This report surveys the Indian higher education landscape and argues the need for a shift in thinking. The current system seeks to create a ‘privileged class’ and sustains a bureaucratic state. It should, however, promote prosperity for all and be capable of enabling a modern economy.
It was launched during an education conference run in conjunction with India Incorporated and hosted by Deloitte in London, and produced with The Research Base and education startup UAspire.
They key messages are:
- Devolved responsibility and ineffective regulation have led to an uneven higher education landscape in terms of quality and relevance.
- Degree subjects specific to professions (e.g. engineering and medicine) are growing significantly, while more general subjects are proving less popular. Of all higher education enrolments, about one third are in distance education or at polytechnics.
- A youthful population and strong economic growth have led to a window of opportunity for India. There is currently a mismatch between graduate skills and employer demands in India; the growth in online and distance learning may help to address this.
- Going forward, the focus on human capital, the urgency of realising the ‘demographic dividend’ and the emergence of a modern consumer culture across wider society means that the direction of policy will play a more significant role than the current regulatory system.
- India may well have to ‘catch up’, rather than trailblaze, looking at the thousands of Indian students who study abroad, the corporations investing in them, and the global community of academic Indians.