RBC President says Canadian Businesses Must Help Expand Co-op Education

Source: Globe & Mail via Academica

RBC President David McKay has contributed an op-ed to the Globe and Mail highlighting the benefits of co-op education for students and employers. McKay says that co-op education “has become a proven way to prepare students for a world in which change is accelerating and challenges are growing ever more complex.” He says that co-op exposes students to new ideas, experiences, and ways of working, while helping to create a critical bridge between employers and PSE. McKay argues that Canada is falling behind other nations when it comes to blending work and learning. He calls on employers to take the lead in stressing the importance of co-op education and increasing the depth and quality of placements.

Only 10% of Students Have Access to Higher Education in Country

Source: Times of India via Newswatch India | January 5, 2014

NEW DELHI: Access to education beyond higher secondary schooling is a mere 10% among the university-age population in India. This is the finding of a report “Intergenerational and Regional Differentials in Higher Education in India” authored by development economist, Abusaleh Shariff of the Delhi-based Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy and Amit Sharma, research analyst of the National Council of Applied Economic Research.  
The report says that a huge disparity exists — as far as access to higher education is concerned — across gender, socio-economic religious groups and geographical regions. The skew is most marked across regions. Thus, a dalit or Muslim in south India, though from the most disadvantaged among communities, would have better access to higher education than even upper caste Hindus in many other regions. Interestingly, people living in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal — designated as the north central region — and those in northeast India have the worst access to higher education. Those in southern India and in the northern region — consisting of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Haryana and Delhi — are relatively better placed in this regard.  
In the age group 22-35 years, over 15% in the northern region and 13% in the southern region have access to higher education. In the north-central region, the number is just 10% for men and 6% for women whereas in the northeast, only 8% men and 4% women have access to higher education.  
The report, brought out by the US-India Policy Institute in Washington, is based on data from the 64th round of NSSO survey 2007-08. It throws up quite a few other interesting facts. For instance, among communities, tribals and dalits fare worst with just 1.8% of them having any higher education. Muslims are almost as badly off, with just 2.1% able to go for further learning. Similarly, just 2% of the rural population is educated beyond higher secondary level, compared to 12% of the urban population and just 3% of women got a college education compared to 6% of men.  
South India offers the best opportunities for socially inclusive access to higher education including technical education and education in English medium. For instance, the share of Hindu SC/ST in technical education in south India is about 22%, and the share of Muslims 25%. These were the lowest shares among all communities in south India. But this was higher than the share of most communities including Hindu OBCs and upper caste Hindus in most other regions. South India also has the highest proportion of higher education in the private sector at about 42%, followed by western India where it is 22%. The northeast has the least privatized higher education sector and is almost entirely dependent on government-run or aided institutions.  
Not surprisingly, government institutions are the cheapest places to study at, with annual expenditures ranging from less than Rs 1,000 to around Rs 1,500, except in north and south India, where the average is above Rs 2,000. Both private and private-aided institutions are quite costly, making them difficult to access for the poor. With little regulation of the quality of education and cost differentials, the poor and deprived are often trapped in low quality education, the report points out. It adds that although free education is provided at school level, it is almost non-existent at higher levels.  
The report also compares India’s low 10% access to higher education with China’s 22% enrolment and the 28% enrolment in the US. Since the early 1990s, China’s post-secondary enrolments grew from 5 million to 27 million, while India’s expanded from 5 million to just 13 million, says the report, while emphasizing that higher education has the potential to enhance productivity and economic value both at the individual and national levels.  
“The government has to urgently address the geographical skew in the availability of higher education facilities in the two regions of north-east and north-central,” says Shariff. “The central region, comprising Chhattisgarh, MP, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha, too needs attention. There is so much talk about a Harvard in India. I say, give two hoots to Harvard. What we need are thousands of community colleges that can offer professional courses so that youngsters can improve their skills and become employable.”

TCS Insights: In regards to the ability to access a higher education, disparities are apparent across a various groups in India. Due to a lack of regulation, in terms of the quality of education provided, not being able to afford a private institution can lead to individuals earning a poorer education because of where they are from, in addition to factors such as religious beliefs and gender. It is thought that increased enrolment in higher education has been linked to both individual and national improvements.

India Confronting Multiple Challenges, Crises in Higher Education: Ansari

Source: News Track India | January, 9, 2014

Lucknow, (ANI): Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari on Thursday said that India as a nation is facing multiple challenges and crises in terms of delivery in the higher education sector, and warned that if comprehensive correctives are not initiated, the demographic dividend would be severely compromised on the employability front in the years to come. 

He said that it was lamentable to note that in spite of the higher education system turning out nearly seven lakh science and engineering graduates every year,industry surveys have shown that only 25 percent of these are employable without further training. 

He said comprehensive correctives had to be applied on quality covering students, faculty and teaching, research and assessment standards while delivering an annual convocation address at the University of Lucknow. 

