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India – Globalization in education sector, Road to success?

, October 4, 2013, 0 Comments

India education sector

Globalization of Indian Education Sector, its impact on the quality of education and its pros & cons on the education system.

During Independence of India, there were close to 19 universities and 591 colleges with around 0.2 million enrollment. Today the no. has changed drastically with 261 universities, over 8,361 colleges and over 8.5 million enrollments. The growth story has been absolutely significant. India claims to have second largest higher education system in the world, however, in view of its vast population (close to 17 per cent of the world’s population) India will be one of the backward countries in respect of education, especially higher education.

Looking back during the British rule in India, we find access to school and university education was restricted. On the other hand, the university system inherited from Britisher’s is currently undergoing phase of rapid diversification and expansion. Reservation system is promoted in the country to advance the education of castes and tribes which were traditionally excluded from education. During the time of British rule, technical education was not imparted in India and Britisher’s were indifferent to industrialization in India, however currently to support the country’s planned economic development through industrialization technical education is no promoted across the Indian Universities.

Also in addition to several universities several specialized national-level centers of excellence have been established to provide training in engineering, technology, management, medicine, law and several other fields. Not only this, currently several governmental backed bodies have been set up to monitor the development of education in the country and to check the education standard.

Currently the government’s share accounts for over 90 per cent of the total expenditure in education which is 4000 bps up from expenditure during British rule. It was expected that the increase will provide ample access to education and will the meet the needs of development of manpower. It was also expected that the country will remain in the forefront as far as knowledge is concerned.

Let us now look at the expectations in detail:

Only a few thousand were privileged to receive education during the British era in India. However today with 250 universities over 8.5 million students are fortunate enough to get education. However, when compared to the huge population it is barely 6-7 percent.

The figure is significantly low when compared to the countries of North America (60 to 70 percent) and Europe (40 to 60 percent). Despite massive addition of universities and enrollment of students, the percentage of population having access to education is significantly low which is a cause for concern.

Demand for education kept mounting in the country but it was seen that instead of increasing expenditure on higher education by government a decline was recorded. The share of higher education in union budget declined from almost one third in 1990-91 to 18 per cent in 2005. Also privatization as a fear was accepted thinking it will lead to commercialization of one of the important service in the country.

Well, the fact is true to some extent but going by the fact that the government’s role in development of the sector started deteriorating, private institutions started flourishing. Lobbying in this situation helped the private players get recognition. This resulted in significant globalization in the industry. Also with advent of internet and increasing penetration of IT, courses from North American, European, and Australian universities are provided through websites. Format of distance education programs or conventional instruction gained importance.

Globalization of Education Services
Globally the higher education was valued at USD 27 billion during 1990s with countries like US, France, UK etc being the major exporters and countries like China, India, Taiwan being the importers. Some of the following evidence are sufficient enough to back the globalization of the sector.

1. Increasing number of students going abroad for study
2. Exchange programs among faculties and researchers
3. Increased international marketing of academic curriculum
4. Establishment of branch campuses
5. India is both importer & exporter of higher education services.

The perils of Globalization
Following points very well support the adverse impact of globalization on higher education:

1. Increasing interest of parents to get their children admitted to foreign educational institutions
2. Over Rs 1 lakh crore is the estimated foreign exchange spent on education abroad.
3. Lead to the creation of bias among graduates

• Education from foreign universities
• Education from costly private domestic institutions
• Education from government funded institutions (mainly applicable to economically weaker sections)

Globalization may lead to conversion from social service into a private service aimed at money making. Foreign educational institutions are expected to provide severe competition to Indian institutions with their world class infrastructure, financial resources, staff, reputation etc.

Rationale behind Allowing Foreign Education Institutions in India
As mentioned previously that foreign exchange will be needed to support the expense to study in foreign universities. However, it can be seen that rather than abroad consumption, education in the offshore campus of foreign universities will be economical and will also lead to higher volume in terms of registrations. Also the gap between the content and style of curriculum will be bridged if the quality education is received from home country. FDI will be a major point of focus as far as economic growth is concerned.