Structure of the Institutions for Higher Learning and Research in India
Higher Education in India is one of the largest and oldest systems of higher education found anywhere in the world.
Universities in India
The University system has a number of different types of institution and there are wide variations in their missions, goals and objectives. The Universities also have different traditions and conventions established. However, all the Universities generally fall into the following three categories, based on their organizational structure:
i. Affiliating Universities, having University Departments, Constituent Colleges and Affiliated Colleges, with single or multiple campuses..
ii. Unitary Universities having University Departments and Constituents Colleges, with single or multiple campuses;
iii. Private Universities, mostly of the unitary type and having distributed campuses.
Central Universities in India
While other universities in the country are established by the State Governments, a Central University in India is formed by the Government of India, by an Act of Parliament.
The Government of India is responsible for arranging, allocating and distributing financial resources requited by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for the establishment of Central Universities in India. The list of central universities published by the UGC lists 49 central universities, as of 12 December 2018, nine of which are directly funded by the Government of India and are not under the purview of the UGC. The higher education system in India being one of the largest in the world, the responsibility rests on the Central Government to devise policies with a view to improving the quality of higher education in India. Improving the quality and access of higher education and research in India has become all the more important keeping in view the growing need of qualified human resources in various sectors of the economy. Therefore it can only be hoped that there would be more central universities in India in the immediate future.
Since the State Governments establish and plan for the colleges and universities in the states and the Central Government does it for the Central Universities, it is essential that there is adequate cooperation between the State Governments and the Central Government in the field of higher education.The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) has therefore been constituted to assist in the functioning of the two Governments and ensure that parity is maintained.
The Central Government has also been empowered by a special act of the Constitution to maintain a particular standard conducive to the educational health of the country. The Central Government lays special emphasis on research and development carried out in technical as well as other institutions.
Some of the special features of Central Universities are:
i. The President of India acts as the ‘Visitor’ for all the Central Universities
ii. The President has the power to nominate a few members to the-Executive Committee/Board of Management/Court/Selection Committees of the University in terms of the various statutes and provisions laid down in the University
iii. The Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD) assists the President of India in the appointment of Vice Chancellors, Court Nominees and Selection Committee
Central Universities in India
|Jammu and Kashmir||
Open Universities in India
Open Universities in India provide the facility of distance education to people who are unable to pursue regular courses. Distance education is provided on Academic, Technical and Professional subjects. These universities offer undergraduate, post graduate and doctoral programme. They also offer diploma and certificate level courses.
Distance Education Council
The open universities in India are regulated by the Distance Education Council of India (DEC). It is an organization based in Delhi which maintains the standards, encourages and organizes the activities of Open and Distance Learning in India (ODL). The council encourages the state governments and conventional universities to set up open universities and distance education centers. It also arranged for funds to run these universities. The assessment arid accreditation of the universities is also done by the DEC. Facilitating and promoting distance education is the ultimate goal of the DEC.
There are following Open Universities in India at present. They have educational centers in various states of India.
i. Indira Gandhi National Open University
ii.B.R. Ambedkar Open University
iii. Karnataka State Open University
iv. Nalanda Open University
v. Netaji Subhas Open University
vi. Kota Open University
vii. Vardhman Mahaveer Open University
viii. P. Rajarshi Tandon Open U1versity
ix. Madhya Pradesh Bhoj Open University
x. Tamil Nadu Open University
xi. Yashwant Rao Chavan Open University
xii. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University, Ahmedabad
xiii. Sunderlal Sharma Open University, Chhattisgarh
xiv. Uttaranchal Open University
xv. KK Handique State University
Deemed Universities in India
The Central Govt. of India, which establishes the Central Universities in India, are also entrusted with the responsibility of declaring an educational institution as a Deemed University. However the declaration is made on the recommendation of University Grant Commission (UGC) of India. Among other things, the UGC is entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the standard of higher of education in India. Therefore an educational institute acquires the status of a Deemed University only after meeting the standard set by the University Grant Commission. The UGC may also decide to fund one of these Deemed Universities.
The Deemed University status enables the educational institutes to design their own syllabus and course work. They also get the autonomy to set its own guidelines regarding admission and fees. Some of the Deemed Universities are also allowed to grant degrees on their own name.
