Post covid devastation strategic role for Higher Education for Techno-Economic Growth for Global Reincarnation through Smart and Secured Governance

University Grants Commission (UGC) and other apex education bodies also issued COVID-19 specific guidelines for Indian higher education institutions (HEIs) resulting in temporarily closing, students being asked to go home, and efforts being undertaken to move classes online.

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Post covid devastation strategic role for Higher Education for Techno Economic Growth for Global Reincarnation through Smart and Secured Governance

The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in India going into an unprecedented nationwide lockdown in the months of March and April 2020. The effect of the pandemic is being felt across all aspects of the economy with GDP growth falling to as low as 2.5% in the calendar year. The Indian government has responded to this by providing several guidelines including restricting the movement of people and social distancing.

University Grants Commission (UGC) and other apex education bodies also issued COVID-19 specific guidelines for Indian higher education institutions (HEIs) resulting in temporarily closing, students being asked to go home, and efforts being undertaken to move classes online. These measures will have varying degrees of impact on ~3.75 crore students enrolled in and ~14 lakh faculty employed by the system.

Higher education leaders are also concerned that an extended lockdown due to the pandemic could have a deeper impact on the sector, as COVID-19 has disrupted the admissions cycle and might have an effect on enrolments; creating a cash flow crunch, slowing down research and consulting activities.

This year, close to 1.44 crore students are appearing for their school-leaving exams, and close to 50 lakhs of these students will be looking to enroll in a higher education institution in this academic session.

Institutions planning for their admissions cycle will need to muster their limited resources, have an agile response plan to COVID-19, and build resilience to minimize the impact on their enrolments, diversity of students, and revenues.

Today’s rapidly growing economies depend on the creation, acquisition, distribution, and use of knowledge and this requires a well-educated and highly skilled population. The various report says that India has the potential to become the second-largest economy in the world by 2050 in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms (third in Market Exchange Rate (MER) terms), although this requires a sustained developmental program in the existing educational system. Education plays a key articulating role between nation and economic growth. No country can achieve sustainable economic development without substantial investment in human capital. Education enriches people’s understanding of themselves and the world. It improves the quality of their lives and leads to broad social benefits to individuals and society. Indeed, investing in education helps to achieve a sustainable economic growth of a nation.

Generally, funding of education mainly comes from the government, with a smaller role for non-educational private sources (including for example households, enterprises, non-profit organizations, and religious institutions) and generally an even smaller role for international organizations.

But education budgets are limited, especially in times of economic downswing. The government spends on education per student for top 10 countries are given in the table. In India, the total public expenditure per year on each student in a government school could range from INR12,000 (US$160, US$ = INR 75.00) per student at the elementary level to INR16,000 (US$213.33, US$ = INR 75.00) at the secondary and higher secondary level. Although the budgetary allocation to the education sector rises every year, it is still inadequate for ensuring quality education. It is because a large portion of the education budget is spent on non-developmental purposes. Besides, the ministry had to pay salaries, allowances, and pensions to its officials and carry out repair and maintenance works. This economic burden is widening the gap between innovative education and skills development to meet the skilled manpower demand in India.

Post covid devastation strategic role for Higher Education for Techno Economic Growth for Global Reincarnation through Smart and Secured GovernanceHigher Education at a Glance

