Autonomy for Private Educational Institutions

Autonomy for Private Educational Institutions“The twin sister to autonomy and freedom is responsibility and accountability. You cannot have one without the other. If someone is given an area of responsibility, not only must they be set free to do it, they must also be held accountable for what they do. Accountability clarifies freedom. In the teams and companies where you see boundary confusion, power struggles, control, over-reaching of one’s line of responsibility, you will also see lapses in accountability as well.” – Henry Cloud

Currently lots of colleges in India are craving for autonomy status. Is autonomy essential for them? What are the advantages for granting autonomy to deserving educational institutions? What value will it add to Indian society? Let us explore it with pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of Autonomy

Autonomy equips educational institutions with authority, and along with authority comes accountability. In fact, authority and accountability are two sides of the same coin for an ambitious private educational institution craving for autonomous status. There are innumerable advantages by acquiring autonomous status. The educational institutions can brand and market themselves. They can induct the courses that are in great demand in the market which is not possible when these institutions are affiliated to specific universities as they have to follow the courses and guidelines of their affiliated universities. They can design and customize their course curriculum as per the needs of the students. They can bid farewell to rote learning and welcome creative and innovative learning. Currently our Indian education system adopts 3Rs – reading, writing and reproducing which creates clerical mindset rather than leadership mindset. When we want to create managers and leaders we must have flexibility in our educational system and there is need for revolutionizing the Indian education system which is possible when these educational institutions get autonomy. Currently educational institutions need approvals from affiliated universities for each and everything including recruitment of faculty and fee fixation. With autonomous status, they can make education system student-centric rather than the faculty-centric that we mostly follow currently.

There is an urgent need to create employable and deployable students in India as there is lots of unemployability rather than unemployment prevailing in India. By going for autonomous status, the institutions can create both job seekers and job providers. Job seekers who are employable and deployable are in great demand and the Industry craves for it. Industry appreciates plug and play candidates who can be productive on the very first day as they are not keen to invest their time, money and resources in training them. Additionally, the autonomous institutions can also create job providers who will explore entrepreneurial opportunities to build their own companies thus generating more employment opportunities for students who are job-seekers.

Indian educational institutions need faculty who are a blend of experiences in various areas including academic, industry, training and research and consultancy. When we have such faculty they can impart quality education to students as students don’t appreciate routine and monotonous education. They want unconventional, innovative and practical education that can provoke their thinking abilities to unlock their hidden potential. As faculty is the heart of any educational institution, they can bring the desired changes in the educational system by shelling out students who are not only employable and deployable but also passionate and committed. When we produce such passionate and committed students we can create a better society leading to a better world. Above all, the institutions can get research grants that can encourage research among the faculty which is missing currently. However, there are several disadvantages with in it. The management can charge exorbitant fees from students. They can misuse the grants and funds. Hence, regulating authorities must set ceiling on fees and instruct the educational institutions to provide scholarships to deserving meritorious students.

Currently the country looks for employability, deployability and self-employment skills. And to enhance employability among students, there must be an integrated and holistic approach among various stakeholders including faculty, students, industry, parents and NGO. Educational institutions can accomplish all these objectives through autonomous status.

Build a Better Society

Autonomy gives academic freedom to educational institutions. It makes the system disciplined. In this buyers market, autonomy caters to the demands of buyers who are students. It helps in democratization of Indian education which is indeed the need of the hour. It helps in acquisition and application of knowledge. It promotes campus placements. Above all, it is an image boosting exercise for the educational institutions.

Educational institutions invest a huge amount of their hard earned money to bring a desired change in the society. They provide lots of employment to their employees and ensure bread to their family members thus adding value to the society. They take lots of risk. As every ambitious individual wants to grow, every ambitious educational institution wants to grow. Hence, the central affiliating and approving authorities including University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) must identify such ambitious educational institutions with a track record of accountability, longevity, passion and fire; and grant them with autonomy status to enable them to build a better society. Jai Hind!

“Most teachers have little control over school policy or curriculum or choice of texts or special placement of students, but most have a great deal of autonomy inside the classroom. To a degree shared by only a few other occupations, such as police work, public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of the people at the bottom of the institutional pyramid.” – Tracy Kidder

Prof. M.S. Rao
International Leadership Guru

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