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Government must allow FDI in education   

 CHENNAI: In order to meet the rising supply-demand gap, the Government must encourage further investments by the private sector in the field of higher education. This was the message driven home by experts who participated in a conference on ‘The New Opportunities in Higher Education In India’, organised by edex, the weekly educational supplement of The New Indian Express. Eminent educationists and representatives from various educational institutions across the state participated and shared their thoughts on measures needed to improve the standards and scope of higher education in India.

Delivering the welcome address, Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, TNIE, stressed that the government should allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in higher education, as a measure to boost investment in the sector. “While people in this country are incrementally willing to pay for education, the sector has not been able to expand its scope and facilities due to various constraints primarily those laid out by the government,” he said. “With less than 2 per cent of our national budget being allocated for education, we do not have enough resources. And though private colleges are mushrooming in every other state, it remains a question if the quality standards are maintained.”

Chawla also stressed that education must not be seen as a profit making venture and that substantial amount of money earned must be reinvested into the sector for continuous improvement of infrastructure on world class standards. “There should be a positive relationship between the government and private educational player. But land and resources need not be given free of cost to these institutes,” he said.

Delivering the inaugural address at the conference, state higher education secretary, R Kannan recalled the impact of Indian Express on him during his school days and how he avidly read columns written by Frank Moraes, former editor-in-chief of the Indian Express. “I still remember his editorial on Indira Gandhi during the heights of the fundamental rights controversy,” he said.

“Tamil Nadu started opening up its educational sector to private players during MGR's tenure as the Chief Minister, way before India's liberalisation programme,” Kannan said. “A reason why Tamil Nadu today has far many number of established private educational institutions compared to other states.” Speaking at a panel discussion session, Gopalji Malviya, Head of Department of Defence and Strategic Studies at University of Madras lashed out at owners of deemed universities for calling themselves as Chancellors. “It pains me when the owner of an institution is called a Chancellor and their children as Vice Chancellors. There is no reason why they should enjoy the rank of a governor,” he said. “With the present scale of corruption in the UGC, which now does not even have a chairman, the atmosphere is not conducive for students to carry out research. No wonder that not even a single Indian university figures in the list of top 500 universities in the world,” he rued.

Source:IBN Live

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