This refers to the article, “For access and excellence in higher education” (April 24). The initiative to allow foreign education providers to set up shop reflects our ineptness in handling higher education. We already have a large number of universities. But the bitter fact is that quality of education is cruelly compromised. India cannot meet its future challenges unless we stop treating higher education as a business. There is an urgent need to upgrade the facilities in the existing universities rather than encourage foreign tags. Impart locally — and not import — knowledge and intelligence.

Ippili Santhosh Kumar,


It is true that quality can be ensured only through an internal process. But in the teaching profession there is no standard means to assess this internal process and its success wholly depends on the ability of teachers. Even if we spend exorbitant sums on faculty improvement, there is no objective means of assessment to ensure that the process works.

So, what is the harm in inviting foreign universities and relying on “competition” for quality improvement?

Jeny Rapheal,


One has to look at the larger, countrywide picture before alleging that the “IITs and IIMs contribute little to the improvement of Indian higher education.” It is an astonishing surmise that the “avowed mission of public universities is to contribute to nation-building.” What goal has been set and achieved by any of our public universities? What study of basic discipline, research, and extension in real terms, is the author talking about? How does our rice-per-hectare production compare with that of other developing countries? Are we able to design even a passable engine for our Main Battle Tank after spending thousands of crores of rupees?

Why should foreign universities be expected to possess ‘altruistic' motives? Are our IITs and IIMs planning to set up shop abroad with altruistic motives? Considering “foreign labels” as superior is not a colonial hangover. It is a bitter reality. Mr. Sibal's proposed invitation to foreign institutions is an admission that our own universities have become incorrigibly rotten.

K.S. Ramakrishnan,


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