James Thanickan

On Education
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1.Catholic Higher Education in India in the Era of Globalisation
2.HRD Approach to IT
3.Education, Employment and Human Resource Development in India

Annual Board Meeting of the Xavier Board of Higher Education in India

Inaugural Session on Challenges Facing Catholic Higher Education vis-a-vis the Proposed Partial/Total Withdrawal of Grants-in-Aid to Colleges from 2005 and the Marketisation of Education in India, October 3, 2002 (Keynote address)




- James Thanickan*



You received without charge, give without charge.


-Matthew 10:81


“How is it possible for one to own stars?”

“To whom do they belong?” the businessman retorted, peevishly.

“I don’t know. To nobody.”

“Then they belong to me, because I was the first person to think of it”.


-Antoine de Saint-Exupery2


Today the educational policies of Catholic institutions are blamed for the continuance of social injustice within its walls and for accentuating the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

- Msgr. Ivan Extross3




With apologies to Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, I may say, a spectre is haunting India, the spectre of globalisation4.  This is affecting not only all economic activities but also the entire gamut of societal institutions and interactions including the cultural sphere, and social, economic and political discourses, in fact, all facets of our way of life.  It has brought in a paradigm shift in the way governments, communities and even individuals perceive issues, confront them and in the methodology of problem solving. A total change has come in all fields of ordinary human endeavours.  To quote W B Yeats,


All changed, changed utterly:

A terrible beauty is born5.


Only time will tell whether what is born is a “beauty” or a Frankenstein!


An area heavily impacted by the process of globalisation that will have lasting influence in the way the world of tomorrow thinks, acts and shapes itself is higher education. This is true of both the international scene and the Indian context.  Added to the general impact on higher education, in the Indian context there is a specific dimension to the fallouts of globalisation on the higher education institutions run by the Catholic community.


In this paper an attempt is being made to analyse the nature of globalisation, its effects on higher education, and look at the various measures that the Catholic community in India can adopt to face the challenges. The sweep of the subject is so vast that it is not possible to cover all its aspects within the limitations of a seminar paper. Therefore, the focus of the paper will be on the financing of Catholic higher education institutions in India in the context of proposed non-subsidization of higher education from public funds, one of the consequences of the integration of Indian economy with the global market; other dimensions of the impact of globalisation on higher education will be discussed only as necessary to understand the complexity of the issue.




The concept of globalisation arises, ironically out of a combination of the old laissez-faire theory in economics, the principle of catholicity of Christianity in religion and the idea of an international socio-politico model of stateless communism in politics.   It came to the centre stage with the collapse of Soviet Union and the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).


The first use of the word “globalisation” is believed to be in the early 80s of the last century, although the phrase “global village’” has been dated to 1967, adduced to Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980)6, who advocated the concept that time and space have vanished and the entire world is unified in a ‘global village.’  There is no general agreement on when did the process of globalisation start. Some even date it to the Middle Ages when the European powers, Spain and Portugal set about their great voyages and adventures in search of the elusive East, late in the fifteenth century.  They base their arguments on the facts that those explorations led to the expansion of trade and commerce breaking the boundaries of kingdoms, that goods were travelling with very little hindrances (except from pirates!) and that the predominant mode of production and commerce was under capitalist principles, although feudalism still dominated much of the agricultural and military set ups. The process, which started with the first circumnavigation of the earth between 1519 and 1521 under the leadership of the hapless Ferdinand Magellan, continued with lots of international trade and commerce in the coming centuries, getting great fillip with the establishments of the colonial empires by Great Britain and France in the footsteps of the swashbuckling Spaniards and Portuguese. This process gained further momentum with international collaboration in areas of science and technology, particularly with the establishment of the International Date Line and world time zones, together with the near global adoption of the Gregorian calendar in the five decades between 1875 and 1925 thus bringing in the much needed definiteness in time designation, a requirement for smooth international commerce. During that period, international standards were also agreed to for telegraphy and signalling leading to improvements in communications, an essential instrument of global trade.  The globalisation of market received some set back with the outbreak of the First World War, and the bout of anti-free trade protectionism that led to the Great Depression in the 1930s but regained momentum after the Second World War, when new multinational corporations, quite different from the ‘East India’ companies of the colonial period, started mass production with an eye for consumers spread over domestic markets across the continents. This further expansion of capitalism and transcontinental trade was helped by the developments in tele-communications and the quantum jumps achieved in transportation. There, of course, was the rise of communism in the Eastern block countries which reined in the surge of international capitalism for a short while, but, at the same time, introduced its own brand of globalisation which emerged as an antithesis of the post Second World War capitalism. The emancipation of colonies created a new world order.


Be that as it may, the current bout of globalisation can be traced back to the Washington Consensus leading to the establishment of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The economist, John Kenneth Galbraith calls the Washington Consensus the Apostle's Creed of globalisation.


It was an expression of faith that markets are efficient, that states are unnecessary, that the poor and the rich have no conflicting interests, that things turn out for the best when left alone. It held that privatisation and deregulation and open capital markets promote economic development, that governments should balance budgets and fight inflation and do almost nothing else.7 


The fall of the Berlin Wall, the failure of perestroika and glasnost to stem the decay of communism and the final collapse of the Soviet Union -- all helped in the emergence of globalisation as the dominant paradigm in economy and society in the closing decade of the last century.  You are blessed or condemned to live under this new disposition, depending on the way you are looking at the world.


It is the conclusion and ratification by the majority of governments of the world of the Uruguay Round of the Negotiations on General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) with an elaborate Agreement in 1994 and the founding of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)8 that is the real commencement of globalisation.  This has opened up trade in goods all over the world and set up super governmental mechanisms to watch over the governments.  Besides the WTO, the other great players in this new ball game are the World Bank and the IMF.


Characteristics of Globalisation


While the word has been in common parlance for about two decades, and every other person talks about globalisation, there is no agreed definition of the term. The concept and elements change as in a kaleidoscope, depending on one’s perceptions and pre-conceived notions. According to Anthony Giddens9, the sociologist, globalisation is a decoupling of space and time resulting in instantaneous communications and simultaneous sharing of knowledge and culture around the world.  For many who are at ease with terminologies of the Left, it is a worldwide drive towards a globalised economic system in which the big multi-national corporations attempt world hegemony in trade and commerce and transnational organisations cutting short the sovereignty of national governments dictate economic and social policies. Many look upon globalisation primarily as an economic phenomenon involving the increasing interaction, or integration, of national economic systems through the growth in international trade, investment and capital flows only, but a careful analysis of the way it has unfolded over the last two decades in developing countries and in the former Soviet Republics has shown an exponential growth in cross-border socio-cultural and technological exchanges impinging on every aspect of life.






Undoubtedly the cardinal principle of globalisation in its current avatar is capitalist mode of economic activity. Advancement of capitalist modes of operation is its primary concern.  The supremacy of capital and the pre-eminence of profit motive are the lan vital of globalisation. A free economy is a must for economic development and free economy cannot thrive where the economic factors are controlled by the state, argue the protagonists of globalisation.  The free spirit of man with its ideal of his own self-interest in excellence in achievement will take care of everything, they believe.10


Withdrawal of state from areas and sectors where private enterprises can do well


Coupled with this is privatisation of all economic activities including the service sector with few exceptions.  The basic premise is that private initiative can work better than governmental efforts.  The proponents of globalisation argue that governments should concentrate on those areas of public good where there are either no or very little economic returns, but where the public good is paramount. For example, primary health care and primary education are perceived as areas where private entrepreneurs may not be very much interested and even when they are interested, they may not be able to deliver the goods and services at an affordable price to all, though such goods and services are essential for the economic and social growth of the society.  Therefore much like the responsibilities for maintaining the law and order, the government should take the responsibility for such areas and services and leave the other sectors to the private players.  The criterion for determining the matter is greater public good vis a vis private good.  An immediate outcome of this is the disinvestments of public sector industries by many governments, including that of India.  Coupled with this is the withdrawal of government ‘subsidies’ for almost all sectors of economy, including many of the welfare measures and affirmative actions. Of course, to mitigate the ill effects of this withdrawal, social safety net programmes have been devised in many countries.


Minimum controls from government


It is not only a question of withdrawal of government from various sectors of economy but also having minimum controls by government in the true tradition of free enterprises.  The capitalist or the entrepreneur should be left to himself to work out his methodologies of production and distribution, as well as market strategies and profit planning.  Needless to say, the rabid proponents of globalisation would argue for minimum taxation.


Market taking care of issues.


Market becomes the new god. It is the demand-supply mechanism that will determine the production and delivery of goods and services including their pricing. Government subsidies, such as for agriculture, are required to be phased out. Free trade and free enterprises are proposed as the panacea for stagnant economies.  


International movement of goods and services


Trade and commerce have to cut across the national boundaries. It should be possible for goods to travel across borders with no or very little taxes and tariffs or restrictions. Non-tariff barriers are generally not favoured and wherever they are allowed they have been done so under very strict conditions.  Goods and services have to be globally competitive in such a situation.


            Two major obligations imposed by the WTO regime on nations are National Treatment and Most Favoured Nation Treatment.  These mean that nationals of all WTO member countries will enjoy the same economic rights and privileges in a country as the citizens of that country, and all special favours granted by a country in trade matters to another country, including intellectual property rights, will be extended to all WTO countries.  Effectively this brings in a common world market. Trade related disputes between “sovereign” governments are settled through a set mechanism in WTO which can impose penalties on countries.


Protection of intellectual property rights


Protection of intellectual property rights such as patents, trademarks and copyrights form another cardinal principle of this new economic order11.  Apart from those products of an intellectual effort, such as scientific inventions and original expressions in the creative arts such as literature, music, fine art, and architecture the intellectual property rights are bestowed on items which have great economic significance such as trademarks, appellations of origin, trade secrets and on products such as phonograms and cinematograph films which require large investments.


