An analysis of prolific And unplanned expansion of higher education in India


Bhupal Bhattacharya

Lecturer of Law,

& Basudeb Bhattacharya

Research Scholar, Tripura University


Higher Education is a solution to enhanceIndia’s competitiveness in the global market especially for interdependence and integration and for survival of Indian economy in the world overcoming challenges through maintaining international quality in higher education and acceptability and sustainability.

The word governance, involves relations between the formal institutions and those in civil society whereby with the wield power, authority and influence policies are enacted and decisions concerning public life and social up-liftment are taken[1].

The meaning of Quality Assurance varies depending upon the field of activities. The dictionary meaning of the word Quality implies an ongoing process of building and sustaining relationships by assessing, anticipating, and fulfilling stated and implied needs[2].

The chief need of the countries worldwide of the present time is to have a Quality in Higher Education. Due to gradual expansion of Higher Education Industry and also for globalization, education has become a national concern as to cope internationally. To survive globally a nation has to ensure primarily by giving quality of Higher Education in an internationally acceptable standard. But this is still a constraint to the nations to develop with a good pace with a limited resource and unplanned resolution. The key role in determining the quality depends upon the nation’s wealth and the effective decisions of a university as to regulate a good academic system.

To govern Higher Education Industry with quality, accreditation is compulsory for all universities.  Accreditation is not needed for universities inIndiawhich are created through an Act of Parliament. The University Grants Commission Act (1956) emphasized that the institutions which do not obtain accreditation shall be declared as fake institutions and shall have no legal entity to call themselves as University/Vishwvidyalaya and to award ‘degrees’ and also shall not be treated as valid for academic/employment purposes.

India’s education system is divided into different levels such as pre-primary level, primary level, elementary education, secondary education, undergraduate level and postgraduate level. InIndia, education falls under the direct power of both the Union Government and the states, where some responsibilities lies with theUnionand the states having independence for others. The various Articles of the Indian Constitution provide for education as a fundamental right.

With spontaneous mushrooming growth of small, private higher education institutions in India, the government or regulatory authorities are also consequently lacking towards taking logical and reasonable steps for regulation of the sector to provide quality of higher education. Pawan Agarwal explains that , “simply leaving the demand and supply factors to the market will not necessarily deliver outcomes for higher education that represent the best use of resources or that are just and socially optimal” (Agarwal p. 306)[3].

HighlightingIndia’s trends and policy decisions it is evident that public spending on higher education is estimated at 1% of Gross Domestic Product, which is far less in absolute terms to cover the existing needs for a developing country and in actual terms can be found as partially unplanned.

One of the reasons for being poor state of affairs may be attributed because of concentration of educational institutes in the urban areas without giving focus to the reality which depicts that majority of population live in rural areas. From this fact it is evident that in India only as 20% as negligible ratio as of Higher Education Institutes are to be found in the rural areas with more than 65 percent of its population while the other remaining 80 % of Institutions are located in urban or Semi-urban areas which comprises only by 30 to 35 percent of population. A study shows that in 2003- 20044 the Gross Enrollment Ratio for rural and urban area was 7.76% and 27.20% respectively which depicts about the prevailing disparities that urban area have developed four times in comparison to rural area. Thus unplanned investment of 1% of Gross Domestic Product of India on higher education also returns a small and thus invariably reflects gross disparities in access to higher education in India[4].

Presently, the recommended numbers of teachers as a minimum prescribed by regulatory authorities are not closely followed to. Transparent Recruitment policies of teachers are also not adhered in most of the institutions. Criteria for recruiting teachers even also in government sector are also not uniformly observed by all institutions. Private institutions often neglect the standard procedure of recruitment, like advertising the vacant post, constituting a proper selection committee, standard procedure of fixation of pay, ensuring the minimum teaching experience required for a higher post etc. Private institutions are often hiring the teachers using fraudulent  many teachers certificates are often kept deposited in the institutions and were asked to appear before the inspection authority only and when were told. They are also not required to come regularly to the institution throughout the remaining period of the year, and in return, they are often paid a consolidated salary, which is obviously a compromised amount. Unfortunately, this continuing practice which is in increase through out the territory fetches greater profit to the management of the institutes. This is true what we are evidencing in many private medical colleges regulated by Medical Council of India (MCI).

