Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Sixth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Reforming Higher Education in India: In Pursuit of Excellence
Chetan Singai, T R Kumaraswamy, Ajay Chandra

Last modified: 02-05-2020


Higher education has emerged as one of the most critical factors for the Nation’s economic, political, social and cultural growth and development. Reforming the higher education sector has become an emergent norm across the globe, especially in the developing world. India is one such emerging nation, witnessing a major shift in its ideological, pragmatic and policy directions in the last few years. The higher education sector in India has witnessed unprecedented expansion. However, given the distinctive social-political-economic context and its complexity in India, expansion in higher education is often linked with ensuring equity and access. Whereas in the developed world, expansion is often associated with quality or excellence in higher education i.e. creating world-class universities. Further, excellence in higher education is arguably the most critical component for the survival, sustenance and growth of the sector.

To this end, the paper examines the convergence and divergence in policies and practices related to the pursuit of excellence in higher education and its institutions in India vis-à-vis the dominant global reforms in higher education. Erstwhile policies related to quality in higher education and the current draft National Education Policy-2019, provide a reference to the local-distinctive strategies for seeking excellence at the systemic and the institutional level, with an aspiration for global reputation. For instance, National Institutional Ranking Framework, University Grants Commission’s graded autonomy, Institutional restructuring, National Accreditation and Assessment Council and Quacquarelli Symonds- India rating and so on. The paper also sets direction on how Local strategies for global aspirations could unpack a series of issues regarding the reforms in education and delineate in what ways that these emerging global reforms, strategies are effective and appropriate to the local higher education system and its institutions.

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