Point #1: Higher education system is the nerve center of a society and nation.

Higher education system, which is all post-secondary education, is the nerve center for any society or nation. A vibrant higher education system:

 

  1. Prepares professionals for all sectors and industries, including teachers for schools and faculty members for colleges and universities,

  2. Solves problems that matter to the society and nation, and

  3. Spurs the research, innovation, and start-up ecosystem.

We live in a world that is increasingly being disrupted by technology and business innovation. Being prepared for a hyper competitive and rapidly changing world is the only certain path for individuals to lead a fulfilling life and have a productive career. 

Sources and additional references:   

What can Andhra Pradesh learn from California, a trailblazer in knowledge economy (Shail Kumar)

What India can learn from Stanford, the catalyst for Silicon Valley's success (Shail Kumar)

Building Golden India: How to unleash India's vast potential and transform its higher education system. Now. (Author: Shail Kumar. The book includes a foreword by Desh Deshpande.)

Point #2: India's higher education system is in crisis.

India’s population of 1.3 billion people is approximately 1/6th of the global humanity.  And, about 50% are below the age of 25 years (Census 2011). Further, there are 20-26 million children born in India every year. As a reference, Australia’s population is approximately 24 million.  

 

Thus, in the next 35-50 years, India has to prepare and educate 700 million to 1.3 billion young men and women for their lives and careers. This is India’s defining challenge and opportunity of the 21st century!​

India must also address its mega challenges—problems that affect over 100 million people each—such as water, health, energy, law and order, urban migration, climate change, and poverty. 

 

A vibrant higher education system is the engine that can address all these challenges and opportunities. However, India's higher education system is in crisis. Six metrics, taken together, point towards a crisis in India's higher education system:

 

  1. Even after 70 years of independence India does not have even one world-class multidisciplinary research university. And, just one university was ranked in the Top 500 of Global Rankings (ARWU, 2017).

  2. Its premier institutions of IITs, IIMs, and AIIMS enroll less than 0.5% of students. (estimates, various sources)

  3. Parents are spending close to $50 Billion in private coaching to improve their child's chances of making it into these premier institutions or sending them overseas for higher education. (various sources)

  4. India's gross enrollment ratio (GER), one of the measures of access, is a measly 27% (UNESCO, 2015).

  5. Industry finds 75-90% of those graduating from India's colleges and universities unemployable. (various sources)

  6. Industry is spending 6-12 months in training these recent graduates for productive work. (various sources)

 

Everyone is paying a hefty price for this crisis: students, parents, industry, society and the nation.

Sources and additional references: 

The Time to Reform India’s Education System is Now (Shail Kumar)

Building Golden India: How to unleash India's vast potential and transform its higher education system. Now. (Author: Shail Kumar. The book includes a foreword by Desh Deshpande.)

Point #3: 5-Big Ideas can make India's higher education system world-class.

​Implementing 5-Big Ideas can transform India's higher education system and make it world-class. Now.

 

  1. Establish 50-100 world-class multidisciplinary research universities. These would be a combination of existing institutions that are transformed into world-class multidisciplinary research universities and new universities started and sustained as world-class multidisciplinary research universities. 

  2. Develop a master plan at the state level so that each state has a complementary set of research universities, masters and undergraduate colleges and universities, and community colleges.

  3. Remove British Raj (colonial) rules and regulations that are coming in the way of the transformation.

  4. Leverage MOOCs, technology, and innovations to provide an excellent education to all, now. 

  5. Attract the best and the brightest talent to be faculty members in colleges and universities by instituting market-based compensation, and a merit-based incentive and accountability system.

Sources and additional references: 

Blogs and articles  

Building Golden India: How to unleash India's vast potential and transform its higher education system. Now. (Author: Shail Kumar. The book includes a foreword by Desh Deshpande.)

Point #4: Making India's higher education system world-class is a $10 Trillion opportunity.

World-class higher education system has proven to unleash the potential of the people, spur the research, innovation, and start-up ecosystem, and address important problems that matter to the society.

 

Currently, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita is $6,700 and on this metric it is ranked 160th among 230 nations (CIA World Fact Book, 2016). Powered by a vibrant higher education system India can raise its GDP/capita to the upper echelons in the near future. Thus, this is a $10 trillion opportunity for India. 

Sources and additional references: 

Watch a 10-minute TED-style talk on India's Higher Education: A $10 Trillion Opportunity! at the IIT Leadership Conference by Shail Kumar. 

Building Golden India: How to unleash India's vast potential and transform its higher education system. Now. (Author: Shail Kumar. The book includes a foreword by Desh Deshpande.)

Point #5: This matters not just for India but also the US and the world.

A prosperous India is great for US and US-India strategic relationships. India is the largest democracy and US the oldest. They have shared interests in enabling economic growth and a peaceful and secure world.

 

With over one sixth of the global humanity, building a world-class higher education system in India is not just critical for India and its people, but also for the world. With 20-26 million children born each year in India, it is an increasingly urgent issue.

Sources and additional references: 

Building Golden India: How to unleash India's vast potential and transform its higher education system. Now. (Author: Shail Kumar. The book includes a foreword by Desh Deshpande.)

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© 2019 by NALANDA 2.0

 

Supported in part by the Tarsadia Foundation, Deshpande Foundation, Guru Krupa Foundation,        Dr. Anand Deshpande & Mrs. Sonali Deshpande, and 165 individual donors. 

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