Because of the delay in the proposed bill of ‘Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions And Universities Bill, 2010’ and ‘Educational Tribunals Bill, 2010’ there is continuously increase in the disparities in the Higher Education sector which would have been hopefully addressed if properly all Bills were passed in Parliament in right time. Proper mechanism’s absence and a motivation to achieve higher standards so far have been drawing problems consistently lacking among most of the institutions. If this proposed mechanism comes into force, a healthy competition could have been expected among the institutions offering higher education. This would also have served as a guideline for the aspiring students while deciding their choices regarding the institutions[5].

Because of the absence of strict regulations and governance, private colleges are paying poor salaries even also to their regular teachers in comparison to the ones paid in government institutions.  Even in the government institutions, salaries vary from one state to another. Exercising of autonomy power of the university has also forced the Higher Education Industry to develop a disparity among all the Universities. Regulatory Authorities of Higher Education are busy in their own paper work and in turn not getting proper attention to the problems of exploitation, which are a very common phenomenon in this country. Government does not have any regulatory body that monitors and ensures a respectable minimum salary to the teachers.

Only providing affiliation to the colleges and allowing private organizations to enter into the field of education industry does not provide to attain the desired result. In most of the institutions and colleges, no uniform mechanism exists to ensure consistent career advancement for the teachers. This trend has resulted and developed an attitude of disinclination among the professionals that de-motivates them from entering into the teaching profession.

 A comparative study between UK with India relating to Higher Education shows that in 2003 around 1.5 million were enrolled (UK citizens) in institutions of higher education and were guided and taught by 119,900 teachers. In view of the work entrusted to every teacher depicts that each full-time staff member in the UK is handling just 13 students; and in contrast, the figure in India for every regular teacher is 220 students[6].

 Enrolment in Higher Education by regions 2001-2 ( in %)

Groups of Countries Gross Enrolment Ratio
Developed Countries 54.6
Countries in Transition 36.5
Developing Countries 11.3
World 23.2
India (About) 13%


Source –Higher Education in the World


                        Current Quality Status in Colleges of Higher Education in India

                                                          (As on March 31, 2005)

Details                                                                                                 Number
Total Number of Colleges 17,625
Number of under UGC purview 14,000
Number of Colleges recognized under Section 2(f) of UGC Act 5,589 (40%)
Number of Colleges recognized under Section 12(B) of UGC Act 5,273 (38%)
Number of Colleges actually funded by the UGC 4,870 (35%)
Number of Colleges accredited by the NAAC 2,780 (20%)
Number of Colleges accredited by the NAAC and scoring above 60% 2,506(17.9)

Source: [7]

Enrolment Ratio can measure the total numbers of students who have enrolled in the Higher Education Sector. 110 lakh students were estimated to have enrolled in the Indian higher education system in 2005-06. The growth in Indiafor enrolment in Higher Education is very uneven and slow. For instance, while the enrolment grew by 6.7 per cent in 2001-2002, in 2005-06 it grew by 5.2 per cent. The student-teacher ratio works out to 18 in the university departments and colleges and 23 in the affiliated colleges. In total there are about 550 million people of India’s total population who are under the age of 25 years; and amongst which as meager as only 11% are enrolled in tertiary institutions compared to the world average of 23%.  Indiais presently experiencing a paradox of nearly 90 million people joining the workforce mostly with lack of requisite skills for productive employment according to a report in DNA[8].

In recent past, due to the enormous increase in the demand for higher education throughout the country because of awareness about the significance of higher education, the scenario of Education system could not accommodate the increasing demand. The concept of distance education through distance mode inIndia, started offering education through distance mode in the name of Correspondence Courses. Finding the situation more suitable, a number of institutions even other institutions, which are not empowered to award degrees, have started cashing by offering distance education programmes in a large number of disciplines. That consequently offered substandard/poor quality of Higher Education, and as a result the value of the degree has eroded.

The Higher Education system inIndiasuffers from a lack of continuous assessment and active learning. The teachers basing upon the prescribed syllabus prescribed by the university teach subjects. There is growing trend amongst the teachers and students to focus and study only on the views of examinations as to score good marks. In the words of Krishna Kumar (well-known educationist) that teachers and students are responding through adopting strategies of rote memorization and by concentrating on exam success.

InIndia, there are roughly 400 universities, which is not enough for a country of a more than 110 crores people to serve. Presently 8 percent of our eligible children are getting the opportunity to enter in the higher education and that number ought to be closer to 16 or 20 percent. Because of the absence of requisite number of institutions and consequent huge demand for Higher Education which is obvious to a nation of million of people close to 1,00,000 Indian students go abroad and pay $30,000 a year for tuition purpose.

