Higher education is a global phenomenon. The higher education system plays a vital role in the country’s overall development including industrial, social, economic, political, etc. Indian higher education system is the second-largest in the world after the USA. Privatization of higher education was initiated in 1991 with the initiation of the Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG) Policy. Privatization of higher education in India introduced new policies and programs to increase more employments, outcomes and income opportunities and achieve economic development at Regional, State-wise, National and International levels. It has brought about a rapid change in the educational scenario of India.
Privatization encourages the individual and society to establish schools, colleges and private universities to meet the growing demand for education. As a result, private educational institutions are growing day by day throughout the country. Privatization of higher education in India has positive and negative impacts on education and society. Over the last two decades, India has witnessed a rapid rise in the number of private universities. Various state governments have encouraged and justified this growth to increase enrolment in higher education, and private capital has welcomed this state encouragement.
Higher Education in India
The Indian education system starts at around 4-6 years of age of a child. It used to comprise of 10 years of primary or elementary and secondary stages, 2 years of higher secondary stages, 4 years’ bachelor degree, 2 years of master degree and at least 3 years beyond master degree for a PhD. According to the National Education Policy -1986, this is known as the 10+2+4 system. The Post Higher Secondary Education is known as Higher Education in India.
This 10+2+4 system has been modified to “5+3+3+4” in New National Education Policy Formulated and Introduced by the BJP government led by Narendra Modi
Higher education includes teaching, research, exacting applied work and social services activities of colleges and universities. It is widely recognized that higher education promotes social and economic development by enhancing the human and technical capabilities of society. Technical change and institutional change are key components of development.
Concept of Privatization
Generally, privatization means the initiation of private ownership, management and control of organizations or institutions. The control is in terms of decision making and responsibility of money and administration. The main salient feature of privatization is the gradual transformation of public enterprise into private enterprise. So, it is a process which can be defined as the transfer of activities, decision making and responsibility of money, assets, administration from public institutions or organizations to private individual and agencies
The emergence of the Privatization of Higher Education in India
Policy shifting: According to Article 45 of the constitution of India, there should be free and compulsory education for all children between the ages of 6-14 years. So the focus has shifted to elementary education. As a result, the involvement of the state in higher education has been reduced.
Need for competitive efficiency: Main justification for privatization rests heavily on the grounds of efficiency to promote a more competitive economic environment. Operation of public sector enterprises is considered inefficient. It is believed that private ownership and control are more efficient in terms of resource allocation and work.
Rapid growth in population: India has a population of nearly one hundred and thirty-five crores. To provide a large number of people more private institutions are needed. To fulfil the demand for the higher education of young people in the country privatization of higher education is needed.
The financial burden on government:- Higher education in India is in financial stress. The state/government can no longer bear the financial burden of public enterprises. Current spending on education in India is not more than 3.5% of GDP.
Education is an Economic Good: Education is no more being treated as a social service but as a necessary economic input. Investment in education is treated as a factor contributing to the development of human resources. In this effort, the private initiative can help since the private sector is the beneficiary of the knowledge industry.
Quest for quality: Private institutions do not require long procedures for procurement of human as well as material resources. To purchase and maintain good qualitative infrastructure and equipment like furniture, buildings, different types of laboratories and qualified and competent academic staff, who can be paid as per the demand, there is a need for privatization.
The rapid growth of school education: Growing number of schools naturally pushed the demand higher education which the 204 government is not able to provide; therefore, demand for the privatization of higher education is the need of the hour.
Fulfilling the need for skilled manpower: There is very little initiative from the public sector due to limited freedom. Private institutions are free to initiate modern and advanced courses to fulfil the demand for subjects which facilitate economic development of the nation. The demands of the market and the times can be fulfilled. For this privatization is needed.
Impact of Privatization of Higher Education in India
High Cost of Education:- In higher education, privatization always increases the cost of education. The authority collects different fees to increase its income. This situation is beyond the fixed capacity of poor and middle-class income groups.
Poor Faculty:- The main object behind the privatization of higher education is said to be a quality improvement, this object is not fulfilled. In the majority of educational institutions quality compromise is observed. Their staff is not properly qualified and provides services for fewer sums. By using such staff such institutions earn a considerable amount of profit but in return do not provide better quality education.
Inadequate infrastructure:- The infrastructure facilities in the self- financed college and university is inadequate and poor. Most of the colleges do not have separate buildings, especially for staff and library, no proper classroom, no technological devices etc. Moreover, basic facilities such as drinking water, hygienic toilet and equipped laboratories are not available in many colleges which affect the learning environment and other related objects.
Education a Business:- At the higher education level, Mushroom Colleges have grown rapidly. Such colleges are becoming the centre for selling degrees. After paying the money, you need not attend the classes. Such institutions are more in professional courses like Engineering, Pharmacy, Education and Management courses. Due to this, employers get low wages. So the government should check these kinds of colleges in control.
Lack of Quality Education but restless work:- The private educational institutions do not provide the education of better quality. Here one thing which is to be noted that the right to education flows directly from right to life under article 21, and right to life means the right to live a life of better quality and with dignity. So this quality compromise in a private educational institution is violating the right to education.
Violation of the right to education:- Privatization of higher education has resulted in a violation of the right to education. It has created a big problem in our country.Focus on quantity:- Private sectors have their focus on quantity and not on quality. This is the reason that the quality of higher education is degrading. It is justified that due to the privatization number of private professional institutes has increased and it is no doubt required to cope up with growing needs but this has been at the cost of quality.
The private initiative in education, especially higher education is not new to India. Some of the leading universities like Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University came up with the efforts, dedication and financial support of the community and since 1990’s trend towards privatization has been on a large scale.
Providing free and compulsory education to all is a basic duty of government and it cannot be neglected. So the government has to invest more and more funds in the development of primary education. A huge cut in expenditure on higher education by government is the direct outcome. But it doesn’t mean that higher education is not important. The government cannot absolve its responsibility of regulating private institutes. So, some regulating agencies have to be formed which assure quality and transparency and prevent profiteering. There is an emergence need to regulate quality but not the growth of supply. There is also a fact that private investors would not run an institute a loss. If a private sector educational institute cannot at least recover its costs, it would be closed down. At the least, private institutions must be allowed to be commercial i.e. they must be allowed to break – even or make a small fair profit.