The Balance Sheet: India’s higher education challenges
Indian minister Kapil Sibal estimated recently that India needs 1,500 universities, almost three times as much as the current 564, to serve its young and aspiring population, and meet expectations for economic growth. This oft-quoted but unofficial observation reflects the scale of ambition of the Indian policy-makers, and the direct connection they make between higher education and economic growth. Consequently, India is the only major economy in the world where the government is still spending money on setting up new higher education institutions, and building up capacity in the old ones. This effort will get a further boost by the recent appearance of three of the IITs – Kharagpur (226-250), Bombay (251-275) and Roorkee (351-400) – in the Times Global 400 league table; though none of them made it to the top 200 yet.