Opening up of service sector


Opening up of the service sector is an important aim of globalisation process. This would mean that services such as education, health, and transport would have to come out of governmental control and be open for international entrepreneurs.  The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)12 is the international treaty, which has brought globalisation to the services sector. The GATS distinguishes four modes of supplying services: (1) cross-border trade, (2) consumption abroad, (3) commercial presence, and (4) presence of natural persons.  India has not yet made commitments on education under this Agreement.  It is, however, useful to have a glance at the commitments in education sector made by some of the developing countries, particularly from the former Soviet block, to visualise the shape of things to come.13




Privately funded adult education: full commitment. Privately funded primary and secondary education: no (MA) mode 1, access only for juridical persons (no natural persons and no associations), compliance with state educational and health requirements. No commitments on higher education.




Primary, Secondary and Higher Education services: full commitments in Modes 1 and 2, unbound limitations on national treatment in Mode 3 and certain limitations on market access (must be approved by the Ministry of Education).


Kyrgyz Republic


Primary, secondary, higher and adult education services: full commitments in Modes 1, 2 and 3 (except for education funded from state sources).




Primary, secondary, higher and adult education services: full commitments in Modes 1, 2 and 3.





Primary, secondary, higher and adult education services: full commitments in Modes 1, 2 and 3.



Primary and secondary educational services: unbound limitations in Mode 1, full commitments in Modes 2 and 3. Higher, Adult education services and Cultural centres: full commitments in Modes 1, 2 and 3 (with nationality requirement in Mode 3).




Primary, secondary, higher and adult education services: full commitments in Modes 1, 2 and 3.




Primary and secondary educational services: unbound limitations in Mode 1 on market access, full commitments in Modes 2 and 3. Higher secondary, higher and adult education services: full commitments in Modes 1, 2 and 3.




Secondary, higher, adult education and other services: full commitments in Modes 1, 2 and 3.




Secondary educational services: unbound limitations in Mode 1, commitments in Modes 2 and 3 (for legal persons). Higher, adult education and other educational services (correspondence): full commitments in Modes 1, 2 and 3.



Primary and secondary services: Full commitments in Modes 1, 2 and 3, but Mode 3 limitation on national treatment (permit required). Higher and adult education services and other educational services: Full commitments in Modes 1, 2 and 3.




Primary, secondary, higher and adult education services and other educational services: Full commitments in Modes 1, 2 and 3.


Primary, secondary, higher and adult education services and other educational services (excluding special education services): Mode 1 unbound; full commitments in Mode 2; Mode 3 limitations for joint schools and unbound for national treatment; Mode 4 restrictions on qualifications.


Chinese Taipei

Student placement services for overseas studies and education services: full commitments in Modes 1, 2 and 3 with Mode 3 limitations on president/chairman and composition of board.”

The impact of globalisation in developing countries


Some of the general effects of globalisation are privatisation of public sector industries, removal of restrictions on foreign capital and management, changes in labour laws resulting in restrictions on certain privileges and rights enjoyed by labour for long generally giving a free hand to entrepreneurs “to hire and fire,” and changes in government priorities. The capitalist approach of giving absolute rights to the management in the matter of labour may exacerbate problems in labour market.  The opening up of the banking and insurance sectors can lead to capital flight. Similarly, throwing open print and visual media may have undesirable cultural impacts. Welfare cutbacks will adversely affect the poor and the aged.  The change in priorities will lead to reduction of government’s role in higher education and this may have long term adverse effects on countries which have not yet reached the threshold level in educational development.




Higher education plays a very crucial role in the socio-economic and cultural development of any country.  Economic policies of a government generally have a direct bearing on the higher education sector.  The globalisation policies of governments have serious implications for higher education, including for its role, content and operation.


Commodification of Education


The most important impact of globalisation not only on higher education but also on the entire education system is the change in the perception of education sector. Education is now considered as a product like soap that one can buy in a shop.


Education is becoming a life long learning and training process, developing transferable skills and knowledge that can be applied to competitive markets where knowledge and information is being traded as a commodity14.


The age-old concepts of education such as “education is that which liberates human beings” (Sa vidya cha vimkutaye) or “education is a gift of God received freely and to be given freely” lose their relevance in the globalisation context.


Role and Content of Education


Economic globalisation requires that education be transformed so as to produce graduates who can cope with the knowledge economy.  This will naturally affect the content, structure and management of education, affecting even the perception on the role of education itself.  It will have its effect in the way that the one time education may get transformed into life-long education process.  Also the current teacher-centred education is likely to be replaced by a more learner-centred education.


Market driven education


The present general education for all is likely to be supplanted by an education system driven by market forces. The system will tend to provide what the market demands and not necessarily what is good for the community in the long term.  In the Philippines, unplanned and unregulated tertiary education components resulted in an overproduction of graduates in certain disciplines and under production in others.  


Reduction of public funding of higher education


Keeping in view the crucial role of education in the economic development of a country governments all over the world have generally been the main source of funds for education in the first three quarters of the last century. Education Expenditure by Source of Funds for all levels of education combined in selected countries (1991), is given in the following Table15:


Group and country

Public sources

Private sources

OECD Countries































United States



Low and middle-income countries













Kenya (1992/93)



Uganda (1989/90)



Venezuela (1987)




A perceptional change has now come over governments that the public funds would be more effectively used if they were spent in areas with maximum social return. In low and middle-income countries, the rates of return to investments in basic (primary and lower-secondary) education are generally greater than those to higher education. Therefore, basic education is usually the priority for public spending on education in these countries, which have yet to achieve near-universal enrolment in basic education. In Paraguay, for example, the private and social rates of return to primary education are calculated as 23.7 per cent and for higher education only as 17 per cent. A corollary of this has been reduction in government spending on higher education.


The World Bank has been in the forefront in arguing on the above lines. As early as in 1994, in a document, Higher Education: The Lessons of Experience, the World Bank stated:


Indeed it is arguable that higher education should not have the highest priority claim on incremental public resources available for education in many developing countries, especially those that have not yet achieved adequate access, equity and quality at the primary and the secondary levels. This is because the social rates of return on investments in primary and secondary education usually exceed the returns on higher education.


International trend in tertiary education in recent years is towards the buyer paying for the same16. Degrees mean higher salaries.  It is a private good, primarily benefiting the individual rather than the society at large. That means it cannot be treated as a social investment as is the case with primary education.  While it is true that people with such qualifications are necessary for the society and economy, in the above view, the society is paying for whatever service the trained individual is giving the society. This implies that the major cost of the tertiary education should be borne by the individual.  Taxpayers are reluctant to pay higher taxes in all countries. The result is less money being available from governments for resources to higher education in view of the compelling competing requirements of primary education, primary health, transport and so on.


A consequence of this approach is the adverse effect it has on liberal education.  Individuals when they have to pay high for tertiary education will tend to prefer such courses, graduating of which are likely to enhance their marketability and fetch them higher returns in the market.  Resultantly the number of persons opting for liberal arts will go down.  Existence of individuals pursing higher studies in liberal arts is an essential thing for any civilised society.


A thinking that influenced educational administrators in many Asian countries in the 90s of last century was that “fee-free education at the tertiary level, far from being equitable, was likely to be in inequitable.”17


While in countries like India with a strong history of public funding of higher education there may not be a dramatic and sudden end to such funding, the possibilities of the private providers being called upon to bear all future increase in expenditure and the cost of all future expansion cannot be ruled out.  Even the public providers of tertiary education will have to find ways to enhance their financial resources. This would mean that the grant-in-aid institutions in higher education might have to find their own resources for meeting their expenditure.


In most countries, higher education is the most heavily subsidized level of education. The case for subsidy in the supply of education to the individual consumer is based on the fact that education is a mixed good involving substantial external benefits. However, it is argued by many that such external benefits tend to taper off at higher levels of education and that there should be greater correspondence between costs involved and fees charged. Such an approach favours enhancement of tuition fees and other related fees.




Coupled with this is the move towards allowing private universities and autonomous colleges in countries like India. A natural corollary will be greater autonomy.  While one cannot say with certainty, still one can visualise a scenario much like the recognised school system.


For long the World Bank has been advocating privatisation of higher education. Its argument is,


Private institutions are an important element of some of the strongest higher education systems to be found today. … They can respond efficiently and effectively to changing demand, and they increase educational opportunities with little or no educational cost.


A possible consequence of privatisation is commercialisation of education. This may have adverse impact on private institutions run with purely educational motives.  The expanding opportunities will tempt charlatans who are out there to make money in the shortest time possible without any care for the good of the society.  The mushrooming of teaching shops, coaching classes and other such institutions in India is a case in point.  It is such purely profit oriented commercial ventures which give a bad name to the private sector which have lots of reputable providers


International competition


Tertiary education institutions such as universities, colleges and other institutions have to face the imperative of competing as global commercial entities. The boundaries and catchment areas get widened; the trend is from national to global.



India on attainment of independence opted for the system of planning where both public and private sectors were assigned their respective roles. There has been a phenomenal growth in the higher education sector in India since Independence.  The number of universities increased from 28 in 1950-51 to 272 in 2001-02 and colleges from 695 to 12,600.  The student population increased from 2.5 lakhs to over 77.34 lakhs; teachers now number 3.51 lakhs. India has the second largest system of higher education, next only to the US. An important feature of higher education in India is the crucial role played by affiliated colleges. About 88 per cent of undergraduate students and 55 per cent of the post-graduate students are in affiliated colleges.18


Education in India has been mainly financed by public funds and the contribution of private sources has been declining since Independence. Public funds come from central and state governments, local bodies and universities.  The private sources comprise fees and other charges paid by students, maintenance expenditure incurred by private managements, donations and endowments.  The relative shares of various sources in the expenditure on higher education have changed significantly during the last five decades.  While the share of government has increased considerably, the non-government resources have declined sharply.  The steepest decline is in the share of fees.19  The published details of percentage distribution of total income of all educational institutions by source are presented in the tables below to have a clear picture of funding of higher education in the country.


