Need of the hour is Prioritization of Research
As world is evolving to become a global village, the technology is becoming obsolete more often. Products and services are living shorter life cycles. Traditional businesses are facing the brunt of competition and efficiency to satisfying their consumers. The initiation of a new economy is based on more innovations and creativity. It demands continuous technological changes. The businesses do not only demand technological changes but also management strategies to befit the ever-changing business scenario. This fact has placed premium on the knowledge and skills that are found and developed within the arena of higher education. Higher education is a great national asset.
In India, higher education currently enrolls more than nine million students (about 10% of the relevant age with almost 20% of students in engineering and medicine. More than 300,000 students graduate each year with qualifications in science and engineering; of these graduates, according to one study, only about 100,000 are comparable to U.S. bachelor’s degrees and another 100,000 are comparable to U.S. sub-bachelor’s awards, such as associate’s degrees. In both cases, the annual volume of graduates is similar to U.S. degree production in these fields. Further, India’s elite science and technology institutes rank among the world’s best, producing graduates who track into leading posts in national and multinational firms. Overall, however, graduate unemployment is high, at a time when the supply of graduates in some dynamic fields is judged insufficient to meet demand. One more distressing fact in our nation is that entrepreneurial development programs have not yet gathered impetus in the higher educational institutions.
Research – The base of the human advancement
Research in higher education pushes back the frontiers of the human knowledge and intellectuality. Research is the base of the human advancement. The finding of a research enhances skills of the manpower in the knowledge-dominated age. It gives a researcher both personal and intellectual fulfilment. When a research is put into working practices it powers the economy; it enlightens the society on the whole. Innovation is the key to progress; progressive nations in the world have always motivated researchers. The corporate in India have realised that they have to invest much more, side by side, and motivate their employees to go in for higher education.
The benefits of an excellent higher education program are far reaching. A paper published in Indian Journal of Science & Technology by P.K.Shetty, M.B.Hiremath, Sreeja and Murugan suggests that University of Madras has the highest research funding with 41.46 crores among the selected universities. All the PhD students get a fellowship from their respective departments to complete their PhD. Pune University received the second highest research funding with 16.02 crore rupees among the selected state universities. The Pune University had spent 68% of its resources from its budget on research activities. The ISO certification of the finance wing has helped Pune University getting more funds for projects from industries as well as funding agencies. NAAC re-accreditation, quality education, quality faculty, good research output and a good organizational management of University of Madras helped receiving more funds when compared to other selected universities in the country.
Among the selected universities, Kolkata University has a total of 10 patents in the last 10 years. Rest of the universities have two to three patents or have just filed for patents. The patent facilitation cell has been established to promote national and international patents of indigenous innovations. In biotechnology, 112 patents have been filed for out of which 7 international patents and 7 national patents have been granted as on December 2005. Although patent filings in India have gone up four-fold in the last five years, they are still relatively low when compared to other Asian countries like South Korea, China and Taiwan.
In my opinion it is high time to perk up the higher education scenario in our country. We need better monitoring system of higher education institutions. Our professional courses must be reorganized with stress on skill development and research. When the present age presents very challenging environment to the businesses because of rapid changes, frequent technology upgrading, changing demographic profiles research becomes very important to survive in the business. Educational institutions must update their syllabus regularly, appoint trained faculty, provide professional environment for the studies to the young and innovative minds.
The public private partnership plays pivotal role in the research and development. A critical review of activities of higher educational institutions as well as their budgets needs to be conducted to phase out outmoded activities and create necessary space for new activities. Highlighting on quality stricture is all the more necessary in the light of mushrooming of private institutions with the opening up of the Indian economy.
A recent report by the United Nations Development Programme estimates that 100,000 Indian students migrate to USA for conducting research in various fields. After successful completion of their research programs they get absorbed by MNCs and research institutions in USA. If we seriously consider the potential economic gains, which these exceptionally talented people could have brought to India, one realizes that the economic losses due to this migration are huge. Are the policy makers listening?