Can we really talk about quality when most engineering students will not even know how to apply Ohm’s Law? he asks, with enthusiasm and a well-measured sense of idealism.

That’s E. Balaguruswamy, member of the Union Public Service Commission.

Speaking to The Hindu Education Plus on the sidelines of the Confederation of Indian Industry-Institute of Quality (CII-IQ) summit on ‘Quality in Education’, Prof. Balaguruswamy dismisses the current educational and assessment system. While he openly talks about corruption in colleges and regulatory bodies in the country, he says that this apathy has resulted in a sharp deterioration of quality in education. “One can hold several seminars and pontificate on the quality of education, but if everyone did their job properly, such seminars would be redundant,” he argues.

‘Briefcase culture’

He blames the “briefcase culture” which sends people to Delhi (where the regulatory bodies sit) in a bid to subvert the system to their own advantage.

Recollecting an instance when an engineering college functioned for three years without an electrical connection, he points out that colleges and managements are now functioning purely in a profiteering mode.

“If you can take hour-long interviews for professors, can you not interview the man who wants to open one educational institution after the other,” he says. So, what is the solution? “Simple!” he exclaims, “Don’t give them permission.”

Having said that, how does one address this skill shortage that every industry is facing today? “We need more professionals everywhere but it needs to be planned properly. You cannot expand without consolidation but what needs to be changed foremost is attitudes.