He said that any assessment of what ails “our institutions of higher education must begin with the quality of the school leavers that seek admission in them.” 

“The challenge here is to modulate the very considerable quality difference between the elite higher secondary schools in the public and private sectors on the one hand and the average or below average ones on the other, a difference that is often camouflaged by the variations in marking standards by different Boards,” he said. 

Ansari said that in the 21st century, the world is increasingly moving towards a knowledge economy, where industrial trade relations are being replaced by a complex system of information exchange. 

“This has shifted the focus to a nation’s abilities and resources to produce and generate new knowledge that can place it on top of the global power hierarchy. Countries are now required to match the global demand for skills with appropriate supply of human resources in order to remain competitive in the global market place,” he said. 

He expressed that a disturbing phenomenon is the lack of focus on research with only one per cent of the enrolled students pursuing research in various areas. 

According to data for 2009, India stood eleventh in terms of number of papers published, seventeenth in terms of the number of citations, and thirty fourth in terms of number of citations per paper. 

“Our research output as global share of scientific publications was a mere 3.5 per cent compared to 21 per cent of China. The total number of patent applications filed by Indians in 2010 comprised only 0.3 per cent of the total applications filed globally. The picture is no better in social sciences and humanities. In social sciences, India is 12th in ranking with 1.18 percent of global publication share compared to China’s 3rd rank and 5.14 percent share,” Ansari said. 

The vice president said that given the structure of the higher education system, the attainments of these objectives would need to be a collective effort of the central and state governments.

TCS Insights: It is said that various sectors of the Indian education system is in need of corrective actions. Ansari claims that further investments in research, similar to those seen in Canada, can make India increasingly competitive in the global knowledge economy.

PM for new approaches to address challenges in economy

Source: Economic Times via Indian Economic Business News

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underlined the need for new approaches to address challenges in infrastructure, education, energy, water and agriculture. In his inaugural address at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 8, the Prime Minister dwelt at length on the state of the economy and pointed out that despite the impressive performance and change on an enormous scale in the past two decades, India faced persisting challenges of poverty, equity, sustainability and opportunity. “Vulnerable sections of society, including our women, face enduring prejudices and continuing problems in a rapidly changing India,” he said. “Among the most positive stories out of India in recent years are the acceleration in the rate of poverty reduction, stronger growth in the poorest States and improved productivity and increased real wages in our agriculture sector. This is significant, given that 65 per cent of our population still relies on agriculture,” he noted. The country has just embarked on its 12th Five-Year Plan with the ambition to sustain an annual growth rate of 8 per cent. For this, we will require enormous resources, reforms in policies and institutions, new models of public-private partnership and community participation and innovation-driven science and technology.

Canada and India build closer educational ties

UniversityWorldNews, Issue 128, 2010

India is focusing on giving their students a global experience, and a new bill being passed by the Indian Parliament would bring vast progress and easier access for international universities.

Mr. Pawan Agarwal, author of Indian Higher Education: Envisioning the future and a West Bengal Government member of staff addressed a conference in Ottawa held by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada to promote India-Canada ties in higher education. He stated that with the right foundation, appropriate student recruitment, joint research project ventures and Government support, closer ties can be achieved.

The main reason towards this collaboration is to lessen the unfamiliarity of Canadian Universities and their reputation in India. Raising awareness is critical in overseas development work. Mr Agarwal mentioned that there were about 28,000 Indian students studying in Australia in comparison to a meager 2800 in Canada. Development of offshore campuses, collaborating with Indian institutes and extensive marketing are the ways to go for establishing strong presence in India. In the lines of Virginia tech and Georgia University, US opening off shore campuses in

Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Schulich School of business, York University, Canada has already taken a step forward to offer collaborative programs with SP Jain School of Management, Mumbai, India.

According to Mr Shashishekhar Gavai, Indian High Commissioner to Canada, research collaboration was another option of consideration. He mentioned that McGill and Carleton universities are interested in setting up Canada-India centres to address the Indian immigrants in Canada.

On India’s part, India has 26,200 educational institutions with over 15 million students which is expected to grow twice as much in the next few years due to the increased growth of middle and upper classes. Mr Agarwal would like to increase the number of mature students enrolling for post graduate programs, something that Canada has been successful at. He is expecting Canada to diversify growth in areas in addition to Management and Engineering.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper hosted a roundtable discussion with 15 presidents from Indian universities. With premiers of Canadian provinces Ontario and Quebec visiting India and expressing interest in pursuing closer ties with the Indian higher education system, 15 Canadian university presidents met in India in November to make progress. India has become a global giant that without considering Indian market there is no real global experience. These programs will also provide tremendous opportunities for Indian students looking to acquire world-class management training and prepare them for global careers in India and around the world.

This Indo-Canadian collaboration will provide students a diverse international perspective and an opportunity to synthesize Western efficiency and Eastern ethos.