Higher Education Quality Mandate (The
Mains Paper 2: Governance
Prelims level: UGC
Mains level: Steps taken towards higher education development process
- Aiming to improve the quality in Higher Education Institutions the
University Grants Commission has adopted the Higher Education Quality
Improvement Programme Mandate.
- 5 verticals of Quality Mandate developed by UGC cover evaluation
reforms, eco friendly and sustainable university campuses, human values and
professional ethics, faculty
induction and academic research integrity.
- Innovation and human capital the two pillars of labour productivity and
GDP growth, largely depends on the quality of higher education. According to
the India Skills Report-2019, only 47% of Indian graduates are employable,
which is exacerbated by startlingly low Faculty Figures.
- Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015, SDG4 is
dedicated to education.
- Higher education is mentioned in target 4.3 of SDG4 – “By 2030, ensure
equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical,
vocational and tertiary education, including university.”
- Faculty vacancies at government institutions are at 50% on average. The
problem lies in increased demand, and stagnant supply.
- The number of institutions has surged in India since the 2000s, while
the number of students doing PhD has remained constant.
- Meanwhile, there are over 1,00,000 India born PhDs in universities
around the world, kept away by paltry salaries and poor funding.
- Indian R&D expenditure at 0.62% of GDP is one of the lowest in emerging
Publications of Research:
- Faculty are under pressure to produce a certain number of papers to Gain
- This often makes them publish papers in journals that may not be of high
- This also means that there is more emphasis on publishing papers than on
Lack of quality faculty:
- Teaching and research in any university depends on the quality of
faculty as well as the quality of students.
- The quality of teaching depends on the quality of teachers.
- For teachers to impart knowledge to students they must have a broad
knowledge of their subject matter as well as enthusiasm and a desire for
learning throughout the course of their career.
- Quality education is expensive in India.
- India has severely under-invested in education over the last 40 years,
not much have been invested in R&D, and today even the top institutions are
having very poor laboratory facilities.
Large scale expansion:
- We expanded education very rapidly –India has larger number of
institutions than China, both in terms of colleges and universities.
- In the process of standardisation of such institutions, India has erred
by creating one single framework, where examinations became the only way to
- This led to the mushrooming of coaching classes and anybody who could
get ranks by studying in such coaching institutes were celebrated.
Lack of leadership:
- The heads of universities are often appointed with Political
- Vice-Chancellors are selected merely because they have the right
political connections in the Ministry of Human Resource Development in the
case of central universities, or appropriate political or caste affiliations
in the concerned state.
- Also, in many cases, they pay huge amounts of money for the posts that
are most visible symbols of the university system.
What are the UGC mandates?
- The University Grants Commission (UGC) of India is a statutory body set
up in 1956, and is charged with coordination, determination and maintenance
of standards of higher education.
The UGC’s Mandate Includes:
- Determining and maintaining standards of teaching, examination and
research in universities.
- Framing regulations on minimum standards of education.
- Overseeing distribution of grants to universities and colleges in India.
- Providing scholarships/fellowships to Beneficiaries.
- Monitoring conformity to its regulations by universities and colleges.
- Serving as a vital link between the Union and state governments and
institutions of higher learning.
Why is UGC a failure?
- Though the number of universities and student enrolment has been
increasing, the quality of education is still lagging behind, which is
attributed to UGC.
- UGC’s policies suffer from two diametrically opposite issues—underregulation
and over-regulation.While it lets smaller substandard institutions slip by
as deemed universities, it also instigates witch-hunts against reputed
- Hence, it is argued that UGC has not only failed to fulfil its mandate
but also has not been able to deal with emerging diverse complexities.
What is the quality mandate in 2019?
- The quality mandate aims at evolving higher education system to equip
the country’s next generation with vital skills, knowledge and ethics for
leading a rewarding life.
- UGC released five documents concerning the 5 verticals of Quality
covers- 1) Evaluation Reforms, 2) Eco-Friendly and Sustainable University
Campuses, 3) Human Values & Professional Ethics, 4) Faculty Induction, 5)
Academic Research Integrity
- SATAT– Framework for Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Campus development in
Higher Educational Institutions.
- Mulya Pravah – Guidelines for Inculcation of Human values and
Professional Ethics in Higher Educational Institutions.
- Guru-Dakshta – A guide to Faculty Induction Programme (FIP) to improve
- Consortium for Academic and Research Ethics (UGC-CARE) to continuously
monitor and identify quality journals across disciplines.
- ‘Paramarsh’ – To mentor aspirant institutions for promoting quality
assurance in higher education and facilitate National Accreditation and
Assessment Council (NAAC) Accreditation.
- India is one of the youngest nations in the world, where the college-age
group is growing at large. Where as in the QS World University
Rankings-2015, only two Indian universities were featured in the top 200,
while just 10 made it into the top 700.
- Therefore, the quality of education should be oriented more towards
employability than rote learning.
- Information and Communication Technology (ICT)– should be utilized to
improve the quality of higher education.
- India shall consider moving towards Learning Outcome based curriculum
- Continuous internal evaluation– can help in identifying Behavioural
outcome of individuals.
- In terms of faculty selection and promotion – it should be based on
proper selection committee.
- Brain Drain from the country – shall be reduced by appropriate schemes.
- China solved this problem by attracting Chinese-origin PhDs back home
with dollar salaries and monetary incentives for published research.
- With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI), almost 40-50% of
existing jobs would be heavily automated. This is the right time for the
Indian Higher Education institutions to improve their quality to match
international standards and enhance the employability of the students.
Q1. With reference to the ‘presumption of constitutionality’, consider the
1. It is the legal principle that the judiciary should presume statutes
enacted by the legislature to be constitutional, unless the law is clearly
unconstitutional or a fundamental right is implicated.
2. The presumption is absolute in nature.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. All the above
Q1. What are the structural flaws in Indian education system?