It's time that India learn something from China’s rise in higher education


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It's time that India learn something from China’s rise in higher education

10 August 2018

It's time that India learn something from China’s rise in higher education


In the recent Asian University, Ranking China has significantly risen. Where China’s 63 universities were in the top ranking while Indian universities struggled and have even fallen down in the list. Though it seems India worked hard and is rejoicing in one area where it is ahead of China... Well, you guessed it right... It is POLLUTION! Don't you think it's time India should really focus on the education system so as to make little contribution to bringing down the pollution level? Maybe a good education system can help bring about that change.


India started off well with exemplary institutes like Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) but then came a period where other developing nations went ahead of India in promoting research and nurturing the talents. You won't believe that till the early 21st century Indian and China had a marginal difference in terms of top-ranked universities and gross enrolment ratio in higher education and then Chinese dragon roared its way ahead of India.


The UK based agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) compiled a list of top 500 educational institutes around the globe. You would be surprised that as per the latest ranking 22 Chinese universities claimed their place in the top 500 list as compared to 9 Indian universities in the world. The gap is visible in the number of cited research publications and their impact. Where in India "most of the PhDs lack the independent database analysis and have little exposure to software to test their hypothesis" written by Rahul Sheel and Neharika Vohra in a 2014 paper focusing on academic research among management scholars in India, China on the other hand increased its focus on research and gradually outran the US in awarding doctorates.


The Indian government is still trying to catch up. And never leaves an opportunity to startle us as recently spotlighted that government found yet-to-be-built Jio Institute a well-deserved institute to get the “Institute of eminence” (IoE) status which was granted along with 5 other institutes and attracted criticism for leaving out deserving universities. Even the financial disbursement involved is much less than the world-class institutes typically splurge on research alone. On the other hand, Chinese universities didn't rely on state funding alone but diversified by raising funds from sources like tuition fees, donations, profit from university-sponsored enterprises etc, pointed out by 2015 research paper by Devesh Kapur of the University of Pennsylvania and Elizabeth Perry of Harvard University. This increased resources helped China raise its enrolment rate in higher education outstripping India in the early 2000s.


Giving an idea on the strains of Indian financial resources. As per the global standards, the overall spending on R&D in India is too low yet Indian universities rely on the government funding. India is still in its early stage of developing a culture of philanthropic donations from alumni and from corporate sponsors. We can only hope to develop a cutting-edge research if only private sector participates.


Indian higher education outcome also depends on India's capacity to improve school education so that students enrolling for higher studies are well equipped with the necessary skill-sets.    


The analysis points out the basic reason why China higher education has moved ahead of India is that China focused on strengthening its primary and secondary education initially which India is still working on to achieve.


Let us know your views on how the Indian education system can race ahead of China and other countries in the world in the comment section below.


Jai Hind!