Very interesting piece in today’s WSJ by Geeta Anand highlighting how bureaucratic red tape controls the growth of higher ed in India. The massive, centralized regulatory system caps how many students can access colleges, universities, and technical colleges and therefore caps growth for many india firms and startups. Also, with non-market caps on grads, it must put create huge demand for grads and therefore might be a disincentive to entrepreneurship for graduates of higher education. While higher ed in the US is facing many challenges right now, its decentralized and diverse nature allows it to grow, adapt, and excel continuously.
From the article about Indian Higher Education,
Loosening the Indian government’s famously bureaucratic “License Raj” when it comes to governing businesses has helped spur an economic surge that has transformed the country and its standing in the world. In contrast, critics say India’s educational system remains mired in red tape that stifles expansion and innovation.
The system falls far short of meeting the demand among young people for places in good colleges and universities. And it deprives India of the ranks of well-educated graduates it needs to supply crucial industries such as information technology and pharmaceuticals.
The mandate that pharmacy colleges must provide 168 square feet per student, for instance, meant that nearly 75% of the 25,000 people who took the pharmacy-college entrance exam this year in the state of Maharashtra, which includes Mumbai, were turned away because there weren’t enough seats, according to Ms. D’Mello.
The regulatory restrictions are especially severe in technical fields such as engineering, pharmacy, business administration and computer science. Almost every aspect of operations for about 8,500 private and public colleges and universities is overseen by the All India Council for Technical Education, a New Delhi-based government body empowered by law in 1987.
The council was created with the goal of setting high, universal standards for technical education and reducing corruption. It employs thousands of inspectors and administrators who enforce its standards.
“We do very important and very necessary work to make sure our colleges and universities use public funding correctly and provide our country with the highest caliber students,” says AICTE member secretary K. Narayana Rao. “Our country’s growth is a testament to our success.”
The council approves the opening of new colleges and accredits existing colleges. It requires that college principals and professors hold doctorates and assistant professors have master’s degrees. It forbids colleges from introducing new programs or courses without its sign off.