Matters in higher education seem to moving rapidly in India at the moment. The new minister is Kapil Sibal, who assumed office in May last year, and he seems to making waves. This is a revealing 2010 media timeline discussing problems and proposed reforms.
24 January 2010 – Education Reform Bills cleared
2 February 2010 – A qualitative expansion of higher education is urgently needed
9 February 2010 – Course correction – stemming the rot
23 February 2010 – A super UGC? Strong reaction to proposed reforms
11 March 2010 – Cabinet to discuss five education reform bills today
15 March 2010 – Timeline: Foreign Educational Institution Bill
17 March 2010 – Foreign Universities Bill and its impact
7 Apr 2010 – State must have greater role in edu reform
Discussions of this depth and nature reflect a higher education system that has become deeply chaotic. Against that backdrop, it is perhaps not surprising that the institutions in India that maintain the strongest reputations beyond their shores are those who embrace focus – such as the IITs and IIMs rather than the comprehensive universities that in some cases, due to demand, have grown so large as to become very difficult to manage.
If reforms are successful, a competitive, collaborative, open and compatible higher education system in India ought to be a daunting prospect and may have a direct influence on many universities reliant on inbound students from India to prop up their increasingly fragile budgets.