Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Higher Ed links ...

Economic Times' Urmi Goswami interviewed UC-Berkeley's Chancellor Robert Birgeneau during his recent visit to India. It's a classic example of a conversation between a business reporter ("what about skills?") and a professor ("education is more important"):

There is a focus on skill development in countries like India, primarily to meet the increased demand for manpower across the world. How do you visualise the role of universities in the “skill development” mission?

There is a need to understand the difference between education and skill development. Skill development is about training, it serves short-term requirements, it does not serve long-term needs. The responsibility of universities is to educate people not just to train them.

An education, which universities should provide, teaches people to learn to solve problems. Skill development doesn’t do that; it provides training. Consider this: 50% of those involved in management perform different skills from what they learnt. It is education that helps people make this transition to new roles and not skill development.

B.S. Raghavan has a piece in Business Line titled "Reforming Higher Education":

It is entirely understandable if the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) does not want to be rushed into taking a final decision on the National Knowledge Commission (NKC)’s recommendations on revamping higher education. The NKC by some kind of quaint reasoning has put higher education at the head of the educational reforms process, relegating to a later stage issues and problems relating to vocational education, professional education covering medici ne, engineering, law, management, architecture and design, open and distance education and primary school education, in that order.

Finally, R. Sethuraman, Vice-Chancellor of SASTRA University, has an article on the norms that are used for granting the 'deemed university' status to private educational institutions.

No time to offer any coherent comments on these, but let me park the links here so that it's easy for me to find them later ...


  1. Anonymous said...

    I think most universities ( excepting for purely vocational ones and purely excellent ones) should be on a dual track. A dual track system should give equal opportunities for students to focus on skill development and education. You can't expect every Tom, Dick and Harry who enters college education to be on the same level and interested in going on to become a professor or noble prize winner. A university should offer both short term trainign and long term education.