Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Transforming higher education


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Issues with higher education

The issues of quality of higher education explain the lack of employability of Indian youth. This article examines the issue and suggests the approach to deal with the issue.

Three learning outcomes

  • The first is to provide knowledge in the relevant discipline to the students.
  • Second, imparting students with the skills needed for their jobs/enterprises.
  • Third, students are expected to play a constructive role in shaping the society and the world at large, the values and ideals of a modern, progressive society.
  • The teaching-learning process is expected to mould their character accordingly.

Issues with the education system

  • Apart from a handful of institutions in the technology, management and liberal arts streams a vast majority of other students just meander through college and acquire a degree.
  • There is a huge gulf between the curriculum taught in the colleges and actual job requirements.
  • It is common to hear even the brightest of students mention that they learnt more on the job than through their curriculum in college.

Focus more on training

  • If most of the students learn so much on the job, it raises several questions.
  • Why should we bestow so much importance on a syllabus?
  • And why do we take such massive efforts to evaluate students’ knowledge of that syllabus through exams?
  • What we can do is completely re-evaluate the syllabus frequently considering the changing needs of the time.
  • We can have substantive industrial internships while retaining only a very basic outline of essential concepts.
  • The evaluation too can be a mix of regular assignments, performance in the internship.

Consider the question “The lack of employability in the youth of India could be a huge hurdle in India’s aim to reap the benefits of demographic dividend. Examine the reasons for and suggest the measures to deal with the issue.”


The higher education sector has multiple stakeholders and multiple vested interests. In normal times, maintaining the status quo or implementing incremental and marginal reforms was all one could hope for. The pandemic has opened the doors for ushering in massive, bold and transformational reforms. As John Lewis said, “If not now, then when?”

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Dawn Knight
Dawn Knight
5 months ago