Percentage Distribution of Total Income (Recurring+ Non-Recurring)
of All Educational Institutions by Source (All India)20


Financial Year

Govt. Funds

Local Body Funds

University Funds

Total Funds


Endowment & Other Sources


















































































*Excludes affiliated institutions of higher education

**School education only


Percentage Distribution of Budgeted Expenditure by Stages of Education (All India)21











Elementary Education









Secondary Education









University & College Education









Technical Education




























Privatisation of higher education has been natural fallout of the changes in the economic policy towards liberalization and privatisation by the Government of India in 1991. A large segment of the education sector in India is already under private management. What is meant by privatisation of higher education is that the mode of funding of these privately managed institutions is changing from grant-in-aid to their own resources.


Recent Developments on Private Initiative in Higher Education


The following excerpts from the Discussion Paper on Private Initiatives in Higher Education22, prepared for a seminar organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in August 2000 gives details of the recent developments on the subject: 


To address the twin problems of resource constraint and academic flexibility, the Government of India introduced the Private Universities Establishment and Regulation Bill, 1995, to encourage private universities, which was a welcome step for encouraging private initiatives in higher education. The Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha in August 1995, and was referred to the Standing Committee for obtaining their views. Since then the subject has been discussed in different forums. In 1999, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) set up a Core Group of six members drawn from private sector, institutions of repute and experts for their views and recommendations on various issues relating to private sector participation in education. FICCI was also a part of this Core Group.


On self-financing institutions, foreign universities and marketing Indian education abroad, a broad consensus arrived at by the group were as under:


a)      There is an urgent need to enable private sector to operate in the education field in a major way.

b)      There has to be emphasis on the high quality of the educational system and the need to adapt to changes speedily.

c)      Rules and regulations should be such as to attract foreign students as well, to study in India. In addition, Indian educational institutions/universities should also be enabled to operate in other countries.

d)      Foreign institutions and Universities may continue to operate in India. However, it will be useful to give clear guidelines to enable the students and parents to choose.

e)      Since private sector institutions have to operate without any dependence of Government funding, they should have the flexibility to raise resources and also the legal or administrative frameworks allowing private sector operations, should be simple.

f)       There is a need to have a deterrent for those who give poor quality education and use the system to make profit. However, there has to be a distinction about those who give quality education and have only some technical formalities concerning recognition to fulfil.


Upon submission of the Report of New Initiatives on   Higher Education to the Department of Education, Ministry of HRD, Government of India, the same Group was further requested by the Ministry of HRD to examine the role and restructuring of University Grants Commission (UGC).


There have been deliberations on the private sector initiatives in higher education in different forums. The Education Committee of FICCI last year discussed the subject and some of the observations and recommendations made by the members of the Committee are highlighted in the following paragraphs.


Need for establishing self-financing private universities/institutions/centres of excellence in India stems out of three major considerations. There are:


      Enhancing larger participation in higher education

      Providing world-class quality education

      Inflow of private funds


India sends only about 6 per cent of her youth in the group 18 to 23 years to higher education, while UK targets about 50% and USA promises universal higher education. Enlarging the base of higher education is necessary to cope with the challenges due to globalisation and fierce competitiveness in the market. However, 6% of the concerned age group is approximately 60% of those who qualify to enter the pedestal of higher education. It is important to recognize the paradox of India education - higher dropout rate (about 49% at the primary state) on one hand and high transmission rate of those who survive (about 88% from primary to upper primary state). The increasing emphasis on universalisation of elementary education and subsequently, pressure for place in education will build on secondary education and higher education. At 6% of enrolment in higher education, public exchequer is at the end of its wit. Even if it moves to about 10%, classes will swell, quality will further deteriorate. Expansion of open and distance education had provided some relief - accommodates about 10 to 12.5 % of total enrolment in higher education. However, alternatives have to be sought for those who wish to pursue full time education and prepared to pay for it. Private enterprise in education can provide that all-important succour to accommodate this evolving pressure on higher education.


The second but the stronger argument for setting up self-financing universities/ institutions/centres of excellence is for quality education - world class and equivalence. Internationally, models are Harvard, Yale, Cambridge and the likes. Alongside mass education, India will need exclusive professional manpower to be able to play at the cutting edge of the global competitiveness. The hallmark of the self-financing private universities/institutions/centres of excellence will be the exclusiveness in the quality of education against the prevailing backdrop of quality education more as an exception.


Response to the large educational demand can be met only with multi-disciplinary self-financing private universities/institutions/centres of excellence. Hence, self-financing private universities/institutions/centres of excellence should be allowed to offer course on any discipline, the viability and sustainability would depend upon the demand and market-response. Since the universities are self-financing the programs will be market-driven and each self-financing private university/institution/centres of excellence will decide on its own the course and subjects to be offered. Such universities will also be free to introduce new programs and discard the old periodically without affecting the interest of the students already enrolled. In fact, in order to maintain the competitiveness in quality, they would have to frequently review programs and courses adding and upgrading new ones and discarding those that loose relevance.


The policies should favour genuinely interested private sector to enter the higher education scene.


There are a few important examples of types of higher education institutions in India. These are:

         IITs and IIMs and now IGNOU- high quality institutions of international standard outside the UGC mechanism.

         Centres of Advanced Studies in various subjects in the conventional universities - high quality institutions within the ambit of conventional universities under the UGC mechanism.

         Non-grant self-financing engineering colleges and management institutions affiliated to the conventional universities.

Further, there are affiliating universities and unitary universities.  Experience bears out that the unitary discipline base universities/institutions  (e.g.  IITs/IIMs) have been able to manage quality. The unitary universities maintain some uniformity of standards though there are variations in quality among the faculties and departments. The affiliating universities vary widely in quality particularly between under-graduate and postgraduate studies in most of the affiliated institutions; the variations among the faculties are also wide. Keeping these experiences in mind, self-financing private universities/institutions/centres of excellence should be essentially non-affiliating. Whether a university will be multi-faculty or discipline based and focused should be left to the university/institutions - on its own need assessment and feasibility studies.


There will be a significant possibility of private universities/institutions/centres of excellence coming up either as a franchise or typing up through twinning arrangement with foreign universities. This will bring in the risk of using the name of fake universities with foreign addresses. Care has to be taken against this kind of efforts. Self-financing private universities/institutions/centres of excellence should be free to offer courses through twinning arrangement or through franchisee, only from accredited foreign universities of repute.


Where or not, foreign universities can establish their own institutions and branches need separate consideration from the angles of external affairs, defence, etc


Co-ordination, Equivalency and Monitoring Mechanism


The self-financing private universities will have to be models for up front education with total emphasis on imparting high quality education and equity system. They would be set up as centres of excellence for hi-tech areas in education. Stress will be laid on course that will produce employable youth rather than imparting general education. Market courses would govern those universities and the experiences of educational institutions of excellence will provide the guidelines to follow.


The industrialized countries that are leaders in the global market have much larger tertiary sector that requires trained and professional manpower. For the next two decades or so, it will be necessary to nurture higher education for manpower development of Indian higher education. However, self-financing would be possible because of the 250 million plus middle-class population who have the means and willingness to pay for good quality education.


Given the experience of good private universities in the West, private universities should strive for (a) excellence in higher education, and equally importantly (b) ensuring access to educationally meritorious but economically poor students, through scholarship and interest free loan schemes.


Thus, the self-financing private universities/ institutions/centres of excellence have to be a part of the nationally developed framework for coordination and quality management. There is more than one possibility.

         Private universities/institutions/centres of excellence are to be totally free to be governed market forces.

         A separate body be formed to coordinate private universities development, coordination and quality management, and

         The existing monitoring and accrediting institutions regulate the functioning of


Finance Policy


The finance policy for the private universities should be such that the universities should be free to raise and deploy resources to meet the objectives of the private universities, both short-term and long-term objectives resulting in growth. It should be the responsibility of the private universities/institutions/centres of excellence to mobilise the required capital for investment. About 30 to 40% of the recurring cost of education can come from student fees compared to less than 5% in the conventional public universities (25% has already been recommended in Punnayya Committee Report). Remaining 60 to 70 of the recurring cost should come from endowments and revenues generated from other sources by the promoter of the private university/institutions/centres of excellence


            The thrust of government’s strategic initiatives on globalisation appears23 to be selling Indian education abroad to foreign and Non Resident Indians who can pay higher fees than the local students, encouraging the starting of more courses which may have a ready demand in the global market in the higher education institutions and attracting more private resources towards higher education.



In the past a number of committees and commissions have gone into the issues of ways and means for enhancing the financial resources available for education sector. A list of possible sources for raising resources for education, culled from the recommendations of various committees and commissions on education in India include:24


  • Education Cess
  • Graduate Tax
  • ‘Assessment’ on emigrants
  • Institutional finance
  • Generation of income by educational institutions
  • Student fees
  • Donations and endowments
  • Community contributions


These measures cover all sectors of education, including higher education as well as aimed at augmenting both government funds and private funds for education. Brief assessments of these measures are attempted in the ensuing paragraphs.


Education Cess


Unlike what one observes in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, in India, there has been no strong tradition of linking up the financing of education with specific sources of productive and reliable governmental revenues, especially at the Central and to a great extent at the State level. Wherever educational cess is charged the income goes into the general kitty of the Union and the states, it loses its special character and becomes one of the many taxes.  Funding of education remains a budgetary exercise. Viewed from this angle, the argument that payment of education cess will create a sense of participation in the citizen also will not hold.  Further, because of the already high incidence of taxation in India, common people, particularly the middle class, are likely to resent additional taxation in the name of education cess.


Graduate Taxes


Another way of raising resources for education is through graduate tax.  A graduate tax is an education-specific tax to be levied on those who use the educated manpower.  Human resources produced by the education system are used by all sectors of economy.  These sectors do not directly contribute to financing education although they are the direct beneficiaries in terms of productivity gains on account of employment of graduates.  Hence, there is every reason that these employers be asked to share the costs of education of the graduates in the form of an annual tax for the graduates they employ.


The main drawback of graduate tax, however, is that it might work as a disincentive to the employers to employ graduates and may lead to higher incidence of unemployment of graduates.


