Wednesday, January 5

Quality or Quantity: What should we strive for in higher education?

The most obvious question asked at any forum discussing higher education is, what should be preferred-quality or quantity? There are many people who say that we must not go for expansion in higher education sector as it will affect the quality of education. Well, my opinion is entirely against any move to restrict higher education in the name of quality control. India is a large country. It requires colleges in large numbers to meet the needs of its burgeoning population. We can't allow our students to sit idle while we bask in the glory of quality of our institutes.

We all know as to what is going on at present. Every year, around ten thousand students qualify for IIT. But, do we ever think about the rest of the students who got rejected? Are they less capable? There are many students who unfortunately do not go to IITs but fare better then many IITians. Same is the case with management graduates. In medical education sector, the situation is even more frightening. The country is not producing enough doctors to meet even the basic health care requirements. The government is bearing the burnt of its poor policy of limiting the number of medical colleges in the country. It is now forced to adopt a new scheme of rural doctors where the course duration would be four years only. This problem would not have arisen at the forst place had there been enough medical colleges in this country.

All these things point towards the need for change in the government policy regarding higher education. There is an urgent requirement for opening of more IITs, IIMs, central universities, medical colleges and other colleges.It's true that quality is and should be an important parameter in higher education, but keeping in purview the huge requirements of skilled manpower in our country, we must act fast to incorporate the idea of inclusive education. Let more institutions be opened and let they be functioned independently. In this present competitive world, they will surely establish their niche in the respective fields.

The question of quality comes only when the country's minimum requirements in terms of educational institutions are fulfilled. In the initial phase quality will decrease for sure as the quantity increases. But, this is a short term problem and can be taken care of over a period of time. Those who advocate quality, tend to forget that even our elite institutions are not getting faculties for teaching. Once, the problem of quantity is taken care of , they will have a large pool of contestants to choose from. Thus, improving quantity is in the best interest of the nation, the student community and above all for the educational institutions itself. If we act now, we can prevent our future generation from being deprived of one of the most basic rights of theirs: The right to access to higher education.

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