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Kerala | Kerala Education

The Indian Educational Scenario
India needs to urgently revamp the primary and secondary education also to connect better with the high class quality that will be available in the higher educational sphere. The first priority should be given to quality and relevance of the curriculum taught here. Absenteeism, drop out and lack of qualified teachers will also have to be addressed on a war footing. There should be better levels of co-ordination between the levels of teaching and the availability of teaching aids and materials. The learning levels of the individual student must be monitored. There should be consistency between the skills taught in the primary and secondary levels and the requirements of the institutions for higher education. There should also be consistency between these skills and the needs of the economy. The needs of the government, the public sector and the private sector has to be continuously evaluated and changes in curriculum should be ensured well in advance to meet the special requirements at the right time. The government should play a strong and significant role in setting educational standards and regulations, improving and monitoring the quality of academic programmes, and coordinating the whole spectrum of education which includes innumerable players at various levels.India runs the third largest higher educational system. Now only less than 10% of the youth have access to higher education. If India is to be among the group of developed countries, it must provide access to higher education and technological skill for at least 20% of the relevant age group by the year 2020. But even now the country is able to provide the third greatest pool of skilled man power. The mainstay of the public universities are the arts, science and commerce courses. There is also a decline in enrolment in pure sciences and a rise in management courses. But the Government has many schemes to attract students to the pure science courses by offering scholarships and many incentives in employment. In the Southern and Western states of India, the presence of a larger percentage of Christian population encouraged many minority groups to set up private colleges to accommodate students who already had the tradition of English medium education at the secondary level and who could financially afford the professional education but failed to get admission in the public universities on the basis of merit and open competition. The public institutions are also at a disadvantage as they are unable to cater to the short term market needs in terms of courses of study like the private institutions. There are more than 17000 colleges, 40 Central Universities under the Ministry of Human Resources Development and 5 that are not under the Ministry, 329 State Universities, 207 Private Universities and a number of Deemed Universities under the University Grants commission. There are also 73 Institutions of National Importance. Apart from these are the many private institutions that provide courses leading to Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and Post graduate Degrees. There are a host of famous institutes like the chain of Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), and its School of social Sciences, the National Law University and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The unique system of Ayurveda and Sanskrit education which are unavailable anywhere else also makes India a favoured destination of students interested in these.
Privatization of Educational Institutions
“All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talent” - John F Kennedy. The Liberalization, Privatization and Globalisation policy of the 90s gave an impetus for large scale private participation in the area of higher education. The scope for investment in private education is growing as there is a large percentage of people under the age of 30 and a burgeoning middle class that is ready to invest for quality higher education. According to the survey conducted by FICCI and Ernest and young, 91% of the Engineering Schools, 95% of Pharmacy, 64% in Business Management and 50% of medical schools in India are non- governmental. Higher education worldwide and its future direction are neither simple nor straightforward topics. In higher education, where we are so often bound by the constraints of national thinking, a comparative perspective is especially valuable because academic institutions worldwide stem from common traditions, and the issues facing higher education around the world have many common characteristics. While the USA has about 7000 and China has around 4500, India has more than 31000 institutes which make it the largest provider of higher education. This has resulted in universities from countries like the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore collaborating with the private sector in education in India. The largest in this sector is in the Engineering section followed by Hotel Management. The Indian universities also attract large numbers of students from outside the country. The affordability, lower cost of living and the large English speaking population attract more students here. The Indian diaspora also prefer to have their children educated in India as it is cost effective and keep the children in touch with the tradition and culture of their motherland. Thousands of students join the private institutions as they either fail to get into the very few governmental institutes or are unable to get the subject of their choice. The Government of India has decided to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India. Experts in the field also believe that it would be beneficial for the country if a strategy to partner with prestigious universities abroad is developed to pursue collaboration for faculty development and research enhancement. In the years to come India is sure to develop into a trusted international educational destination. Partnership between Indian and foreign universities will help attract and retain high quality staff. Studying in these institutions will ensure the students of receiving internationally recognized credentials. Collaboration between the universities and the industry will ensure consistency between research and the needs of the economy. Various international scholarships are available for students who come to India. They are available in various streams from the graduate level to the doctoral level. Most of these scholarships are given to those brilliant students who may have had to give up their studies and research due to financial constraints. There are also many fellowships available for those who are interested in research. Some fellowships are also meant to promote cultural interaction among students from different countries.