 ‘Assessment’ on Emigrants


While through graduate taxes enterprises within the country will be made to pay for the education of their employees, enterprises abroad do not have to pay for the same in respect of Indians employed by them.  It is well known that India provides well-educated and professionally trained personnel (scientists, doctors, engineers and so on) not only to other developing countries but also to rich countries of the Middle East and the developed countries of the West.  There ought to be some ways for the user countries compensating the supplier country for utilizing the human capital.  The UN report entitled The Reverse Transfer of Technology (1979) discusses some measures for compensation as a resource-raising device for education.  One possibility that the report suggests concerns the levying of a direct assessment on developed host countries.  It could be related to the total number of professional personnel migrating, the amount of their income, taxes they paid to the host countries, and the amount of investment on education they received in the developing countries of their origin.  This would necessitate entering into bilateral or multilateral tax treaties to share, according to some mutually agreed formula, tax revenue that host countries earn from the nationals of developing countries.


Institutional Finance


Institutional finances could be in two areas – one, infrastructural build-up and the other loans to students.  Infrastructure would include land, buildings, laboratory and sports equipments, furniture, library books and educational technology items.


If institutional finance on easy terms forthcomes for infrastructural requirements it will boost private enterprise in education and will have possibly a significant positive effect in the growth of capital assets in the education sector leading to an improvement in the quality of education.  Availability of soft loans from financial institutions will also contribute to the academic autonomy of educational institutions – both in the government and the private sectors – by ensuring their financial independence.


Besides loans to educational institutions, the financial institutions can also involve themselves in education sector by promoting research in universities, for example by establishing chairs in the universities for specific projects.


However, loans from educational institutions, even if on soft terms, would imply that the educational institutions should be raising regular resources, which will help them to pay back the loans.  In other words, the educational institutions will have to be run in a financially viable way like a business concern.


Generation of Income by Educational Institutions


Educational institutions are resource centres of community.  By intelligent utilization of their wherewithal the institutions themselves can generate much income. Currently there is a poor linkage between institutions of higher education, industry and other social organizations. This linkage could be fostered by technical and professional institutions by providing consultancy and research support to industries and social organizations. The institutions offering science, art and commerce courses can collect various types of information and data for governmental and other organizations, and carry out small surveys.  There are several areas like soil profile, water quality and its management, fauna and flora, socio-economic profiles of the district, population studies and education profile, where universities and colleges are well suited to collect data and carryout studies for government and other organizations as these are spread over the country.  Such surveys and studies will not only contribute income to the institutions for their developmental activities but also will strengthen the understanding and awareness of academic community about the socio-economic and other developmental issues and inspire them to work out solution for them. Institutions can also take up research and consultancy projects for industries and other organisations on payment basis.


Schools, colleges and universities can raise funds through organization of cultural shows.  Apart from raising funds, one incidental benefit of such effort will be the exposure of students to various facets of Indian culture.


Another method of generation of income by educational institutions is to let out facilities like auditorium, conference rooms, computer facilities, etc., on a commercial basis.  In Britain this has become a widespread practice.


Income could also be derived by educational institutions from the sale of products produced by students under work experience/SUPW and vocational programmes.


While there are these and other similar ways for generating income by educational institutions and they may contribute some income to their developmental needs, the income from such sources will be neither regular nor adequate for the requirements.  At best, they can be considered only as supplementary sources of income.


Student Fees


Despite its relative decline in the recent years, fees continue to be one of the most important sources of higher education finance in almost all the States.  The decline in the share of fees has come mainly because the rate of fees has remained stagnant for more than four decades.  One of the suggestions for raising resources often found in the recommendations of the committees is, therefore, to raise student fees.  Even as early as 1882 the Hunter Commission had recommended that the “fees in all secondary schools and colleges managed by the Department be kept as high as possible.”  The Committee on Post-War Educational Development in India suggested “a rate of fees somewhat higher than at present”, a plea which was reiterated in 1950 by the Committee on Ways and Means of Financing Educational Development in India.  The Education Commission (1964-66), however, had an ambivalent stand towards raising student fees.  At one place, it denounced the levying of fees as the ‘most regressive form of taxation’, which fall more heavily on the poorer classes of society and act as an anti-egalitarian force. The Commission, therefore, pleaded for the “general abolition of fees in higher education” as “the ultimate goal of educational policy.”  But at another place, the Commission suggested that the universities may prescribe “standard fee rates” in consultation with the State Governments and the institutions should be free to levy higher fees “subject to a prescribed upper limit – say twice the rate of standard fees.”25


The present system of low tuition fee involves a substantial amount of subsidy in education. Since this subsidy is given indiscriminately to the rich and the poor – the largest beneficiaries being the more affluent classes, mainly from the urban areas, who can afford to give their children higher education – the system is, to say the least, undemocratic.


Some argue that higher tuition fee is likely to reduce the rush on universities and colleges and thereby contribute to better utilisation of the limited resources available with the institutions.


Another argument in favour of raising tuition fees is that college education increases substantially the earning capacity of the educated and in case they are called upon to pay for their education, they would not be worse off in the process.


There is a psychological reason for charging fees.  What was stated in the famous Despatch of 1854, commonly referred to as Wood’s Education Despatch, about paying for school education is true even today and more relevant for higher education:


It has been found by experience, in this and other countries, that not only an entirely gratuitous education valued far less by those who receive it than one for which some payment, however small, is made, but that the payment induces a more regular attendance and greater exertion on the part of the pupils;…  and school fees, insignificant as they may be in each individual instance,, will in the aggregate, …  become of very considerable importance.26


J.P. Naik also in his book Equality, Quality and Quantity (1975) observed:


The British administrators insisted on the levy of fees at all stages of education, partly on the ground that fees would form an important source of resource for financing education and partly on the ground that the people would not appreciate anything for which they were not required to make a payment.


            Education economists have pointed out that the predominant notion of the 1950s and 1960s that public education should be free of charge was abandoned in most parts of the world by the 1990s,


not only because of financial stringency but also because of the realization that fee-free education at the tertiary level, far from being equitable, was likely to be inequitable. Young people from richer socio-economic groups are more likely than their counterparts from poorer socio-economic groups to attend tertiary institutions, and subsidies for higher education are therefore more likely to benefit the rich than the poor27.


The following arguments could be adduced against the proposal for raising fees:-


      Higher fees would provide a positive disincentive to the poor students to continue their education at collegiate stage.

      It would be discriminatory against large families with more than one or two children

      Education, particularly higher education,  has a positive correlation with economic production and hence the society has as much stake in its development as the individual.  In fact, the social benefits of higher education far out-weigh the private benefits.  It would, therefore, not be correct to force students to contribute more than a specified share in the costs of higher education.

      In developing countries like India, where, because of various social and economic reasons, preference is given to boys’ education, any rise in fees would prove to be a disincentive to the parents to send their daughters to college and thus would retard the growth of girls’ education.


There is some justification in the fear that a rise in fees would prove to be disincentive to the poor students.  Its actual impact will, however, depend upon the extent to which the meritorious students can be covered by scholarship programme.  For obvious reasons, it will be difficult to grant scholarships to all or even to most of the ‘meritorious’ students in India.  The possibility of students dropping out of the educational institutions in this country would, therefore, be much greater than in the advanced countries like the USA and UK, where material prosperity is a rule rather than an exception.


The fear that fee rise would be discriminatory in character does not stand a closer scrutiny.  It has been established that higher education increases the productive capacity of the students and greatly increase their lifetime earning.  If, for argument’s sake, it is conceded that the levying of extra-financial burden is discriminatory, it also gives the students extra-earning capacity and to that extent people, who do not choose to pay for it, are deprived of that capacity.


It is correct that the society has also a very high stake in higher education in that it increases manifold the productive capacity of the country.  It should, therefore, share the educational costs.  It can, however, hardly be denied that the individual gain is also not inconsequential. If the individual has to pay more for acquiring a better mental and manipulative capability that institutions of higher learning are expected to provide, he should not grudge it.


Donations and Endowments


A major source of private finance in education is donations and endowments.  This is especially so in the case of institutions of higher education.  While in most of the developed countries private endowments contribute significantly to the financing of education, in India endowments have not contributed in a big way to the finances of the university system.  The University Education Commission had observed even in 1948:


Although a few universities have had large endowments given, it may be said that on the whole the income derived from endowments is by no means adequate to meet the needs of modern universities.  Large endowments have been made to a few universities by the founder or by generous donors. …  It cannot, however, be stated that endowments to universities in this country have flown in the same generous manner in which they have either for the British universities or for the American universities28


Endowments and donations are a way of obtaining finances for education quite different from privatisation of education. This method of raising resources does not in any way compromise the academic autonomy of the university.  In fact, as the University Education Commission had observed the size of the endowments is the best guarantee of university autonomy.  Therefore, various incentives will have to be devised for attracting endowments and donations, both by government and the private managements.


As recommended by various commissions, the income tax exemption is a major incentive that government can provide.  If the amount donated or given as endowment to an educational institution is given total income tax exemption, it will really be the best incentive in this priority sector.  The loss of revenue which the government will suffer by such exemption will be more than offset by the saving that the government will be able to effect in the expenditure on education, and, in any case, that will have to be considered as part of government’s contribution to education sector.


Another related method to attract the private contribution to education is to encourage industrial establishments to “adopt” education institutions and pay for their entire cost of maintenance.  As suggested by Mahatma Gandhi29:


They (the colleges) would be attached to the different industries which should pay for the training of the graduates they need.  Thus the Tatas would be expected to run a college for training engineers under the supervision of the State; the mill associations would run among them a college for training graduates, whom they need.  Similarly, for the other industries that may be named.  Commerce will have its college.  There remain arts, medicine and agriculture.  Several private arts colleges are today self-supporting.  The State would, therefore, cease to run its own.  Medical colleges would be attached to certified hospitals.  As they are popular among moneyed men, they may be expected by voluntary contributions to support medical colleges.  And agricultural colleges, to be worthy of the name, must be self-supporting….


Community Financing


Community financing of education may encourage participants to value education more highly than they do otherwise, and moreover, greater potential involvement of the local community can promote the effectiveness of school systems.  The increasing need for community financing is linked to the expanding cost of education and the truth that governments cannot shoulder this cost totally.  However, community support is heavily influenced by cultural and economic factors.