  • There are 1,043 Universities, 42,343 Colleges, and 11,779 Stand Alone Institutions listed on the AISHE web portal;
  • 396 Universities are privately managed. 420 Universities are located in the rural area;
  • 17 Universities are exclusively for women;
  • There are 522 General, 177 Technical, 63 Agriculture & Allied, 66 Medical, 23 Law, 12 Sanskrit, and 11 Language Universities and rest 145 Universities are of other categories;
  • College density, i.e. the number of colleges per lakh eligible population (population in the age-group 18-23 years) varies from 7 in Bihar to 59 in Karnataka as compared to All India average of 30;
Type of University Number of Universities
Central University 48
Central Open University 01
Institution of National Importance 135
State Public University 386
Institution Under State Legislature Act 05
State Open University 14
State Private University 327
State Private Open University 01
Deemed University- Government 36
Deemed University- Government Aided 10
Deemed University- Private 80
Grand Total 1,043
  • 56% Colleges are in Rural Area. 10.75% Colleges are exclusively for Female;
  • Only 7% Colleges run Ph.D. programme and 35.04% Colleges run Post Graduate Level programmes;
  • 6% of the Colleges are having enrolment less than 100 and only 4% Colleges have enrolment more than 3,000;
  • Total enrolment in higher education has been estimated to be 5 million with 19.6 million male and 18.9 million female.
  • About 5% of the students are enrolled in Undergraduate level programme. 202,550 students are enrolled in Ph.D. that is less than 0.5% of the total student enrolment.
  • The total number of foreign students enrolled in higher education is 49,348 come from 164 different countries from across the globe.
  • The top 10 countries constitute 9% of the total foreign students enrolled.
  • Highest share of foreign students come from the neighbouring countries of which Nepal is 1% of the total, followed by, Afghanistan (9.1%), Bangladesh (4.6%), Bhutan constitutes (3.8%) and Sudan (3.6%),
  • There are more than 6% colleges running in Private sector; aided and unaided taken together, but it caters to only 66.3% of the total enrolment.
  • The total numbers of teachers are 503 million, out of which about 57.5% are male teachers and 42.5% are female teachers.
  • 38,986 students were awarded Ph.D. level degree during 2019.

Post covid devastation strategic role for Higher Education for Techno Economic Growth for Global Reincarnation through Smart and Secured GovernanceBudget allocations for the MHRD (2020-21) (in INR. crore)

Department Actuals

2018-19

RE

2019-20

BE

2020-21

% change

(RE to BE)

School Education & Literacy 48,441 56,537 59,845 5.9%
Higher Education 31,904 38,317 39,467 3.0%
Total 80,345 94,854 99,312 4.7%

Expenditure on education by the centre and the states as a proportion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been around 3% between 2014-15 to 2018-19. Out of this figure, roughly 1% is spent on higher education in India.

International comparison of GER in higher education (in %)

Post covid devastation strategic role for Higher Education for Techno Economic Growth for Global Reincarnation through Smart and Secured GovernanceImpact of COVID – 19 on Higher Education

The COVID-19 scare is giving sleepless nights to students who were to appear in entrance exams like JEE for B. Tech. admissions and/ or to class 12 students appearing for Board exams. KCET, GUJCET & MHT CET (supposed to be conducted in April) were postponed by few months. CBSE has also postponed its exams. It is not incorrect to assume that we will soon see many other organisations follow suit and a whole lot of entrance exams in India be further postponed due to Coronavirus. Looking at the state of affairs, it is a matter of concern what the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) will have on the higher education system in India.

The rate at which Coronavirus has spread to different regions in India has forced the central and state governments to shut down educational institutions and schools as a precautionary measure resulting in the disruption of studies. This problem is prevalent everywhere. In a well-thought-through move by almost 10 US organizations to the Federal Government, they said, “While closing campuses or moving entirely to remote instruction have been necessary steps in slowing the spread of the virus among students and staff, these shifts have caused massive disruption to students, institutional operations and institutional finances”. The “substantial” financial impacts on colleges and universities will ripple through local communities, the group said, given the wide economic role higher education plays in much of the country.” Similarly, in India, unless contingency measures are undertaken, students looking for admissions could face hard times.

While academic experts are pushing for online models of education even beyond pandemic – be it classroom teaching or tutorials, we are yet to see how effectively a nation that primarily relies on an offline mode of teaching can seamlessly transgress to an online medium of teaching and education. So, the question is, will the Coronavirus Pandemic result in a new solution for education and innovation?

Given the digital gap in India, how successful will the digital education model be in a country like ours? Will India be able to embrace learning anywhere, anytime? Will it lead to innovation in the field of education? Or will it fall flat on the face for the lack of a more agile infrastructural setup?