Thus the Deemed Universities in India get the opportunities to develop their own unique course structure to prepare the students to enter into diverse fields after the completion of their study. Those Deemed Universities which continue to perform well eventually get the status of a full- fledged University.
Agricultural Universities in India
As Agriculture plays a very important role in the Indian Economy, setting up of adequate number of Agricultural Universities were considered very important in India. While the Royal Commission, set up in 1926, emphasized the importance of a strong research base for agricultural development in India, the second National Education Commission ( 1964-66) headed by the then University Grant Commission Chairman D.S. Kothari recommended University in each of the Indian state.
Importance of Agricultural Universities
The importance of Agricultural Universities have increased tremendously in the recent years as the growth of the agricultural sector has seen a sharp decline for over a decade now. It has not been able to keep pace with the other sectors of the Indian economy although nearly 60% workforce is engaged with agriculture in India.
The contribution of agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the county’s economy has been below 25% in the recent years. At such a juncture, people involved with Agricultural Universities and other research organizations will have to come up with innovative ideas for dealing with the challenges that the sector is currently facing.
There are at present 43 Agricultural Universities in India. Out of these five are Deemed Universities and two are Central Agricultural Universities. All these Universities are members of the Indian Agricultural Universities Association (JAUA). It was established primarily to promote agricultural research and education in the country. IAUA holds annual convention and also brings out a journal in order to exchange and promote ideas.
A Generalized University of the 21st Century
A generalized University of the 21st century has to respond to the changing needs of the society, which are now technology driven and are becoming highly informative and knowledge intensive, bringing in fundamental changes in the way human beings live, learn, interact, work and conduct their everyday activities. However, learning is a personalized process not dependent on technology, whereas educating is a social process dependent on interactivities between learners and teachers which may make use of tools and technologies. As a result, education has to keep pace with the world wide changes taking place so rapidly in all major sectors of the society, like social, cultural, economic and political, all of them being driven by the on-going ICT revolution. Teachers and academic communities have a central role to play in this situation, like mentoring, guiding, exploring, integrating information, developing learners identities through role modelling and facilitating group activity. Technology is required here to support and enhance this role, which needs to be facilitated at a generalized University of the 21st century in a satisfactory manner.
It is observed that a generalized University of the 21st century in the country has to perform multiple functions like,
ii. Sponsored Research and Consultancy;
iii. Continuing Education and Extension;
iv. Development and Services, and
Some of these functions are traditional, whereas many others are new. However, important aspects of each of these functions are briefly described below:
1. Academic (UG/PG) and Research work for Degree/Diploma awards under many faculties, with freedom to add/drop programmes/courses and revise/update curricula in a short time, as often as required, at the:
i. Campuses, in the Schools/Departments and Constituent Colleges;
ii. Autonomous Colleges, in the prescribed jurisdiction;
iii. Affiliated Colleges, in the prescribed jurisdiction;
iv. Networked Learning Centres, having no jurisdictional limits;
2. Assessment and Examinations to qualify for Degree/Diploma awards under all its faculties, to be conducted on different scales as necessary, like small, medium and large, as often as required, at high efficiency and low cost, while maintaining the well needed standard, confidentiality and speed of execution;
3. Continuous Internal Assessment of course work;
4. Semester-end/ Year-end examination, using ICT, if required and feasible;
5. Thesis/Dissertation evaluation, with built in safe guards.
6. Training of students regularly through extra-curricular activities at the main/subsidiary campuses and autonomous/affiliated colleges to:
i. Develop competitiveness at State/National levels in sports and adventure;
ii. Inculcate national spirit, team work and discipline through Yoga, NCC, NSS;
iii. Bring out hidden talents through various forms of cultural activities;
iv. Provide opportunities for participation in debates and related
Sponsored Research and Consultancy Functions
Sponsored R&D projects, usually time bound and goal oriented, funded by Central/State Governments or their Agencies, other funding organizations- both national and international, industries, companies etc., in its research areas.
Consultancy and Testing services for augmenting its resources, based on its areas of expertise and facilities, to be made available to various types of users, like industries, companies and other institutions in India/abroad.
