Academic Liberty Is An Ivy League Must-have - Plush Ink Academic Liberty Is An Ivy League Must-have - Plush Ink

Academic liberty is an Ivy League must-have

Independent India’s early emphasis on higher education underpinned by a ‘scientific temper’ has played a significant role in the emergence of our economy. Opening this sector up for foreign universities to set up local campuses, as the country is doing 75 years on, might seem odd from a nationalist lens, given the sector’s intellectual influence, but has been talked up as a liberalization move of the kind made in other sectors. With easy repatriation of funds to go with autonomy over fees and admission criteria as bait, India aims to lure investment by academic institutions, reduce the dollar outflows of Indians studying abroad, and enhance domestic quality through exposure to global competition at home. All of this could happen. As for an increased external imprint on Indian minds, a web-linked world makes this a question of principle more than practical application. We should simply follow Mahatma Gandhi’s advice: Let’s keep our windows open to the world but not get blown off our feet by winds from anywhere.

Yet, we must temper our expectations of what this bold removal of an entry barrier will achieve. Indian demand for education—or at least for graduate degrees—has been rising robustly, as seen in an annual scramble for college seats that are scarce at home and costly abroad. Since studying overseas has a charm of its own, though, only a fraction of outbound students can be retained in India by asking the world’s top 500 universities to enter, so it will probably let us down as a device to save foreign exchange. The supply response to India’s big policy move might turn out to be more iffy than gushy too, since such major decisions of expansion are never taken lightly. After all, the pursuit of enrolments in this field is at the other end of the spectrum from customers sought via a network of fast-food franchises.

As for scale, edutech models already offer vast scope. The main strategic choice educators face is to either go mass market over the internet or ‘ivy up’ by staying exclusive and betting on the value of campus life, especially what’s unique to it. Brick-and-mortar extension may be neither here nor there. Among those open to an Indian branch, any risk of ‘mission creep’ detected in a guideline against putting India’s “national interest” in jeopardy might act as a put-off. From rejigs of caste quotas to revisions of history, much is claimed to serve that cause.

Global interest in our market from the world’s top educational services would likely pivot on academic freedom, which is what the US has long excelled at. If this can credibly be assured, India could someday be a crucible for thoughts and ideas to blend, ready to leap ahead with research and expand the frontiers of knowledge. Right now, as an Ivy League undergrad could testify, what we are taught as fact is at odds with Western academia on more than just the map of Kashmir. Indeed, if India is to emerge as a land of learning, let alone a ‘vishwaguru’ or world guide, we will need to match America on academic liberty as a basic must. To take this challenge on, we could take inspiration from the Mediterranean ferment that awakened Europe and sprang it ahead in the middle ages. Minds engaged across diverse precepts played a starring role in those quests for truth and rejections of falsehood that gave us the scientific method. All said, to test our strategic advantage in higher education, we must focus on base conditions. With these in place, everyone is likely to excel—including, or perhaps especially, our very own institutions.

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint.
Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.


Source link

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Common phrases by