December 10, 2010



The corporate sector discovered a huge and ever growing service industry in education. Global public spending on education in the beginning of this century was estimated to exceed one trillion US dollars, that is about Rs 48,00,000 crore. In this industry with huge global market students, teachers, and non-teaching employees constitute resources for profit-making. Here, the students are consumers, teachers are service providers and expert speakers, and the institutions or companies catering to education services are organisers, and the teaching-learning process is no longer for the building of a nation but a business for profit-making.

Predatory and powerful transnational corporations have been targeting public education, particularly higher education, for profit-making. Though predominantly a government supported service, most governments are, as a consequence of neo-liberal economic reforms, withdrawing from it. The government of India through extensive privatisation, commercialisation and deregulation has been encouraging this process.

The first decade of the twenty-first century witnessed world over large-scale and bitter protests from the students, teachers and people at large against the privatisation and commercialisation of higher education and bringing higher education sector under General Agreements on Trade in Services (GATS) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) by their governments. The idea behind WTO-GATS has been the creation of an open, global marketplace where services, like education, can be traded to the highest bidder1. Read the rest of this entry »


BOOK’s Front Page

May 6, 2009

 Crisis of Higher Education In India


Vijender Sharma

Crisis of Higher Education in India



May 6, 2009

Introduction by Sitaram Yechury

 “A University stands for Humanism, for Tolerance, for Reason, for the adventure of Ideas and for the search of Truth. It stands for the onward march of human race towards ever-higher objectives. If the universities discharge their duties adequately then it is well with the nation and the people.” 

These were the lofty ideas of a vision unfolded by India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru soon after attaining independence. This vision embodied the spirit of India’s freedom struggle which sought to create an independent India, self reliant not only in economic terms but also in terms of intellectual and scientific manpower. This was a blueprint to enhance India’s contribution to the intellectual development of human civilisation.  Read the rest of this entry »


May 6, 2009


Higher education in India is in deep crisis. It is facing several-pronged attack from the Central Government and the University Grants Commission (UGC). The government funding of institutions of higher education, universities and colleges, is gradually and systematically being withdrawn under the dictates of the World Bank.  Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 1

May 6, 2009

World Bank Dictated Policies On Higher Education

We entered the twenty-first century with unprecedented demand for higher education: general as well as professional. There is an increased awareness among the people, particularly the students passing out of schools, of the vital importance of higher education for socio-cultural and economic development and for building the future of the society and the country. It is an undisputed historical fact that higher education, over the centuries, has been able to induce change and progress in society. This calls for equipping the young generation (17-23 years old) with new skills and knowledge, and further expansion of higher education. Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 2

May 6, 2009

Status of Higher Education Since Independence

 The history of the Indian higher education system can be traced back to 1857 when the universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were established. Thereafter, the growth of higher education in the country was very slow. At the time of independence [10] in 1947, about 1,00,000 students were enrolled in 20 universities (3 Central and 17 State) and some 500 colleges.  The decadal rise in the number of university level institutions [11] is given in Table-1. The number of university level institutions increased to 236 in 1999- 2000 [12]. Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 3

May 6, 2009

Reduced Funding of Higher Education And A Big Fee Hike

For the all round development of the country, the higher education system was slowly strengthened after the independence. Expenditure on higher education was gradually increased. The share of higher education in the total expenditure on education increased [11] from 9% in the First Five-Year Plan (1951-56) to 25% in the Fourth Plan (1969-74). It remained stable at 22% in the Fifth and Sixth Plans. Thereafter, it was drastically reduced and it stood at 8% in the Eighth Plan (1992-97) which is one-half of that of the Seventh and less than one-third of Fourth Plan as shown in Table 17. Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 4

May 6, 2009

Higher Education is a Merit Good, Stop Dismantling it

 In the background of the World Bank reform package, consider this formulation [17] of the World Bank (1995): “Not all the external benefits of higher education – such as the benefits from basic research and from technology development and transfer – are fully reflected in the earnings used in calculating those rates of return. The returns to higher education, as to basic education, are thus greater than those measured using earnings, and it is very possible that the contribution of higher education to growth may increase with levels of technology and as countries achieve universal primary and secondary education.” The World Bank further acknowledges: “ In almost all countries, rates of return to investment in all levels of education exceed the long-run opportunity cost of capital (usually estimated at 8-10 percent in real terms), making education an excellent investment.” It is abundantly clear from even these statements, says Armaity Desai [27] that primary, secondary and higher education play a complementary role in national development. (Emphasis added) Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 5

May 6, 2009

Autonomous Colleges: A Backdoor Means to Reduce Funding, Privatisation of Higher Education

We have seen above (Tables-2 and 3) that more than two thousand colleges have been started in various parts of the country in the last four years. Such a phenomenal growth has been witnessed because several state governments, in their pursuit of privatization of higher education, have recognized “self-financing colleges.” In such colleges, with meagre facilities and no regular faculty, a very large amount is charged from the students. That is why student-teacher ratio has increased during this period (Table-16). Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 6

May 6, 2009

Assessment and Accreditation: Closure of Some Colleges and Universities Inevitable

All the universities and colleges, as per the recent decisions of the UGC and Ministry of HRD, have to get themselves assessed and accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). In response to the directives of the NAAC, the University of Delhi [50] issued a circular on 6 July, 2000 asking its constituent colleges to get in touch with NAAC for their assessment and accreditation. Earlier, Mr. M.K. Kaw, Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) [51], had announced on 17 December, 1999 in a seminar organized by the Federation of Central Universities Teachers Associations (FEDCUTA) that assessment and accreditation of universities and colleges by the NAAC has been made mandatory. Universities have to get themselves assessed and accredited by 31 December, 2000 and colleges by 31 December, 2003. He stated that the institutions getting rank 0 would be “disaffiliated and closed down”, and those getting rank 2 or 1 would be under watch or special watch respectively. If they don’t improve in due course of time, he added, they would face similar action. Institutions getting rank 5, 4 and 3 and would be rated outstanding, very good and good. Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 7

May 6, 2009

Towards Autocratic & Private Control of Higher Education (UECI To Replace UGC)

The strong resistance by the teachers’ movement all over the country to the recent measures taken by the BJP government at the Centre to slowly dismantle the higher education in the country, has made the political boss in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, and the BJP appointee to head the UGC, desperate.

In order to force their system of higher education down the throats of teachers, they have come out with yet another proposal to transform the UGC with a new name and new agenda, into an all powerful body wielding total control over colleges and universities all over the country. Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 8

May 6, 2009

Self-Financing Private Universities: Reserved for the Rich

The Central Government is trying to revive the Private Universities (Establishment and Regulation) Bill [60], which was introduced in Rajya Sabha in August 1995 and referred to the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development. Ever since, the Bill has been lying in the archives of the Parliament. The Bill, if becomes an Act, will be used as an instrument for the privatization and commercialization of higher education. Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 9

May 6, 2009

Reject Ambani-Birla Report on Education

Since the time the BJP Government has come to power at the Centre, the attacks on higher education have increased manifold. Having surrendered to the World Bank, the BJP Government is now implementing its prescriptions in the field of higher education as well. Treating the higher education as a non-merit good, as dictated by the World Bank, this Government has already taken steps to gradually withdraw funding of institutions of higher education, restrict the access to higher education, recover a big part of expenditure from the students as fees, and privatise and commercialise higher education. It has also decided to impose autonomous status on colleges, and the assessment and accreditation of universities and colleges have been made mandatory. Read the rest of this entry »


May 6, 2009

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