One of the best-known examples of community support is the Harambee Movement in Kenya.30  Community financing can take place in various ways – cash, kind or work.  No uniform pattern can be prescribed for it for being applied to the whole country.  Depending on the culture and ethos of the area and the people, it will have to vary. In places where village system has developed into cohesive units, such contributions may come in easily.  The people can partake in the construction of the buildings, its maintenance and well-being; they can contribute in kind like brick, mortar, timber, material for thatching and even books and stationery.  Families can adopt students and bear their education expenses.


An effective measure of stimulating community contributions to educational development is for an institution to establish rapport with the community around it.  The educational institutions in India for long had, by and large, tended to an ivory-tower existence in a cloistered environment of an academic exclusiveness, although there are some notable exceptions to this general rule.  The general body of people has not been made aware of the needs of the colleges and the universities with the result that, except for some enlightened donors, they have not contributed to the development of educational institutions.  It is necessary that this isolation should be ended and the community, for whose benefit these institutions exist, should be brought into living contact with the needs and problems of the institutions.  What is necessary is that the general public is made to realize the need for providing for the facilities, which their children need in the educational institutions.  In most cases, the response is likely to be very encouraging.  Further, the institutions can influences the community through their achievement in curricular and co-curricular fields – showing excellent academic results, undertaking social and community services, involving the community in the management, undertaking industrial and agricultural research useful for the community and so on.


The major advantage of community financing is the involvement which it will create in the members of the public in education.  This involvement will naturally lead to more responsible response to the goal of education.  When a community is doing something for its own members and that too after having perceived it as a felt need, the community would not feel it a burden.


The possible argument against community financing is that is has its own limitations.  In the case of higher, technical and professional institutions, where the expenses are quite high, small communities would not be in a position to pay anything significant.  Therefore, the effectiveness of community financing will be limited in higher education.




The above suggestions of various committees in the past were made keeping in view the drying state of government funds for education, even when globalisation was not thought of.  Consequent on the economic reform process, government is not likely to own up new liabilities at least in the higher education sector and in the days to come, the privately managed higher education institutions may have to find their own resources for running them.  While the effects of globalisation will affect all private institutions, the responses to the challenge will vary depending on the character of the institution.  A purely private enterprise may adopt any methods and strategies to make it a profitable business venture.  An institution with certain higher altruistic motives may not be able to do so. This is the problem confronting Catholic higher education.  Also the presence of Catholics in the education scene in India is not insubstantial. The number of higher educational institutions run by Catholics is quite large and therefore the impact of governmental policies will be great on them. We have to look at the issues keeping in view the objectives of Catholic Higher Education and bearing in mind that Catholic Church in India is one of the big providers of education although Catholics are a small minority of the population.


Growth of Catholic Higher Education Institutions in the country


From low-key beginnings in the first half of the nineteenth century Catholic higher education institutions have recorded significant growth during the last century.  Whereas the number of Catholic colleges in 1900 was only 15, today there are 278.  These colleges cater to more than 2.50 lakh students of whom Catholics are less than 30 per cent.  The major growth in the number of institutions took place after Independence. In 1950 the number of Catholic colleges were only 39.31


Objectives of Catholic Education


Church has an important role to play in the extension of education to all.  This comes out of the mission of Church on earth. It is a continuance of the mission of Jesus Christ as teacher.  The objective of any education is to bring light to the minds,  “a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower.32  Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life,33” “and that life was the light of men34.” True Catholic education is to bring light on this truth to all. The teaching ministry of the Church is derived from Jesus Christ.  While in the early days Catholic education meant only religious instruction, in course of time in keeping with the expanding role of the Church and the increasing importance of knowledge in the lives of people the Church took upon itself the task of educating people in the secular subjects too. This was in tune with Christ’s exhortation to his disciples, “Going, therefore, teach ye all nations … . And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”35  These words are the charter of the Church as a teaching institution.  It contains the basic principles of a Catholic education.


The first is universality. Christ commanded to teach all nations without any distinction of caste, community, creed, race or language. Therefore, Catholic institutions need to cater to all. Its institutions are to be open to the entire humanity.  This is beautifully expressed by the Second Vatican Council (1965):


It (the Synod) … exhorts the sons of the Church to assist in a spirit of generosity in the whole field of education, especially with the aim of extending more rapidly the benefits of suitable education and instruction throughout the world. (Gravissimum Educationis) 36


A second characteristic is perpetuity. The education that Catholic institutions impart should not be of transitory nature but of lasting relevance to human kind. One of the distinguishing features of Catholic education has to be the emphasis that it lays on the worth of the individual.  Catholic education should be able to raise the dignity of the individual and uplift a human being to a higher level of existence


Secular Catholic education should equip one to the discharge of all social and civil obligations, which one is called upon to do, but such should be “subordinated to, and inspired by, fidelity in the duties that man owes to God.” This will enhance the value of personality and correspondingly increase the sense of responsibility in such a way that the freer development of the person is not allowed to culminate in selfishness nor in that extreme individualism which is a threat to social organisation.  The Church as an institution has always been conscious of the paramount importance of education in the life of men and its overriding influence on the social progress of the age. Keeping this mind, the Second Vatican Council directs:


All Christians … should be so prepared to take their part in the life of the society that, having been duly trained in the necessary and useful skills they may be able to participate actively in the life of the society in its various aspects… .and to promote the Christian concept of the world whereby the natural values, assimilated into the full understanding of man redeemed by Christ, may contribute to the good of the society37.


It must be remembered that educational institutions were there before Christianity made it s appearances and that there are, perhaps, many more such institutions run by non-Catholic institutions and civil administration than Catholics, but in Catholicism, “the whole work of education took on a new character because it was consecrated in its very source by religion.” Education has been consecrated as a great service, something that fits in with the Indian tradition.


A summation of the great ideas on Catholic education expounded by the Synod can be found in the Apostolic Constitution of HH John Paul II on Catholic Universities:


Every Catholic University, as Catholic, must have the following essential characteristics:

1.      a Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university community as such;

2.      a continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute by its own research;

3.      fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church;

4.      an institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life.


It will be in the fitness of things to apply the above four characteristics to all Catholic educational institutions.


The objective of Catholic education should be,


that form of social activity whereby, under the direction of mature minds and by the use of adequate means, the physical, intellectual, and moral powers of the immature human being are so developed as to prepare him for the accomplishment of his lifework here and for the attainment of his eternal destiny38.


One of the challenges facing Catholic higher education all over the world is how to resolve the dichotomy between information technology age versus Catholic values and traditions.  Resolution of this is required since future happiness of the world will depend greatly on having professionals with well-rounded personalities who have empathy for the have-nots and the marginalized and also have such social skills to make meaningful interventions for the upliftment of the downtrodden.  The Church by its very mission has to be in solidarity with the poor.


Sound value education has to be an important component of Catholic education. Education should unite the intellectual, moral and religious elements.  Development of spiritual elements in human being needs to be stressed in Catholic institutions. If that be not there what distinguishes Catholic education from other secular education? One of the basic reasons for non-Christians wanting their wards to study in missionary educational institutions is, apart from the excellence of education, the environment of such institutions.39 The imparting of human values and Christian ethics has been held as the raisson d’etre of Christian educational institutions by Christians, both Catholic and non-Catholic40.  This needs to be maintained and even improved.


The fact that Catholics are a minority in India should not be lost sight of in the reflections on Catholic education in India. Being a minority, Catholics want their children to study in a Christian ambience so that they imbibe the Christian values. It is, therefore, important that such an ambience is maintained in our institutions and access for Catholics who desire to study in the Catholic atmosphere is ensured. There is a great possibility that this will be facilitated as a result of privatisation of higher education.


Socio-economic development of the Catholic community ought to be one of the objectives of secular Catholic education in India. From this angle the issues of access, equity and quality are very relevant. The rationale for preservation of minority rights and character emerge from this logic.


In the alacrity to meet the financial challenges posed by globalisation moves, these aspects should not be overlooked.




The first challenge is that of management of change. Paradigm shifts are taking place in educational sector. It is necessary to adapt to the changed environment. The cosy days of public funding and attendant government controls on all aspects of education may change for more liberal regimes. Such changes can lead to more autonomy not only in financial and administrative management of the institutions but also in course of time more freedom in academic matters.


An important challenge that is being posed in the era of globalisation is the choice between subjects that have an immediate market, and, therefore, may bring immediate revenue and subjects which may not be attractive in the market place such as social sciences and humanities41. While Catholic institutions may teach subjects of current commercial value such as information technology they should not ignore liberal arts and sciences. If they do, they run the peril of not making the university


a place where enquiry is pushed forward, and discoveries verified and perfected, and rashness rendered innocuous, and error exposed by the collision of mind with knowledge.42


The four paramount tasks of a university, as expounded by Clark Kerr in his inaugural address in 1958 as President of the University of California are relevant even still for any higher education institution:


One is to continue to stimulate the quest for knowledge. Another is to transmit our knowledge to future generations. A third is to enable us to remain masters of our knowledge, to prevent the complete fragmentation of our view of ourselves, our society and our universe. The fourth and perhaps most exacting is to assess the values which our knowledge should enable us to serve.



In the absence of study of liberal sciences and arts, these tasks cannot be realized. The study of such subjects is also necessary for making higher education socially relevant. Therefore, every Catholic college should strive to ensure the teaching and study of traditional arts and science subjects apart from the subjects being dictated by the current market conditions.  This approach by Catholic institutions may revive the old criticism based on the Weberian thesis, that Protestant students prefer scientific and technological studies while Catholics confine their interests to classical and theological training.43 That thesis of Weber itself had been disproved through empirical studies by Kurt Samuelson and no longer holds.44


Provision of access to education for the poor and the marginalized has to be taken as a challenge facing Catholic higher education in India. It must be remembered that currently only around six per cent of the relevant age group pursue higher education in India.  This is a very low rate and it needs to go up to at least 50 per cent.  Enlarging the social base of education in the era of privatisation be looked upon as a missionary responsibility of Catholic education.  Education entrepreneurs may not be interested in this task. Access and equity are two concepts that no Christian educationist can ignore if she is true to her faith.


