Educational institutions: India
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Governmental educational institutions
Obtaining government permission
Sale of LoI invalid
The Times of India, Aug 14 2016
LoI to edu institutes can't be sold: PMO, HRD agree
The prime minister's office and HRD ministry have resolved the contentious issue over Letter of Intent (LoI) that is to be given to private parties which qualify to set up world class educational institutions. It has been decided that LoI cannot be sold or given away to another promoter.
Earlier, there was an impasse between PMO and HRD on LoI. In the draft regulation sent to PMO, the HRD ministry had made it clear that LoI cannot be sold. But PMO was of the opinion that promoter who was awarded LoI can sell it to another promoter if per mitted by the committee that grants LoI.
Sources said if LoI had been allowed to be traded, it could lead to a scam like the 2G in which many allottees had sold their licence to other companies at astronomical prices. “LoI will be for creating world class institutions within a stipulated period. It will be given only after strictest scrutiny and examining the financial capability of the institution,“ a source said.
Regulations have been sent to the law ministry for vetting and will soon go to the Cabinet. Since the government has decided not to take the legislative route, im mediately after the Cabinet nod a committee will invite proposals from public and private institutions. Even new players without any experience in the field of education but with a sound proposal can apply .
While the government has promised it will financially help public institutions, private institutions will have to organise their own resources.
Private educational institutions
Emergence of a new trend: 2000 onwards
India Today, August 31, 2015
A number of private universities have emerged which are tuned into the needs of changing times and come equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, giving state-run universities a run for their students.
The drift of bright students from seeking admissions in public universities to the privately run universities, a trickle in the early 2000s, is now a steady flow as the pan-India demand for higher education rises. A number of private universities have emerged which are tuned into the needs of changing times and come equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, giving state-run universities a run for their students. The methods of teaching and the tools deployed are also going through a paradigm shift with cloud computing-based methods of study, wi-fi-enabled campuses, Skype conferences with faculty and teachers of universities abroad, and new and diverse curricula that imparts multi-skilling along with learning.
CONTENT IS THE CORE
For privately run universities, the priority is to offer courses relevant to job skills alongside traditional subjects. The Shiv Nadar University (SNU) in Greater Noida, founded in 2011, is characterised by its strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research, with centres such as the Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory, Big Data Analytics Centre, Centre for Emerging Societies and Centre for Informatics. With 14 undergraduate, 12 graduate and 13 doctoral programmes, there are presently four schools at the university-engineering, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences, and management and entrepreneurship.
The undergraduate curriculum at SNU is designed such that it allows students to major in a particular subject while also studying and experimenting with a range of other minor and elective subjects. The key highlight of the curriculum is that it stresses upon the need for experiential learning and co-curricular activities with all students required to participate in some form of internship or service learning programme in addition to conducting research both within and outside the classroom or laboratory setting. "It provides them a real-world context for their learning," explains its founding Vice Chancellor Nikhil Sinha.
The Galgotias University, Greater Noida, also founded in 2011, has carved a niche for itself through its industry-driven curriculum. Some of its schools have been formulated in collaboration with reputed entities such as KPMG for the business school, Max Institute of Health Education & Research for the nursing school and IBM for the computing science school.
Since its inception in 2005, Amity University has grown rapidly beyond its first campus in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, to eight more universities in different states besides opening 10 international campuses and a full-fledged university in Dubai. It offers a vast range of courses, from actuarial science, applied science, architecture, design, and fashion to aerospace engineering, neuropsychology, solar engineering, forensic science and robotics. Soft skills such as foreign languages and business communication are added to every programme. "We believe that the foundation of a strong country is built on the pillars of science and technology, therefore we promote these domains. An Amity Science, Technology and Innovation Foundation has also been set up to support research," says Atul Chauhan, chancellor of Amity University. The university claims to have filed over 607 patents in areas such as biotechnology, nanotechnology and information technology. The Kalasalingam University (KLU), Krishnankoil, Tamil Nadu, started in 1984 allows researchers in its laboratories the flexibility to even make changes in the syllabus if they find something new and interesting. Every semester, three to five students are sent to present papers at conferences abroad. The Shri Ramswaroop Memorial University (SRMU), Lucknow, set up in 2012 by two IIT-Kanpur gold medallists, Pankaj Agarwal, its chancellor, and Pooja Agarwal, the pro-chancellor, runs six academic institutes in distinct streams such as technology, biotechnology and natural sciences offering more than 35 undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and interdisciplinary studies programmes. "We have introduced LabVIEW using advanced software to enable students and researchers to perform virtual experiments at the click of a button," says Pankaj Agarwal. For those focused on niche areas, private universities offer exclusive enrichment opportunities. At the Ajeenkya DY Patil University in Navi Mumbai, admirers of Dilip Chhabria of DC Design fame can learn from him as he is a mentor of the DYPDC School of Design, which offers six courses in design and digital modelling. Students have to participate in building and testing prototype designs and undertake industry-oriented design projects as part of the curriculum. The programme is largely studio-based, which promotes research, experimentation, analysis and self-critique. The Ashoka University in Sonepat, Haryana, founded by 40 philanthropists who pooled their thoughts, ideas, resources and responsibilities to create an institution unique in its approach to the liberal arts, has in 2014 opened a dedicated liberal arts college for undergraduate students. It offers an international module which transcends the boundaries between an arts and science education. "Our vision is to be one of the top universities in the world by 2025," says Vineet Gupta, founder and pro vice chancellor, Ashoka University. Students here are given the opportunity to explore a variety of subjects available in their first year before they decide on their specialisation for the next two years. The flexible curriculum allows students to choose from different major courses-computer science, philosophy, economics, political science, English, psychology, history, mathematics, sociology and anthropology-in addition to 15 minor courses ranging from performing arts to international relations.
