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Regulators are needed, but implementation should be taken care of at the ground level, Dr. Jitendra K. Das at CII Higher Education Summit

5th July 2018, Regulators are needed, but implementation should be taken care of at the ground level, Dr. Jitendra K. Das at CII Higher Education Summit

“Since the IITs were created outside of a university system, it became a general trend for institutes to function independently to attain flexibility and in this, the purpose of setting up a university was lost,” observed Dr. Jitendra K. Das (Director, FORE School of Management, New Delhi) at the Higher Education Summit organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on 29 June 2018 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.


The summit brought together leading names from industry, academia, and government bodies. Dr. Das was speaking as Session Moderator for the panel discussion on “Role of regulators to support the growth of higher education and improve quality standards”. Mr. Aditya Berlia (Co-Founder and Pro-Chancellor, Apeejay Stya University), Dr. A.M. Agrawal (Pro Vice- Chancellor, GLA University), Dr. B.S. Satyanarayana (Vice-Chancellor, BML Munjal University), Dr. Raghunath Shevgaonkar (Vice Chancellor, Bennett University), and Mr. Atul Khosla (Pro Vice-Chancellor and Founder, Shoolini University) were the other panellists for what turned out to be a thoroughly engaging session.


Dr. Das set the ball rolling by saying, “We are living in times of ‘Old wine in a new bottle’ and that doesn’t seem to be changing quickly.” Taking the discussion forward, Mr. Aditya Berlia said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Every new regulation is an opportunity for corruption. Regulators are working as gatekeepers and playing whack-a-mole with the corrupt people. Highly centralized regulation is bound to fail. Regulators must understand how ecosystems work. Only then can they create right regulations.”


Dr. A.M. Agrawal suggested that one should look within the system to understand the functioning of corruption. He talked about different stakeholders in the system and shared, “Today education institutes are working on a 6-month admission and 6-month placements cycle. There is nothing on quality or research. Moreover, big IT giants and others in different industries have created cartels and, somehow, the initial packages are still around 3.2 LPA for the past 6–7 years. There is also a high level of political intervention in India’s higher education.”


As Dr. Das offered the example of IITs, Dr. B.S. Satyanarayana admitted that there is lack of freedom to operate. He added, “We need to transform our system at multiple levels. The world is looking at the ability to learn, unlearn, and re-learn. Regulators need to be in the ecosystem and their functioning and responsibilities need to be smoother.” That’s when Dr. Das raised a crucial point: “Who is going to be accountable if institutes make a mistake? The idea should be that market forces, with self-regulated management, should enable the process.”


Dr. Raghunath Shevgaonkar opined that regulatory bodies should supervise, not micro-manage: “The government and regulators should define the kind of institutions one wants to create. The priority while setting up an institute and growing it should be – Faculty, Research, and then Education.” Speaking about the role of regulators and the challenge of business models for education, Mr. Atul Khosla said, “The system of education also works on the economics. But the problem arose when people from non-educational background entered the industry with the sole purpose of creating profits.” The stimulating discussion was rounded off by Dr. Das with the observation, “Regulators are needed, but implementation should also be taken care of at the ground level.”

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