Any educational institution should achieve academic excellence but a Christian educational institution ought to take up as a challenge the difficult task of imparting excellent education with social relevance45.  In the given circumstances in India this is a real daunting task, but not impossible. Community and extension programmes can be devised to make education more socially relevant and for developing social sense in the students.  The experiment with Community Colleges is a right step in this direction46.  It is these kinds of efforts that will help Church to exercise its option for the poor.


Catholic colleges should provide reasonable access to all talented Catholics to pursue higher education, and also to others, keeping in view the principle of universality.  They should maintain a Christian ambience. They should ensure fair mix of subjects and should not go for only such courses which have an immediate market demand.  Keeping in view these considerations some of the measures that can be adopted for meeting the challenges posed by proposed reduction of grants-in-aid are discussed below.




The first and perhaps the most reliable method is increasing  student fees. A number of arguments for raising student fees have been made above.  The main thrust, however, is on the fact that direct beneficiary will have to be made to pay for his private good. Full-cost recovery, however, can be ruled out; just as heavy subsidization of higher education is theoretically unsound. It may be noted in this context that even in a highly developed country like the US where private universities charge much higher tuition fees than state universities, tuition fees form less than 40 per cent of the costs; the rest comes form alumni support, endowments and so on.


It will not be correct to assume that parents will not be prepared to spend more money on the higher education of their wards than what they are paying now. The experience with fee charging English medium schools disproves this.  Even in rural areas middle class and even economically weaker house holds shell out money to send their children to such schools although there are other non-fee charging schools easily accessible.  At the same time, we should not forget that provision of access and equity are two important elements of Catholic higher education.  Therefore, fee should not be too high to make it a real big deterrence. It may hold some comparison with other private colleges, but may be a notch lower.


Student loan schemes are an essential complement of cost recovery and the charging of fees. Many students are unable to afford the cost of higher education out of their families’ current income, and loan schemes permit them to pay out of their future earnings. About fifty countries, both developed and developing, have such schemes. More than half the Latin American nations have such schemes. Other developing countries with loan schemes include China, Ghana, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Malawi, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka. An elaborate and well-designed scholarship and loan scheme for the needy to make higher education accessible to all would prove to be an effective mechanism of financing higher education. It is natural to expect that when government will move for privatisation of education, it will come out with many scholarship and loan schemes.  Catholic community also may have to come out with its own set of loan and scholarship schemes for the poor and meritorious Catholic students at least. It may be necessary to go on all India basis for such loan/scholarship schemes.  May be it is time we take the initiative in the matter and start build up a fund for this.


Another and a less painful way is raising resources by the institutions themselves. Some of the measures that can be adopted have been discussed above.  These include research or study projects for industries and organisations, consultancies, holding entertainment and cultural programmes, renting out premises and so on.  Such programmes, however, need to be meticulously scrutinised and the institutions should not accept projects which militate against the principles of Christianity and morality. Perhaps a kind of Ethics Committee can be formed in institutions for this purpose. This could be one of the distinguishing features of Catholic institutions compared to other private institutions.


While graduate tax on domestically employed and assessment tariff on emigrants are not within the competence of private institutions, one method of raising resources for education available to them is that of tapping the rich source of alumni.  Thousands of graduates of Catholic institutions are in good positions and earning very well.  Quite a number of them, both Catholic and non-Catholic, will be happy to contribute to their alma maters. This is “thanks” money.  Proper and transparent institutional mechanisms are essential for this. The entire institutional finance should be an open book to inspire confidence in the alumni donors. It will be a good idea to hold discussions with alumni associations on how to go about this.


Donations and endowments are another way of finding resources.  This, of course, will have to come from big industrialists or philanthropists.  In this also acceptance of the same will have to be done selectively as, such donations and endowments from tainted hands may bring not only a bad name to the institution but also will be incongruous with the principle of Christian education as a consecrated service.


Another opening for institutions in the era of globalisation is to sell their wares to developed country students who can pay more than local students.  Most countries of the world have differential fee structure for local students and foreigners, the foreigners paying double of treble than the domestic students. This, again needs to be done with the Christian charity in mind and by not depriving the locals of their rightful access.


A very important source of funding is the Catholic community itself.  This, however, necessitates that the community should feel a sense of ownership towards their educational institutions.  It will not do if they are approached only for funds and have no say in other matters of the institution.  If they are looked upon as mere consumers they will not be “owning” the institution. When Catholic institutions are run without any grants from governments, but by voluntary contributions of the faithful, it must be remembered that Catholics are bearing double burden as they are paying taxes as any other citizen of the country. At the same time it proves


on one side that neither loss of the State’s co-operation nor lack of material resources can weaken the determination of the Church to carry on her educational work, and on the other side it shows what faith and devotional on the part of parents, clergy, and teachers can accomplish where the interests of religion are at stake47.


We must also think of the possibility of networking of institutions, which could bring down expenses and improve the quality and generate stronger fellowship feelings.  It can lead to optimal use of limited resources by flexible deployment of facilities and equipments


Lastly, a rather idealistic hope: Can we have all Catholic educational institutions under one all India management?  To begin with a Common Catholic Education Fund can be set up. This will help in sorting out most of the financial problems, as it would then be possible to find solutions to the financial problems of some of the weaker colleges and institutions.  May be in course of time, it can lead in a true ecumenical spirit to a common Christian Education Board!   




Globalisation is for some time at least an irreversible process. Barking against it does not give any relief in the immediate future. We need to formulate concrete policies and plans to face the challenges posed to and overcome the hurdles put up by that process in humanity’s progress towards the establishment of an enlightened and humane society48 on earth.  What is to be borne in mind is that globalisation is neither an unmitigated boon nor a total evil as made out in some public discourse. Looking at it from the perspective of Catholic higher education I find it as an opportunity and a challenge. It may give an opportunity to shape an education in content and delivery that is in tune with highest ideals of humanity, something that enlightens and ennobles human beings. The challenge is in resolving the conflict between commercial operations and Christian charity.


Coming to more specifics, there are many ways to raise financial resources for Catholic colleges if the grants from public funds decline.  While adopting such methods, their compatibility with the ideals of Catholic education needs to be carefully assessed.  Catholic colleges also will have to, like other colleges, move for introducing more employment oriented technical courses, but should, keeping in view the nobler aims of Catholic education give due care and attention to the study of the science and humanities subjects traditionally being taught in the colleges so that the intellectual and humanitarian vistas of young people get widened.  Along with student fees, community contribution is likely to be the mainstay of Catholic colleges in the future. In order to increase the community participation, changes in the management structure need to be considered. A sense of belongingness needs to be fostered among the faithful about the Catholic colleges. The feasibility of Common Management and a Common Fund for all Catholic higher education institutions in India may also be explored.



1.       What is the rationale of the presence of Catholic Church in the higher education sector in India?

2.       What are the basic principles to be adhered to in the establishment and management of secular Catholic higher education institutions?  Should it not be a mission of Catholic colleges to create a principle-centred leadership in India through education?

3.       In case the government permits establishment of private universities, should the Catholic Church take steps to set up a Catholic University in India?

4.       In the eventuality of reduction of government grants for colleges, how should Catholic colleges manage their financial requirements? Is it appropriate for Catholic colleges to be managed in a purely commercial way? Should they compete with other private and public players for getting students who can pay the maximum, irrespective of issues of access and equity?

5.       How can the Church ensure that meritorious but financially weak Catholic students are able to get quality higher education, consequent on increase in the cost of such education?

6.       What are the different ways of raising contributions from the alumni?

7.       How can the managements of Catholic colleges ensure increased financial and other support of the Catholic community of India for the colleges?  How could a sense of ownership be created among the faithful towards these institutions?

8.       What are the means and methods for increasing cooperation among Catholic colleges, resulting in resource sharing, both academic and other?

9.       Is it possible for all the Catholic colleges in India to form a single corporate body?

10.   What should be the relationship between Catholic colleges and other Christian colleges?


These are only some of the questions that we, as Indian Catholics, need to reflect on in the context of the changes taking place, and this paper has not tried to answer them but to set the scene for further discussion.


End Notes


* The author can be contacted through e-mail at the following ID: jamesthanickan@hotmail.com.

1The New Jerusalem Bible (1985), Standard Edition: Bombay,  St. Paul’s, 1993.

2 The Little Prince translation by Katherine Woods: London, Pan Books, 1974, p.46.

3 “Achievements and Problems of the Church in the Region” in Consolidated Report of the Regional Consultation on Evangelisation in Uttar Pradesh: Lucknow, Communication Coordination Centre, 1974, p.54.

4 cf. “A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of communism.” Marx, Karl and Engels, Frederick: Manifesto of the Communist Party: Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1966, p. 38.

5 “Easter, 1916” in The Faber Book of Modern Verse ed. by Roberts, Michael: London, Faber and Faber, 1965, p.56.

6Author of the book The Medium is the Message. He was once referred to as the “Oracle of the Electronic Age.”

7See “The Crisis of Globalisation” in The Dissent, New York, Summer, 1999.

8 The Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organisation was concluded on April 15, 1994 and came into force on January 1, 1995

9See his Runaway World: How Globalization is Reshaping Our Lives, New York, Routledge

10Fictional expositions of this worldview are the novels of Ayn Rand, particularly, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountain Head.

11The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) (1994) constitutes Annex 1C of the Marrakesh Agreement.

12General Agreement on Trade in Services constitutes Annex 1B of the Marrakesh Agreement.

13Source: www.wto.int

14See Francis, Kate; Fitzgerald, Kate; Lacey, Rebecca; Hancock, Kate; Ockendon, David; “The Effects of Globalisation on Education” available at www.edoz.com.au.

15Private Initiative in Indian Higher Education Discussion Paper for FICCI Seminar, August, 2000: Sources mentioned: Notes 1991; OECD 1993; Tilak 1993; World Bank

16See Altbach, Philip, G. “Let the Buyer Pay: International Trends in Funding Higher Education” in International Higher Education, Fall 1997.

