It is the duty of the State to ensure quality in education. This is easier said than done in the Indian context. The University Grants Commission (UGC), for instance, was envisaged to be the sentinel of quality in higher education. But, over the decades, it embraced a simpler and more alluring role of dispensing educational grants. The importance of education, especially of higher education, is increasing by leaps and bounds. This is because much of our achievements since the commencement of globalization has been in the service and IT sector. In the meanwhile, education has been recognized as a fundamental right, akin to the right to life.
The poor academic profile of our institutions of higher education, viewed against global standards, is a cause for concern. This, notwithstanding, the aptitude of our young men and women has registered a quantum leap. The major reasons for our educational institutions continuing to languish in mediocrity are: dearth of accountability on the part of stake-holders in education, poor awareness regarding global norms, absence of popular pressure on the State and institutions to deliver quality and avoidable political interference in education.
The University of Delhi, ranked 6th in the first of its kind survey commissioned by the government, was the preferred destination, till a decade ago, for students who aspired to quality of education. This great institution lost its direction, academic integrity, sense of purpose and institutional morale in the wake of being turned into a laboratory for under-baked educational reforms pressed by the then Minister for Human Resource Development, who, on purpose, got his minion appointed as the Vice-Chancellor.
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