Impact of Covid-19 in the Indian Education Setup

The conventional Indian education system follows face-to-face or physical teaching, even though the trend of audio-visual aids in classrooms was introduced a decade ago. Renowned universities in India such as the University of Delhi are offering online classes to their students already. But many higher education institutes in India are not equipped with such facilities. In the event of such a gap, some students might face the brunt brutally.

Are Indian Colleges/ Education System Equipped to Handle the Change?

In a survey by Times Higher Education in 2018, the leaders of well-known global universities were of the opinion that online teaching could never match with physical room teaching. When we talk about how equipped Indian Higher Education System is to handle the change, we need to keep in mind that the digital shift in India is relatively new. This is not only true for India but for Asia as well. One may be amazed to know that the first Asian Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) was developed by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in the year 2012 only.

Indian Colleges will need time to handle the change and be open to the new methods as the approach of the education system here is a lecture-based approach to teaching. Digital teaching is more evident in schools and the school students/ teachers/parents are more comfortable with this approach when compared to higher education set-up in India. In the event of COVID-19, online teaching has become a necessity, for not only colleges in India but worldwide to look for innovative solutions in a short period of time and to always have a Plan-B in place.

Will the 2020-2021 Academic Years Suffer?

With board exams, university exams, college exams, the entrance test being postponed, it is a big challenge for colleges to complete their syllabus on time without compromising on the education quality. From delay in board exams to college being shutdown to delay in national level entrance tests, it is the academic year of the students that is compromised. As already discussed, JEE Main which is the ticket to engineering education in India has already been postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak &willhad led to a delay in the start of academic sessions for most of the engineering colleges, and most of the other colleges have witnessed a delay as well.

2020 Admissions amidst COVID-19 in India

A large chunk of India’s admission system is fractured and most of the students in India rely on the offline process for admissions. It is a known fact that most people in the country do not have access to high-speed Wi-Fi and most of the students in small cities/towns/ villages prefer the offline admission process.

While it is a still grey area, platforms like ours have provisions to facilitate remote applications to colleges in India for their UG & PG. A platform called the Common Application Form or CAF, wherein students can fill up a single application form to apply to more than 250+ colleges in India at one go!

Global Measures to Cope with COVID-19 in Education

In a country like China that practices a much more centralized education system, a switch to digital learning could be easier. Whereas, even in a country like the U.S.A, where there are many low-income students who do not have access to broadband and laptops, digital learning might not be the ideal solution. The same is the case with India. Not every student here is tech-savvy or has access to the high-speed internet and will therefore suffer. When classes commenced online, many students suffered because of their inability to bear the cost. Unless India makes internet available to all, there are chances that the gap in education quality may widen.

Given that the traditional focus has been on offline centers of education, we believe a mix of online and offline is what will work in the coming years, which then hopefully be converted into a permanent mode of education. COVID-19 has impacted higher education in India but what it has taught us is to build resilience to face such threats in the future. The outbreak of Coronavirus has reminded us that one should be prepared to handle unexpected situations.

In the wake of the lockdown to prevent COVID-19 pandemic from community spread, everything including schools are closed. In fact, they closed a week before the lockdown. Adopting novel ways to continue with the learning process, schools are using technology to the optimum to keep the students engaged at home so they may learn constructive things.

Secured Governance for Education

The task of providing better educational facilities to support the goal of providing universal access to education is very great. The approaches required to make sustainable progress are increasingly clear, but implementation challenges remain considerable. The government needs to develop a holistic and long-term strategy for operating and maintaining their physical assets that may represent as a tool to meet maximum operational cost, increase utility and increase lifetime value.

