12th plan to restore value to degrees: Planning Commission adviser

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 15, 2013 11:50 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Public confidence in the value of educational degrees is diminishing, which the 12th five-year plan hopes to restore by improving quality of education and professional development of teachers, said Pawan Agarwal, adviser (education), Planning Commission, Friday.

Agarwal made the observations while delivering the keynote address on the second and last day of an education summit, organised at India International Centre here by the Education Promotion Society for India (EPSI), an apex body of over 500 higher education institutions.

The Planning Commission advocates setting up community colleges that will deliver short-cycle, low-cost skills to 2.5 million learners at their doorsteps, said Agarwal, who has authored books on higher education.

In the backdrop of hundreds of business schools closing down in the last 24 months, Amit Agnihotri, chairman, MBAUniverse.com, which conducted a survey on education in India, advocated a strong focus on learning outcomes, corporate engagement, credible marketing and brand-building as prescriptions for success.

At a session on technology, B.N. Jain, vice chancellor, Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences in Pilani in Rajasthan, shared how their institution created a networked campus by deploying technology, said an EPSI statement.

They relied on BITSAT for online testing of 132,000 prospective students, hiring 200 faculty members from 3,000 applications without moving a single paper, satisfaction surveys on the performance of faculty, administrative staff and students electronically, a strong internet backbone that enables email, student administration, performance management and certification.

M.J. Xavier, director, Indian Institute of Management (IIM)- Ranchi, illustrated how previously delivered faculty lectures were available digitally as students' prior preparation exercise, enabling both the teacher and the taught to focus on enquiry, discussion and debate.

Students no longer need to be physically present in the class as using technology, they could be attending them digitally, he said.

In a session on leadership success 'sutras', Indira Parikh, former professor, IIM-Ahmedabad, enumerated how a creative ambience, strong focus on student discipline and non-interference by the promoter-owners in the academic processes have helped institutions such as FLAME (Foundation for Liberal and Management Education) in Pune to succeed.

D.N.V. Kumara Guru, director, external relations, Indian School of Business, said the key success factors for a new business institution lie in building good infrastructure, creating right alliances and partnerships and a clear focus on learning outcomes.

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