Higher education in India is faced with challenges such as degrading quality and corporatisation that need to be addressed at the earliest, said educationists here Saturday.
"Several paradoxes have gripped higher education in our country. There has been a decline in the quality of scholarship. Now it is for the teachers to make a paradigm shift," C.J. Daswani, a retired Jawaharlal Nehru University professor, said.
Speaking at a conference titled "Higher Education in India: Critical issues and challenges" at JNU here, Daswani stressed on the need to bring reforms at the policy level and individual level.
Similarly, Satish Deshpande, a professor at the Delhi School of Economics, said: "The phenomenon of corporatisation of education has to be stopped where teachers are treated as employees and students as customers."
Deshpande said there is a growing belief among the people in India that private institutions will supply some level of quality, while state-run institution will give access but not quality.
The educationists, accepting the role of teachers in bringing reform, said the government's Academic Performance Indicator (API) to evaluate teachers, compromises academic freedom and quantifies academic performance.
"We cannot quantify academic performance. The API system is a bureaucratic approach to education. As different disciplines are different and so are institutions. There can't be a standarisation," Saumen Chattopadhyay, a professor at JNU's Zakir Hussain Centre of Excellence, said.
API is a system devised under UGC 2010 regulations that evaluates teachers on the criteria of teaching, co-curricular activities and research output in terms of publications in journals and books and participation in seminars.
Raghuram of Indraprastha University stressed on the need for teachers association to take up a larger role of bringing changes in higher education.