Similarly, with its focus on engineering and technology, the Manipal University Jaipur, established in 2011, is offering courses in mechatronics, automobiles, computers and communications. "Our aim is to increase domain knowledge to an extent that students make their own degrees," says Sandeep Sancheti, president of the university. Students are even returned their mid-semester examination answer sheets to assess where they stand vis-a-vis their classmates.
ACCENT ON RESEARCH
Older ones such as the Sathyabama University, Chennai, set up in 1987, which offers courses in 24 branches of engineering each at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, are striving to provide state-of-the-art facilities in engineering education and research. Its Centre for Waste Management, set up in association with the National Solid Waste Association of India, offers MSc in Energy Science, MTech in Green Engineering and Technology and several other courses. "The research centre focuses on handling and reusing waste with the help of innovative technology. We have a biodiesel plant with a 50-litre capacity that converts the cooking oil used in our mess into biodiesel to run two of our university buses," says the university Dean T. Sasipraba. In 2014 the university set up a Rs 4-crore Centre of Excellence in Energy Research, where research on solar cells, fuel cells and bio energy is carried out. Sathyabama University has also exclusive centres for nanoscience and nanotechnology, climate change and ocean research. "We have a state-of-the-art martial science research facility, where new materials such as high temperature coatings, satellite applications and wear-resistant coatings are developed. Students and faculty members have designed and developed a satellite in association with ISRO which will be launched in March 2016. It will be used to monitor pollution and greenhouse gas emission in the Indian subcontinent," says Sasipraba.
An added advantage for the newer universities is the opportunity to build and develop campuses with modern facilities. Take the case of the Brij Mohan Lall Munjal University (BMU), Gurgaon, founded in 2014, which has an innovatively designed campus. Designed by HOK, a US-based global design, architecture and urban planning firm, the campus has unique features such as new-age laboratories, a plush auditorium, multiple dining options and a gymnasium. It has also in place latest CNC (computer numerical control) machines for its students for practical training-which are way ahead than what the industries are using-and the 3D printers at BMU are even used by companies for making prototypes. SRMU in Lucknow has introduced an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)-based system with academic, finance and HR solutions to enable its administrators track everyone on campus round-the-clock. This ensures that every teacher uploads his lesson plan on the ERP system before taking the class and the attendance of students is recorded, a feature that has made the university a major attraction for parents. KLU in Krishnankoil, Tamil Nadu, has an unique Student Information System (SIS) through which all the students' academic requirements are made available to them, their parents and their local guardians in one database. This elaborate network lists students' performances semester-wise, with credits and attendance details on every course recorded, making reference a lot easier. "We believe in using technology to instil more effectiveness on the part of the teachers and simplify processes of learning for the students," says S. Saravana Sankar, vice chancellor, KLU. Nitte University, which was granted deemed university status in 2008 after it was founded in 1999 as a medical college by the late Supreme Court judge and former Lok Sabha speaker K.S. Hegde at Deralakatte, Mangaluru, Karnataka, is on a different track. "We assign every student to a mentor, one of the teachers, who is not only responsible for his or her education but also social well-being. Slow learners in particular are given special attention," says M.S. Moodithaya, the university's registrar. An unusual teaching technique employed by the university has students going through textbooks available online, prepare presentations and upload them.
BOND WITH THE BEST
Many of the private universities opt for international collaborations and depute its faculty and students for short stints abroad to acquaint themselves with the latest tools and techniques in pedagogy. Having the Imperial College London as its academic mentor, BMU in Gurgaon got it to design the management school curriculum and send visiting faculty. It even offers the option to its MBA students to do one semester in London. "For undergraduates, we offer courses in association with KPMG, one of the top four accounting firms in the world, and for postgraduates, we offer MBA in business analytics in collaboration with IBM," says Amitava Mitra, dean, School of Engineering and Technology, BMU. The university has also recently signed a letter of intent with Fraunhofer, Europe's largest applied research organisation. Galgotias has international collaborations with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Goethe University, Purdue University, University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and Anglia Ruskin University among others for exchange programmes. To instil a sense of social responsibility, it makes students participate in activities such as free medical check-ups for the surrounding villages through the school of nursing and free legal advice for villagers and undertrials in jail through the school of law KLU students are sent regularly on exchange programmes to institutions such as Soongsil University and Hannam University in Korea. In another tie-up with Tessolve, a semiconductor engineering services company based in Bengaluru and Coimbatore, KLU faculty are trained by the company and students get to intern for a stipend during the third semester. The students are then evaluated jointly by Tessolve and KLU and qualified students are employed by the company. Ashoka has partnered with King's College London, University of Pennsylvania, National University of Singapore, Yale University and several others for international exchange programmes where students can spend a summer or semester learning courses of their interest. Other universities keep placement prospects in mind when preparing and updating syllabi. "We have considered what Nasscom and World Bank have stated in their reports on the issues of education and employability when designing courses," says Narayan Das Agrawal, chairman, GLA University, founded in 2010, in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. Students, eager to acquire new skills and pursue what they want to do in life, experiment in the choice of their course of study while these universities introduce innovative interdisciplinary courses that are also relevant to job market needs. Courses at these universities cost more when compared to that at state-run universities, but to widen the opportunity these emerging universities offer scholarships and other incentives with a few offering grants ranging from 25 per cent to 100 per cent of the fees for economically challenged students. What students want is to make the transition from university to workplace smooth, and private universities, with their market sensitivity, are increasingly becoming more effective enablers of this transition.