Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Washington accord is not a panacea for the ills in higher education


In recent meeting on the permanent membership of Washington Accord, the academicians expressed positive thoughts.  It is felt that permanent membership of AICTE recognised institutions in the Washington Accord shall open greater job opportunities abroad for engineering graduates from India. The optimism is understandable but to look towards the accord as panacea for ills in the engineering education smacks of our penchant to look towards the west to solve our domestic problems. 

Our politicains do not miss opportunity to criticise US for its so called capitalist policy but prefer to take treatment in the US hospitals, even for the smallest illness, at the State's expense. The same attitude is seen while shopping for the advanced equipment for the country's defense preparedness. If the same trend continues, one wonders whether the indigenous industry and the institutions shall ever achieve parity over the advanced countries. Now it is the turn of higher education.

Most Principals, Directors and Promoters of the Higher Educational Institutions were of the opinion that being a part of Washington Accord shall lead to better quality of infrastructure and education in our institutions. How?

Who stops us from improving our standard right away? The problem is not the lack of opportunities but the lack of will to improve. The educational institutions are viewed as private business by most Promoters. What kind of a business is that, where the customers (viz. students and parents) are left with practically no choice of the product. Just look at the way the promoters are trying to bring moratorium on establishing new institutions. In the captive market, no one is ready to face competition. 

In fact it will not be proper to consider educational institution as private venture, because the institution is built and survives on the money received from the stakeholders (students and parents) but denies any right to them to decide about the management policy. Besides, the normal laws and economic criteria applied to any private venture are not applicable to the educational institutions. This issue needs serious consideration. 

 The great educational institutions of the world are not built by the criteria of accreditation. In fact accreditation only ensures the minimum standards, sky is the limit for quality.

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