The Secured Governance Strategic Infrastructure design has been providing a roadmap to steer governments and private operators to comprehensive framework and actionable best practice that help to reduce the maintenance cost of physical assets. Mostly educational institutes are situated in the affluent and ideal areas of the nation. As we know the development of social and economic infrastructures like schools and hospitals are all essential to create places where people want to live and can reach their full potential. One may observe that certain type of public infrastructure such as schools, colleges and universities are capturing some of the additional value as it heightens the adjacent property value. Those who operate a business near the educational institutes, potentially benefit from the flow of people approaching or leaving the schools and institutes. The concept suggests that if government provides additional FSI to those institutes it can generate enough revenue through the school-based commercial activities in their premises. But it is important that these activities should be relevant and add educational value to teaching and learning. They should not interfere with the educational system at any cost. Given that the concept of school based commercial involvement in education, particularly in non-vocational ways, is a relatively new area of policy making for governments, the evidence base is still being developed. It is gradually being built up as education, commercial activities, community groups and governments increasingly recognise the benefits that can come from collaborative approaches to improving educational outcomes.

Education Governance for Global Leadership

Post covid devastation strategic role for Higher Education for Techno Economic Growth for Global Reincarnation through Smart and Secured GovernanceThrough the Secured Governance concept one can do a lot better to utilize our existing public infrastructure. Secured Governance proposes a model where the extra FSI given to the Educational Institutions, would be utilized by worthy entrepreneurs through a transparent system of selection. It is worth keeping in mind that upgrading existing infrastructure will have a comparable, or even better, return on investment than building new capacity.

Secured governance for Education has major characteristics like participation, rule of law, transparency, and responsiveness, at each stage of its operations and in developing a robust education system in the country with improved resource allocation and enhanced governance.

Self–Sustaining Model for Educational Institutes

  • Utilizing the maximum FSI benefit in institutes could help to bring several allied ventures/institutions in the existing infrastructure by private parties. Allowing the FSI area to be used for educational & allied activities to generate extra revenue, it would bring sustainable funds for the further growth and development of the institution;
  • It will help to provide avenues for drawing upon the knowledge and expertise of the alumni for furthering the cause of a School to Excellence. It will
  • Encourage games, sports, yoga, etc., and national and international games by organizing tournaments and competitions at different levels;
  • Provide advance training for international placement at premium cost and continuous revenue from the beneficiaries;
  • Work for promotion and dissemination of useful knowledge and advancement to develop entrepreneurship and incubation centres for student and staff;
  • Provide career networking for current students those who need guidance;
  • Create a fund-raising event for helping students to further their educational goals.

Education HUB

Education HUB planned to use Secured Governance growth model will benefit students, attract foreign investment, retain local students, build a regional reputation by providing access to high-quality education and training for both international and domestic student, and create a knowledge-based economy. An education hub can include different combinations of domestic/international institutions, branch campuses, and foreign partnerships, within the hub. When education thrives, higher productivity and faster economic growth become a norm. Investment in education under Secured Governance methodology will give a big boost to the Indian economy.

Secured governance for Education has major characteristics like participation, rule of law, transparency, and responsiveness at each stage of its operations and in developing a robust education system in the country. With improved resource allocation, enhanced governance, interdependency among sectors, and transparency in the system going hand in hand with development and effective use of Information Technology and Innovation can deliver a safer, cleaner, and more accountable delivery of self-sustaining Education infrastructure and services. A secured governance will establish a vibrant institutional framework in the educational system. India could capture a greater global opportunity in technology and other knowledge-intensive fields.


By,
Dr. P. Sekhar,
Chairman,
Dr. P. Sekhar the policy times
Unleashing India Global Smart City Panel & MTGF


By,
Prof Raghunath Shevgaonkar,
Prof Raghunath Shevgaonkar
Eminent Educationist, Former VC,
Pune University,
Ex-Director IIT D,
Prof Emirates IIT B.


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Post covid devastation strategic role for Higher Education for Techno-Economic Growth for Global Reincarnation through Smart and Secured Governance
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University Grants Commission (UGC) and other apex education bodies also issued COVID-19 specific guidelines for Indian higher education institutions (HEIs) resulting in temporarily closing, students being asked to go home, and efforts being undertaken to move classes online.
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THE POLICY TIMES
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