Continuing Education and Extension Functions
i. Continuing Education on a regular basis, covering formal, non-formal and informal mode~, by making use of modem technologies like audio/video/broadcast /internet/ intranet/multimedia, if required, for .its faculty / staff, academics from other institutions, Government officials, professionals, lay public and other national/international clients in its various branches.
ii. Life-long Learning opportunities at low cost, making use of e-education and other initiatives for its students, alumni and local communities, offered individually or in partnership with other Universities, social, professional and developmental organizations, so as to provide them:
iii. More number of options in programmes and increased choice of courses;
iv. Better selection to study at a reputed University for Degree/Diploma awards;
v. Services of renowned experts and teachers to guide the learning process.
vi. Extension and Knowledge-based services to be regularly delivered from its main/ subsidiary campuses and autonomous/affiliated colleges, based on its strengths and capabilities, like:
vii. Knowledge based advice to Government/Society:
viii. Social service, such as, adult education, literacy, population, environment;
ix. Seminar/Extension lectures on society related issues.
Development and Services Functions
i. Employment/Education/Development – related services for outgoing students, with the use of ICT and related technologies, if required, to be available from its main / subsidiary campuses and autonomous/ affiliated colleges, to:
ii. Prepare for National/State level competitive examinations;
iii. Develop communication skills, personality and ethics for interviews;
iv. Develop computer- and IT- related skills and functions, for value addition;
v. Connect with the world of employment for suitable placement;
vi. Support entrepreneurship, new careers and other
vii. Creation and preparation of educational/research material in conventional print (Learning material, Text/Reference Books, Journals) form and electronic (Course ware, Journals) form, like:
viii. Audio/Video – tapes/ cassettes for physical delivery and for broadcast uses;
ix. Multimedia floppies/CDs for physical delivery and intranet/internet
x. Other important academic functions like:
xi. Affiliating colleges and programmes;
xii. Establishing networked learning centres at identified locations;
xiii. Granting autonomous status to well developed, selected colleges;
xiv. Recognizing reputed research institutions as Ph.D. study centres;
xv. Entering into MOUs with Universities/Institutions for joint programmes;
xvi. Encouraging partnership / consortia with other institutions for mutual benefit;
xvii. Enabling inter-institutional students mobility, by mutual credits transfer;
xviii. Filing copy rights and patents on innovative work done at the University.
i. Quality monitoring/ assurance for the maintenance of quality, standard and relevance of academic/research programmes and other activities by following the practices recommended by NAAC/NBA, with a view to increase national/ international image, visibility and competitiveness in the schools/ departments and constituent/ autonomous/ affiliated colleges.
ii. Alumni interaction and feedback on academic/research/other activities and facilities, placement opportunities and resources mobilization, with a view to bring about qualitative improvements.
iii. Distance education for the society at large, to be provided using audio/video broadcasts and/ or ICT and related new technologies (as against the earlier correspondence courses, now becoming obsolete), taking advantage of the initiatives of UGC, ISRO, IGNOU and other national/ state level agencies/bodies for the creation of course content and for the provision of national/regional educational networks, to facilitate:
iv. Self-paced and personalized learning opportunities;
v. Students taking courses of their choice from many Universities at a time;
vi. Joint Degree/Diploma awards from Universities in partnership, if required;
vii. Setting up of State-wide /Country-wide virtual
viii. Financial and physical resources generation/mobilization from various sources, like Central/ State Governments, Non-Governmental Organizations, International Funding Agencies, Phi- lanthropists and other donors, by
ix. Evolving and pursuing innovative strategies and methods;
x. Offering developmental and educational services for a wide range of clients;
xi. Setting up of a Company/Registered Society for revenue generation activities;
xii. Forming consortia with other institutions;
xiii. Associating/ collaborating with the Private
xiv. Public relations with respect to all its constituents, like students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, funding agencies, press/media, Government, UGC and society at large, for maintaining campus peace and harmony and earning the confidence, goodwill and respect from all of them, for the
xvi. Constituent/ Autonomous/ Affiliated Colleges.