17See Bray, Mark, “Financing Higher Education in Asia: Patterns, Trends, and Policies in International Higher Education, Fall 1998.

18Source: Annual Report of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, 2001-02.

19See Higher Education in India: Vision and Action, Country Paper of India presented at the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education in the 21st Century, Paris, October, 1998.

20Source: Ministry of Human Resource Development: Analysis of Budgeted Expenditure on Education, 1995 and Selected Educational Statistics for various years.

21ource: Ministry of Human Resource Development, ibid.

22Available at www.ficci.com

23Reply by Minister of Human Resource Development to Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 661 dated 23.11.2001 on Globalisation of Indian Education.

24The more important of such committees and commissions are: B.G. Kher Committee on the Ways and Means of Financing Education Development in India, 1948, University Education Commission under the chairmanship of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, 1948-49, Secondary Education Commission under the chairmanship of Dr. A. Lakshmanswami Mudaliar, 1952-53, Dr. K.L. Shrimali Committee on Higher Education for Rural Areas, 1954, Education Commission under the chairmanship of Dr. D.S. Kothari, 1964-66, National Policy on Education Review Committee under the chairmanship of Acharya Ramamurti, 1990, CABE Committee on Review of Education Policy under the chairmanship of Janardhana Reddy, 1991, AICTE Task Force on Framing Regulations for Fee Structure, 1991, Justice Punnayya Committee, 1992, Mahmud-ur-Rahman Committee, 2000 and Anandakrishnanan Committee, 2000

25See Education and National Development: Report of the Education Commission: New Delhi, NCERT, 1971, pp. 198-257 and 595-637.

26See J. A. Richey: Selections from Educational Records Part II 1840-1859: Calcutta, Superintendent of Government Printing, 1922, p. 379.

27See Bray, Mark  “Financing Higher Education in Asia: Patterns, Trends, and Policies” in International Higher Education, Fall 1998.

28See The Report of the University Education Commission Vol. I, New Delhi, Ministry of Education and Culture, 1983, p.306.

29Gandhi, M.K., Towards New Education, Ahmedabad, Navjeevan Publishing House.

30“Harambee secondary schools and institutes of technology are financed by the communities who organise fund-raising meetings. They also charge fees, and normally their fees are higher than those of government maintained institutions.” G.S. Eshiwani in The Encyclopaedia of Comparative Education and National Systems of Education: ed. T. Neville Postlethwaite Oxford, Pargamon Press, 1988, p. 417.

31See Kanjamala, Augustine, ed.: Integral Mission Dynamics, New Delhi, Intercultural Publications, 1996, p.608. The figures represent the total of region/diocesan wise figures.

32John 1:5, The Jerusalem Bible.

33John 14:6, New Internal Version, (1984)

34John 1:4, New International Version.

35Matthew 28:19-20, Douay Version, London, Catholic Truth society, 1963.

36“Declaration on Catholic Education”, translation by Matthew Dillon in Flannery, Austin, ed.  Vatican Council II The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents:  Bombay, Saint Paul Publications, 1988, pp. 655-666.

37Vatican Council II, op.cit.

38See article on “Education” in The Catholic Encyclopaedia.

39J.P. Naik writes: “Many non-Christians who are working today in non-Christian institutions who have been students of your institutions have caught the spirit of service, the spirit of commitment.” See “The Role of Private Enterprise in Education” in Dickinson, R., The Christian College and National Development: Madras, The Christian Literature Society, 1967, p.135.

40See Kariyil, Antony, Church and Society in Kerala: New Delhi, Intercultural Publications, 1995, pp. 84-86.

41See Palackapilly, George, “Catholic Higher Education in India and the Challenge of Globalisation”.

42See Newman, John Henry: The Idea of a University, 1854 reproduced in Essays, English and American, New York, P.F. Collier & Son (c.1910) Harvard Classics; No. XXVIII.

43See Weber, Max, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Catholicism, translated by T. Parsons, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958, pp. 35-40.

44See Samuelson, Kurt, Religion and Economic Action, Toronto: Scandinavian University Books, 1961, pp. 137-147.

45See Heredia, Rudolf C., “Jesuit Higher Education in India Today: Institutionalising Our Charisma in the Affiliating University” in International Higher Education, Winter 2000.

46For more information on community colleges see Alphonse, Xavier, Changing Track: Community Colleges in India, New Delhi, All India Association of Christian Higher Education, 1996.

47See The Catholic Encyclopedia, op.cit.

48Cf. Towards and Enlightened and Humane Society, Report of the National Policy on Education, 1986 Review Committee, 1990; the “Ram Rajya” of Mahatma Gandhi and see Leo Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God.



Alphonse, Xavier, Changing Track: Community Colleges in India, New Delhi, All India Association of Christian Higher Education, 1996.

Altbach, Philip, G. “Let the Buyer Pay: International Trends in Funding Higher Education” in International Higher Education, Fall 1997.

Bray, Mark, “Financing Higher Education in Asia: Patterns, Trends, and Policies in International Higher Education, Fall 1998.

Dickinson, R., The Christian College and National Development: Madras, The Christian Literature Society, 1967

FICCI: Private Initiative in Indian Higher Education Discussion Paper for FICCI Seminar, August, 2000; www.ficci.com

Flannery, Austin (ed.)  Vatican Council II The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents:  Bombay, Saint Paul Publications, 1988

Francis, Kate; Fitzgerald, Kate; Lacey, Rebecca; Hancock, Kate; Ockendon, David; “The Effects of Globalisation on Education” www.edoz.com.au

Gandhi, M.K., Towards New Education, Ahmedabad, Navjeevan Publishing House

Giddens, Anthony: Runaway World How Globalisation is Reshaping Our Lives, New York, Routlege.

Galbraith, John Kenneth: “The Crisis of Globalisation” in The Dissent, New York, Summer, 1999.

Heredia, Rudolf C., “Jesuit Higher Education in India Today: Institutionalising Our Charisma in the Affiliating University” in International Higher Education, Winter 2000

John Paul II: Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities

Johnstone, D.Bruce: The Financing and Management of Higher Education: A Status Report on Worldwide Reforms, World Bank, Paper in the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education, Paris, October 5-9, 1998.

Kanjamala, Augustine (ed.): Integral Mission Dynamics, New Delhi, Intercultural Publications, 1996.

Kariyil, Antony, Church and Society in Kerala: New Delhi, Intercultural Publications, 1995

Kerr, Charles: “The Worth of Intellect”, University of California, Berkeley, 1958.

Ministry of Education, Government of India: Report of the Secondary Education Commission, New Delhi, 1953

Ministry of Education and Culture, Government of India: The Report of the University Education Commission Vol.I, New Delhi, , 1983

Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India: Annual Report of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, 2001-02.

Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India: Higher Education in India: Vision and Action, Country Paper of India presented at the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education in the 21st Century, Paris, October, 1998.

Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India: Analysis of Budgeted Expenditure on Education, 1995

Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India: Towards an Enlightened and Humane Society, Report of the National Policy on Education, 1986 Review Committee, New Delhi, 1990

Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government: Report of the CABE Committee on

Review of Education Policy, New Delhi, 1991

NCERT: Education and National Development: Report of the Education Commission: New Delhi, 1971.

Newman, John Henry: The Idea of a University, 1854 in Essays, English and American, New York, P.F. Collier & Son (c.1910) Harvard Classics; No. XXVIII

Palackapilly, George: Catholic Higher Education in India and the Challenge of Globalisation.

Palackapilly, George: Religion and Economics – A World View, AIDBES, SPCI House, New Delhi, 1998.

Postlethwaite, T. Neville (ed.): The Encyclopaedia of Comparative Education and National Systems of Education, Oxford, Pargamon Press, 1988

Richey, J. A (ed.): Selections from Educational Records Part II 1840-1859: Calcutta, Superintendent of Government Printing, 1922.

Samuelson, Kurt: Religion and Economic Action, Toronto: Scandinavian University Books, 1961

Stella, Anthony: “Institutional Accreditation in India” in International Higher Education, Spring 2002.

The Catholic Encyclopaedia, 1908 edition, Robert Appleton Company, On line edition, Kevin Knight, 1999.

Weber, Max: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Catholicism, translated by T. Parsons, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958

World Intellectual Property Organisation: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) (1994)

World Trade Organisation: General Agreement on Trade in Services; www.wto.int.



-         T.C. JAMES


We are at the threshold of a new millennium.  Information technology is expected to be the major driving force of this millennium, at least at its beginning stage.  The sunrise industries of this new technology bring in a paradigm shift in concepts of both technology and human resource development.  Information technology has already brought in changes in the way people work, live, interact and even enjoy and entertain themselves.  It has reduced the hurdles of time and space.  Concept of accessibility has totally changed.  These are important aspects to be kept in view in developing a human resource development approach to information technology.


In order to adopt a proper human resource development approach to information technology it is necessary to understand the characteristic features of this technology.  Emergence of information technology represents a quantum jump from the Industrial Resolution technology; but it grew out of the stage of development reached by humankind through industrial and technological changes set in motion by the Revolution.  The identification of the characteristic features of the information technology, therefore, necessarily has to be in    comparison with those of the mass production based Industrial Resolution with foundation in the manufacturing sector.


The first feature of information technology that strikes one is the pace of its expansion.  The technology is spreading very fast, both sector wise and region wise.  The high speed of its diffusion is boggling the minds of policy makers, human resource managers, human resource developers, infrastructural developers, and intellectual property right experts.  It is, no doubt, true that the existence of certain infrastructure is a pre-requisite for the growth of information technology in a country.


A second feature of information technology is the high obsolescence rate.  The product and process cycles are short.  Today’s technology is becoming out of date by tomorrow.  In this fast changing scenario, only organisation and systems which have the flexibility to respond quickly, almost reflexively, to “new ideas and breakthroughs and newer demands” will be able to survive.


The reason for the fast diffusion and high obsolescence lies in another feature of information technology.  This is the low programme cost.  The cost-effectiveness of the technology is very high and the more it spreads the less expensive the unit cost becomes because of the economy of scale.  Research and technology development are making information technology cheaper day by day and making it affordable to more and more people.


