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Following the Indian Model of Higher Education

Following the Indian Model of Higher Education

Higher education in India has evolved in divergent and distinct streams with each stream monitored by an apex body, indirectly controlled by the Ministry of Human Resources.

The universities are funded by the state governments. However, there are 12 central universities that are maintained by the federal government and due to relatively large funding, have an economic advantage over the others.

The University Grants Commission coordinates, sets standards and gives grants to the universities and colleges. The University of Delhi in New Delhi, India, for example, has more than 75 colleges affiliated in its name. Some of the oldest colleges are St. Stephen’s College (founded 1881), Hindu College (founded 1899) and Ramjas College (founded 1917). Tuition in these colleges is heavily subsidized and can be as low as $50 a year at the undergraduate level.

A bachelor’s degree in arts, commerce and sciences takes three years, after 12 years of school education. In specialized fields such as law, architecture, engineering and medicine, the bachelor’s program is five years or more.

A master’s degree, which could be based on coursework done without a thesis, is typically a two-year commitment. A pre-doctoral program, master of philosophy (M.Phil), is taken after completing the master’s degree. This can be either research based or can include coursework as well. A doctoral program can last anywhere between three to five years, depending on completion of an original thesis.

Two world-renowned Indian professional institutions are:

The IITs: The Indian Institute of Technology is where India produces its engineering exports. The institutes were set up by the Government of India as “institutions of national importance” in the early 1950s by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in a post-freedom era of socialism to create technologists for public-works projects. There are seven IITs in the country located at Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Guwahati and Roorkee.

Competition to get in is fierce and more than 150,000 high-school seniors dedicate their final two years in school just to prepare for the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE). Last year, only 3,500 students were accepted — or less than 2 percent.

The IIMs: The Indian Institute of Management, also established by the Government of India in the 1960s, are the top business schools whose graduates have proven their worth all over the world. Located in six cities — Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Bangalore, Lucknow, Indore and Calicut — the IIMs conduct postgraduate diploma programs in management (an MBA equivalent), fellowship programs as well as research and consulting for the industry. The demand for MBAs in India’s recently liberalized economy has been swelling and final-year college students prepare to take the Common Admissions Test (CAT) every December. n

— By Shilpa Banerji

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