While universities, deemed universities and institutions of national importance are largely autonomous institutions entitled by law to design, develop and offer programs which they consider relevant and appropriate for the national needs, the colleges and institutes are expected to be regulated by the universities with which they are affiliated or associated with. Given the wide reach and variety of institutions and programs of higher education, a number of professional, coordinative and regulatory bodies and councils have also been established to ensure balanced and healthy growth of higher education in the country.
Formal and Distance Education
Formal education refers to the classroom teaching, where face-to-face interactions take place between the teacher and students. The teacher can make use of lectures, presentations, slides, poster, models, etc., to illustrate the content. It can be teacher- centred or student-centred depending upon the techniques;, strategies, and aids used by the teacher. For formal education, students have to visit a school, college, or university every day for classes. The formal system involves 14 to 16 years of schooling from pre-nursery to class 12; the student can then enroll in a degree or diploma course of his choice. After graduation, the student can enroll for post¬graduation, which can be followed by M.Phil. or Ph.D. enrollment.
1. Students can ask questions during the class to
clarity their doubts.
2. Different techniques can be used by the teacher to gain the interest of students and make learning interesting.
3. There is a sense of competition in classroom teaching which encourages students to learn and perform better.
1. Students have to go by the pace of the class and attempt papers as per the schedule.
2. Classroom teaching cannot be adjusted according to the individual needs of the students.
Distance education or open education
Here, students need not to be in direct contact with the teacher or with each other. There is flexibility in learning. Students have to enroll for a course and they will be provided the study material covered in textbooks, videos, audios, etc. They can cover the study material at their own speed. Such a mode of study is very beneficial for the working class, housewives, and other persons who cannot attend classes regularly. In distance mode, students have the choice to skip and exam, which they can appear for in the next time.
1. Students can cover the course as per their own
2. They have choice regarding exams as well.
3. There is flexibility in learning.
1. Students may feel it difficult to cover the course within the time. It will be difficult to complete the course if they lack determination. Students have to maintain their interest in the study by
2. In classroom (caching, doubts can be clarified in the class by the teacher. In the absence of the teacher, the students may not be able to clarify
3. There will not be competition among students as they will not get to meet each other.
Many initiatives have been taken to facilitate open and distance learning. These include the open uni¬versities like IGNOL1, state open universities, and distance education institutes of universities. There are online initiatives where Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) is taught, like edX, Udacity, and coursera.
Indira Gandhi National Open University was established in 1985 to democratize higher education. The aim was to provide cost-effective, quality education to large sections of our population including those living in remote and far-flung areas. Since its inception, IGNOU has carved a niche for itself among the premier educational institutions in the country.
The University has, in a relatively short time, contributed significantly to higher education, community education and continual professional development using all possible media and means for this. As a world leader in distance education, it was conferred the Centre of Excellence Award in Distance Education in 1993’and the Award of Excellence for Distance Education Materials in 1999 by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada. In January, 2010 it was listed 12th in the webometric ranking of Indian universities, based on the calibre of its presence on the internet.
Today, it serves the educational aspirations of over 2.6 million students in India and 36 other countries through the twenty-one Schools of Studies and a network of 61 regional centres, around 3000 learner support centres and around 60 overseas centres. The University offers about 350 certificate, diploma, degree and doctoral programmes, with a strength of around420 faculty members and academic staff at the Headquarters and regional centres and about 36,000 academic counsellors from conventional institutions of higher learning, professional organisations, and industry among others.
State-of-the-art telecommunication systems have further helped in reaching out to the hitherto unreached sections of the society. Quality and equity have been the guiding principles behind all endeavours.
Functions of IGNOU
IGNOU has two main funtions :
(i) It offers various academic programmes that lead to Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees. It develops and produces courses for delivery through open learning and distance education mode. IGNOU is also actively involved in research, training and extension education activities.
(ii) In its capacity as an Apex Body, it co-ordinates and monitors distance education system throughout the country, IGNOU has also constituted the Distance Education Council and has provided expertise and assistance to other Open and Distance Learning Institutions in the country.
Features of IGNOU
IGNOU stands significantly apart from other universities because of:
2. flexible admission rules
3. individualised study: flexibility, in terms of place, pace and duration of study
4. use of latest educational and communication technologies
5. student support services
6. cost-effective programmes
7. modular programs
8. resource sharing, collaboration and networking between other Open Universities