Prospects of Quality Higher Education in Kerala
The state can boast of a glorious legacy in education Even in the 14th and 15th centuries there were centres of higher learning in Kerala which, apart from the common subjects of study, offered courses in Vedic studies, astronomy and mathematics. Today Kerala has the distinction of being the most literate state in the country. It was also the first state to fulfill the constitutional mandate of providing universal, free, primary education to all the children up to the age of fourteen years. In 1991 Kerala became the first state to be declared as 100 per cent literate. In the field of High School education Kerala is ahead of all other states. Kerala provides free school education to all. There is near universal enrolment and the drop out level is low. More than 94% or the rural population has a primary school within a distance of one kilometre. 98% of the population is served by a school within the distance of two kilometres. A similar percentage of the population gets the benefit of an upper primary school within a distance of three kilometres. More than 98% of the population has secondary schools within a distance of 8 kilometres. The education scene in Kerala has always been dominated by private agencies. But today there is an increase in unaided schools and self-financing courses and institutions in the higher education and technical education sectors. Job oriented courses like nursing, medical, engineering and management are mostly run by the self-financing sector. Schools and colleges in Kerala are run by the government, private trusts as well as individuals. Schools are affiliated to the Kerala State Education Board, Central Board of Secondary Education, Indian Certificate of Secondary Education and the National Institute of Open Schooling. There are 3 Central Universities, 13 State Universities and 2 Deemed Universities in Kerala. Under the three bodies a large number of Arts and Science Colleges as well as Professional Colleges have been functioning well. The higher education in Kerala received a significant incentive with the clearance for the self financing institutions which led to full - fledged private participation in the sector, till then, the private participation had been through private aided colleges which received public funds but were managed by private establishments mostly of the nature of voluntary or charitable trusts. There is a new trend of ‘non-formal’ educational institutions. They are run on a purely commercial basis and offer job-oriented courses. They are not affiliated to any University or government. Though there is no reliable estimate of such institutions and of the number of students who are enrolled in them, it can be clearly understood that their numbers are not small. The Arts and science colleges now also offer job-oriented courses. They are offered by the existing aided private colleges as well as the newly established self-financing colleges.
The Higher education in Kerala is controlled by three bodies - the Department of Collegiate Education, The Kerala State Higher Education Council and the Co-operative Academy of Professional Education.
The Department of Collegiate Education: The main aim of the Department of Collegiate Education is to provide the best quality higher education to the eligible students of the State who complete their Higher Secondary level education. For this various graduate and post graduate level courses in various subjects are conducted in the colleges under the Department.
The Kerala State Higher Education Council: The Council consists of three bodies namely, Advisory Council, Governing Council and Executive council. The 33 member Advisory Council is a body consisting of the Chief Minister, Minister for Education, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Minister for Law, Minister for Agriculture, representatives of the members of the Parliament from the State, members of the State legislature, members of three tier Panchayats, members of Municipalities, members of Corporations and eminent personalities from different walks of life. The Advisory Council will be responsible for giving guidance to the Council and to evaluate and suggest corrective measures to ensure the proper functioning of the Council. The Governing Council is a high power body chaired by the Minister for Education is responsible for taking final decision on all policy matters on behalf of the Council while the Executive Council chaired by the Vice-Chairman of the Council is responsible for the day to day functioning of the Council. The Council’s main responsibilities are to render advice to the Government, Universities and other institutions of higher education in the State, to coordinate the roles of the Government, Universities and apex regulatory agencies in higher education within the State to evolve new concepts and programmes in higher education and to provide common facilities in higher education.
