For India, where plenty of capacity has been created in higher education, quality of teaching should become the focus now, particularly in private sector institutions, according to Raghuram G. Rajan, Chief Economic Advisor, Union Ministry of Finance.

This was imperative since lot of education will come from the private sector and for ensuring that the students passing out need not be re-educated by companies that recruit them, he said here on Saturday. Prof.Rajan was delivering the fourth Kuruvila Jacob memorial oration organised as part of the tenth annual function of the Kuruvila Jacob Initiative for Promoting Excellence in School Education.

Speaking on ‘what can we do to build a higher education system in India?, where we are and why we need this,’ he suggested that it was time to measure the output. Such an assessment should also be treated an input for the accreditation process of the institutions. The engineering student should at least be able to design if not build a bridge.

Capacity wise there were no issues, he said, citing media reports of no takers for hundreds of seats in engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu. Quality institutions to train and teach the teachers and those where ideas were nurtured were the need of the hour. Good education, he said, was the surest way to a good job.

A passion for teaching was extremely important otherwise schools will degenerate, Prof.Rajan said, underscoring the need for full transparency with regard to the opportunities that exist for the students. This would help avoid situations where after engineering the student takes up manual labour, an indication of how much they have been hurt by the system.

The culture of an institution come from founding fathers, he said, adding that educationist Kuruvila Jacob was a visionary, who achieved multiple objectives with multiple instruments.

Students and alumni of Madras Christian College High School launched the Kuruvila Jacob Initiative for Promoting Excellence in School Education in 2004 to mark the centenary year of the educationist, who was the headmaster of their school. The function was organised by the Kuruvila Jacob Memorial Educational Trust.

Convenor S.Viji said the educationist, who was also principal of schools in Hyderbad and Mumbai, laid emphasis on all round development of students. Another Convenor, N.Murali, said though the initiative, started in a small way, provided a sense of fulfilment, there still was some way to cover.