 50% of the higher education institutions in India remain unaccredited. The NEP 2020 targets meet the above challenges to make students of Indian higher education institutions truly skilled and skilled.

Research and innovation: Currently, India’s spending on research and innovation is significantly lower compared to other major economies such as the US and China. Overcoming this hurdle and making higher education research-intensive requires an immediate focus on R&D funding, the introduction of research-intensive education and partnerships with industry to deliver research services.

Faculty: Due to the lower faculty strength, a student-teacher ratio of 28:1 in Indian higher education is relatively high compared to other major economies. Meeting this challenge requires making faculty positions attractive and a core focus on improving faculty output, productivity and performance. The Indian HO ecosystem should also strive to become a global exporter of qualified faculty to highly regarded HO institutes.

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International Mobility: Improving the intake of international students and building a world-class HE ecosystem is a core focus area for NEP 2020. Indian higher education institutions should focus on improving their international footprint, while policy makers can focus on liberalizing HE landscapes to attract international investors and universities in India. The Indian HO ecosystem should also aim for 30 to 40 positions in the global top 200 university rankings.

Digital learning: Digital learning is an indispensable part of higher education and the online education and ed-tech market remains one of the most promising in the global education landscape. However, 30 to 40% of people in India have no computer literacy, internet penetration is less than 50% and there is a distinct lack of digital resources for students with only 17% of students accessing online classes through laptops. The government’s focus in the coming period will therefore be on the digitization of higher education institutions and the use of new technology tools.

Transforming India’s higher education ecosystem

Over the past two decades, the RES ecosystem has undergone massive reforms and significant growth; however, much of its potential remains unfulfilled. The NEP 2020 is a progressive and visionary policy for building a sustainable and long-lasting higher education ecosystem in India. Adaptive policy implementation has the potential to not only propel India’s education ecosystem in the right direction, but to radically transform it.



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