Co-operative Academy of Professional Education: The Co-operative Academy of Professional Education, Kerala (CAPE) was formed to establish Educational Institutions in various professional fields to provide facilities for and promote Education and Training. The establishment of CAPEs first institution was in the year 1999-2000 followed by five Engineering colleges and a Medical college in 2000-2001. The first institution started was Co-operative Institute of Technology Vadakara, the others were College of Engineering Perumon, College of Engineering Thrikaripur, College of Engineering Thalassery, College of Engineering Kidangoor, Co-operative Medical College Kochi. These engineering colleges are affiliated to the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT). The College of Engineering & Management Punnapra was started during the academic year 2008 at Punnapra in Alleppey district which is affiliated to Kerala University. The Co-operative Medical College (CMC), Kochi is established with the approval of the Medical Council of India. The College of Nursing is also located in the Co-operative Medical College (CMC) campus, Kochi. Professionally executed, all the Engineering Colleges under CAPE are fully established with sprawling campuses of over 25 acres, well equipped labs and workshop, well stocked library, highly qualified and experienced faculty, career guidance and placement cell and transport facilities. The overwhelming public response to its educational mission has inspired CAPE to present to the community its business school, the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) at Punnapra which is affiliated to Kerala University. The CAPE finishing school, Kerala Institute of Making the Best (KIMB) is also started at Punnapra. Co-operative Hospital at Punnapra which is envisaged as the Satellite Hospital to the CMC, Kochi was inaugurated during 2010. Two more engineering Colleges - College of Engineering Pathanapuram and College of Engineering Aranmula were inaugurated in 2011. For MCA there are 5 Government Colleges, 3 Government Sponsored Self- financing colleges and 23 private self financing Colleges. The three reputed Music Academies in the State are already upgraded and affiliated to the Universities and Degree and PG courses are conducted in these institutions for getting maximum quality education to the students in music. RLV College of Music & Fine Arts imparts training for music, fine arts, Kathakali and Mohiniyattam, Sculpture and Modelling and it is only one of its kind in Kerala.
Knowledge on Demand
“Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference” - Jane Goodall. There is an ever increasing demand for higher levels of knowledge and technical skill. The availability of such training was much below demand under the old system. Hence more institutions have to be equipped to meet the growing demand of the students for specific choices. Through innovation and experiments many private institutions have been catering to their demand. The strength of this system lies in its diversity - providing quality education for the elite, vocational training for the job seeker and a general education for those who may not have the merit or the means. In Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Taipei, Indonesia and the Philippines, private institutions have been in the fore front in the educational field for a long time. They cater to more than 80% of the students. The trend is spreading to China, Vietnam and Cambodia, with China boasting of more than 1200 such institutions. The Chinese government supports these institutions by merging, dismantling and changing them to suit the national need. The change is visible in Russia also. Malaysia has more than 700 private colleges and universities and four foreign university campuses. The government there has plans to attract more students to these institutions from all over the world and convert Malaysia into an educational hub. In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has two private universities and 36 colleges.
Privatization
“If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people” - Chinese proverb. The time when the governments of the world could decide who should study what and where is long past. The system has become so vast, diverse and ever - changing that individuals and institutions with the requisite ability and vision have to put in their effort to provide education for all. Hence there has been a rapid growth in institutes of higher education in the private sector. In Latin America, apart from the old universities set up by the Catholic Church, new, profit-making educational institutions are coming up. Argentina has given provisional permission for a few private educational institutions. In Canada public institutions are looking for links with private organizations. As a result of this we see the traditional public institutions struggling for funds while the private, profit-making institutions are getting huge funding from the market. This trend is not likely to change. The success of the private educational institutions offering specialized training in management, technology, education etc. depends on the high quality of training and the world wide acceptance of the degrees they bestow. Many global firms enter into contracts with universities to be ensured of quality man power for their technological and other requirements. Their aim also includes the distribution of their knowledge-based products. Science Parks established on a public-private partnership basis have been giving a good boost to research activities. Many emerging high tech firms in China and other ASEAN countries have been making use of the services of such Science Parks in Singapore, Japan and Taipei. India has shown remarkable innovation in the field of education. Breaking the traditional concept of education for a select few elite, the government has gone all out to make basic education mandatory and higher education available to all those who aspire for it. This has made India the third largest in higher educational system in the world and also the third largest pool of skilled manpower. But even this is not enough to accommodate a large percentage of India’s youth. The Government, with the able support of the private sector has to provide much more in increasing the availability of educational infrastructure here.
Lifelong Learning
India is the process of initiating and developing a system of lifelong learning, which encompasses learning from early childhood through retirement and includes formal learning, non-formal learning and informal learning. In the lifelong learning model, people are motivated to learn on a continuing basis, are equipped with the skills to engage in self-directed learning, given access to opportunities for learning throughout their lives, and offered financial and cultural incentives to participate in lifelong learning. Innovative learning methods like the programmes for study online must also be encouraged. With a strong base in technology already available India can lead in the field of online, virtual and distance education. There are many public, private profit making and non-profit making institutions run by individuals, minorities, religious groups, and corporate bodies that cater to this mode of education. They can cater to the demand of the moment with less expenditure and no constraints on infrastructure, time and space that hamper the regular institutions. The Indira Gandhi National Open University is the chief player in this field serving the educational aspirations of over 3 million students in India and other countries through 21 schools of Studies and a net work of 67 regional centres, around 2667 learner support centres and 29 overseas partner institutions.


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