For lack of proper funding with quality and quantity of teachers is affecting the enrolment of students in higher education in India. A recent report published by The Ernst & Young-EDGE 2008 on Globalizing of Higher Education in Indiafound low levels of funding of higher education in Indiacompared with other developing nations such as China, Braziland Russia, reports Zee News. The Gross Enrollment Ratio is 11% in Indiaagainst an average of 31.5% in Brazil, Russiaand China. The Gross Enrollment Ratio in developed countries is 71.6%. Indiaspends as a meagre of 0.37% of GDP on higher education, against Brazil’s 0.91%, Russia’s 0.67% and China’s 0.5%. The report has also stated that the student-teacher ratio in India is very pathetic- one teacher is allotted for every 26 students compared with 13.6 to one in Brazil, 11 to one in Russia and 13.5 to one in China[9]. The pathetic condition of India’s Higher Education system also depicts that Only 1 out of every 14,000 go for higher learning i.e., Tertiary Education[10].

 The government of India through its organ UGC has taken an innovative step by introducing the programme called Promotion of Indian Higher Education Abroad. This promotional programme aims to highlight the opportunities and prospects the Indian Higher Education sector offers to the world. Actually, through thyis particular programme the Government of India intends to have more foreign students in India and that is why the facilities provided by the educational institutions are brought to the notice of the students residing all over the world by organizing different programmes abroad. For this purpose UGC has selected some universities from all over India. It is also a step towards ensuring quality education in India. But it is doubtful how much this programme is successful in attracting foreign students to Indian educational Institutions. Few private organizations have attracted foreign students and through exchange programmes few Indian Universities have been enabled to enroll foreign students. But admission through private programme is not upto expectation of the Government of India.

It is often claimed that India lags with respect to training of the teachers who are going to teach in different Institutions. Through the National Council for Teachers’ Education, the Government of India is trying to ensure the fact that only trained faculty members are recruited by the educational Institutions. But as NCTE is a central organization, many states often do violate the directions given by NCTE and Educational Institutions do recruit teachers who are under trained. In India different Institutions have cropped up promising to produce better quality teachers but those teachers undergoing training there lack basic skills needed for teaching and they also are not conversant with modern teaching tools like projectors, laptop. These teachers should be made conversant with new technologies so that they can face the upcoming challenges the educational Institutions are going to face in near future. In this respect, we can learn from different other countries like USA where it is taken care of that the students get the best from their teachers. In advanced countries like USA the teachers do recognize the efficacy of visual effects when teaching. So They use modern technologies and their curriculum is arranged in such a fashion that they evoke the interest of the student in the subject and the students are better informed.


So it is desirable that within limited resource that we have in India the Government of India should introduce different technologies within classrooms and should train and recruit teachers having ability to make the classroom experience enjoyable to the students.

Thus in conclusion we can come to the view that Higher Education in India is in shambles and needs immediate correction. The government of India is taking different initiatives but those initiatives are proving to be a drop in an ocean. After 1991, the phenomenon of globalization has had a tremendous effect on our civil and political system, macro and micro economy of the country and at the same time on our educational system too. In the last two decades, thousands of educational Institutions have mushroomed all over India and it is pity full that they are encouraging stereo typed and market driven education in India. Presently India does produce more than 2 Lakhs engineers in a year but half of them may not be employable. If quality of educational Institutions can be maintained than quality students may be expected from those Institutions. It is an alarming fact that the Central Government is mulling the option to open 5the Indian Higher Education Sector for the foreign Universities already few of them have opened their ‘shops’ herein India and they intend to sell degrees to the India students. This type of perverted education from foreign shores or educational shops from India should be checked otherwise students would be duped by those Institutions. The opportunity of going to different educational institutions has grown over the years but that opportunity is creating social tension as students are not getting proper employment. Thus India should rethink on its adopted policies for Higher Education and should chalk out fresh policies keeping in mind the earlier experiences and the experiences of the developed countries. If we do not correct our educational system with urgency then the total system may collapse. The government of India and the State Government should invest more in education sector especially in Higher Education and should not leave Higher Education at the mercy of Private Educational Institutions. And for this reason, Higher Education Industry should be developed in such a way so that increase in productivity, together with  national integration, keeping due pace to cultural, social, moral and spiritual values could be made possible and also by giving equal opportunities to all sectors to access Higher Education.