Another aspect of information technology is its multi-disciplinary nature.  This, of course, is true of most, modern scientific breakthroughs.  While more and more specialised branches of sciences are emerging, technology is becoming more and more inter disciplinary also.  This is a very distinguishing feature of “post-mass production industrial society”.  Computer science, chemical engineering, bio-technology, fibre optics --  all get together to develop information technology (IT).


Industrial Revolution first led to colonialism and later to the emergence of nation states.  The new information technology is leading to an erasure of national boundaries.  Information flow is not a great respect or of geographical and political borders. In IT knowledge is the base unlike the case with earlier technologies where product or manufacturing process formed the base.  Since the element of intangible elements in the new technologies is high, physical objects do not bind them much.  This also leads to nation states playing a much smaller role in the new developments compared to the earlier industrial and technological revolutions.  The requirement of a high level of flexibility in adapting to changes could be a reason for the reduced role of states in the new technology.


Even with the low programme cost and fast diffusion, the impact of information technology can be unequal. As already mentioned, adequate infrastructural availability is a pre-requisite for the growth and spread of IT. Many developing countries may be deficient in this area and that may put them behind in the economic and technological race. Considering the pace of growth, an initial delay can multiply in its overall impact and the slow starters may lag way behind. Language seems to be another factor contributing to the inequality. Languages spoken by small groups bound in constricted geographical areas appear to have difficulty in catching up with the IT revolution.


A significant feature of IT differentiating it from earlier technologies is its high intellectual property rights (IPRs) content.  The term “knowledge-based” itself conveys this characteristic.  The content, the service and the product are all knowledge.  IT encompasses IPRs of all hues with patent at one end of the spectrum to copyright at the other end.


After having identified the characteristic features of IT, we may look at the human resource development (HRD) approach to IT from two angles.  First, we will consider development of human resources for information technology and then examine the various aspects of using IT for HRD.


For drawing up an effective HRD policy for IT the requirements of manpower, both qualitatively and quantitatively, need to be assessed.  Considering the number of areas which come within the ambit of IT and the challenges thrown up by the new science, the manpower requirement falls into broadly three categories.  The primary requirement is for technical people.  There would be great demand for both highly educated professionals like engineers and the ‘skilled’ personnel.  The second group of manpower required is of the management category.  Considering the wide spectrum of IPRs involved, specialists to handle IPR matters also would be needed.


Development of human resources for IT may be through formal education in schools, colleges and universities or through institutions and in-service education including training programmes.


An area which deserves special attention in the HRD for IT is the content part.  This comes out of the multi disciplinary nature of the technology.  While one person may specialize in a particular branch, he may have to have a general knowledge of a number of other subjects to be effectively participating in the IT programme.  The subject IPRs will have to form part of the curriculum for all disciplines of IT.


The more important angle of the HRD approach to IT is using that technology for HRD.  From a wider perspective, IT is a highly developed and sophisticated tool for HRD.  It is versatile and employable in all modes of formal and non-formal education systems.  An imaginative use of IT can make learning a very enjoyable process.  IT, because of its global reach, makes worldwide classroom a reality. It can draw upon the resources of persons and institutions spread over the whole world.  Access to documents stored in any institution anywhere can be made possible through IT.  These features of IT make it possible to provide relevant education of high quality to specific target groups.


In the specific area of IP system, HRD has attained great importance in the context of IT.  Since IT, both content and service wise, permeates intellectual property systems totally, without adequate HRD, effective utilisation of the system is well nigh impossible. IT based HRD, therefore, has to form a major strategy component of modernising the IP system both nationally and internationally.


The national IP regimes have to keep pace with the changes taking place in the globalised market place.  The quantum of IP transactions has increased manifold during the last few years. New forms of trade like electronic-commerce (e-commerce) have come into existence and their share in international economic activities is growing.  Global information systems also pose IP rights problems for the policy makers and end users.  Unless the personnel involved in these activities are adequately trained, the systems may collapse at any time.  Because of the special nature of IT, HRD has to be more focussed and directed at a broader range of beneficiaries, than at present.


The target groups for HRD, from an intellectual property angle, could be broadly classified into two.


The first category would be the policy formulators and administrators.  This category largely consists of government functionaries and personnel working in different national IP offices.  They have to be exposed to information-based practices and modernized office procedures. No doubt, they will have to get enough acquaintance with principles and practices of international IP right regimes.  They will have to be sensitised to the challenges the new technologies would be raising to the existing IP right systems and the ways of finding possible solutions to them.


The second category of target group would be the producers and owners and even users of intellectual property.  Collective administration societies of copyrights are a group which deserves special focus in the new HRD strategy.  They need training in various practical skills for using intellectual property information in the new technological regime.  They are to be equipped to handle IPRs in a global market situation at a high speed with confidence.


The special features of information technology, that we had seen earlier, make it possible to prepare demand-driven training modules tailored to the requirements of specific groups.  Preparation of the training materials should be done keeping in view end user groups’ training needs and level of education in and   exposure to the new technology.


An important aspect to be taken into account in using information technology for HRD in IPRs is the need for regular updating of the material and the teaching and training strategies.  While large databases would be required to be maintained to cover multifarious training requirements of divergent groups, they need to be reviewed and modified on a day to day basis so that the information preserved does remain current and really useful for the target groups.  The high obsolescence and fast diffusion of information technology make this very essential.


Institutional linkages are of great significance from a human resource development angle.  Without such inter connectivity the advantages of information technology cannot be tapped to their full potential.  Institutional linkages will help in sharing information and experiences.  It is almost a pre-requisite for an effective distance education system in IPRs.  While information technology makes such linkages easy, these linkages contribute to the development of national expertise.


As information technology gets used more and more for HRD, newer challenges and possibilities which cannot be visualized now may crop up. Efforts at HRD to meet the challenges of new technologies have to be a continuous and ongoing process.


HRD is perhaps the most important requirement for the growth and development of a country.  With the emergence of digital technologies and the growth of information technology the importance of the development of human resource development has come to the fore.  This is particularly so because without a large group of specially trained professionals no country will be in a position to take full control over the exploitation of the newly emerging trends in the information technology industry.  New strategies will have to be evolved as new challenges come up.       


* Paper presented at World Intellectual Property Organisation Asian Regional Symposium on Intellectual Property and Information
Beijing,  March 23-25, 1999.


Sub-Regional workshop on ‘Education, Employment and Human Resource Development in Central and Western Asia held in Tashkent from 3rd to 14th August, 1993 by University of World Economy and Diplomacy, Tashkent and UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning, Paris.]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


Country Paper: India


Education, Employment and Human Resource

Development in India


1.         Economic Development


With an area of 3,287,263 square kilometres, India is the seventh largest country in the world.  In the decennial census held in 1991, its population was 846 million, which constitutes 16 per cent of the world’s population.  The growth rate is 2.14 per cent and about 74 per cent of the population live in rural areas.


Indian economy is essentially agriculture.  There is roughly one worker to every two non-workers.  The non-workers are mainly housewives, the aged, students, and the unemployed.  The agricultural sector absorbs nearly 67 per cent of the country’s workforce, of which more than one-third are agricultural labourers who are generally illiterate and depend on seasonal work.


India has a planned economy, the guiding consideration of which is growth with social justice.  Between 1951 and 1991, the country has had seven five year plans with ad hoc annual plans in certain years.  Currently the country is in its eighth five-year plan, spanning the years 1992-97.  Planning in India encompasses public as well as the private sectors, and covers areas of social services and human resource development also.


The Indian economy, which was stagnant during the first half this century, started growing after the five-year plans were launched.  However, the growth rate in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) remained lower than expected and hovered around 3.5 per cent per annum for the first three decades of the development phase.  It was in the eighties that a clear break from this was observed. The growth rate in the eighties was nearly 5.5 per cent per annum (Table I).   This change was accompanied by a perceptible rise in the growth in agricultural income and a significant increase in the rate of growth of per capita consumption.


Given the structure of the Indian economy, the growth in the national income has largely been determined by trends in agricultural production.  As other sectors have developed, the share of agriculture in GDP has now stabilised at about 33 per cent as compared to about 55 per cent in the early fifties (see Table 2).


In the indicators of human development, India has registered considerable progress during the last four decades.  Life expectancy has gone up from 32 years in 1951 to 59.1 years in 1991.  The infant mortality rate has come down from 146 per 1,000 in 1951 to 80 in 1991.  The literacy rate has increased from 1 mere 18.33 per cent in 1951 to 52.11 per cent in 1991. 



Table 1.          GDP Growth in Indian economy 1951-1990



Serial No.


Growth in GDP at Factor Cost %





1951-52 to 1955-56



1956-57 to 1960-61



1961-62 to 1965-66`



1966-67 to 1970-71



1971-72 to 1975-76



1976-77 o 1980-81



1981-82 to 1985-86



1985-86 to 1989-90



1985-86 to 1991-992





Table 2.          Sectoral distribution in Gross Domestic Product





Percentage share

Sl.No.. and Sector

1951-52 to


1956-57 to


1961-62 to


1966-67 to


1971-72 to


1976-77 to








1. Agriculture









2. Mining and Quarrying









3. Manufacturing

3.1 Registered

3.2 Unregistered

























4.Electricity Gas and Water Supply









5. Construction









6. Trade Hotels and Restaurants









7.Transport, storage and communications









8.Financing etc.









9.Public Administration and Defence









10. Other Services



















India’s per capita income in US $360.  It has one of the largest trained manpower in science and technology.  But even distribution leaves about 27 per cent of the people below the poverty line that is with a nutritional intake below the minimum requirement.


There is today recognition that in many areas of activity, development can best be ensured by freeing them of unnecessary controls and regulations and withdrawing state intervention.  Therefore, in 1991 certain major reforms were introduced in the economy to provide greater competitive stimulus to Indian industry and to quicken the pace of economic progress.  These included a reduction of the government’s fiscal deficit, abolition of industrial licensing for all except a select list of hazardous and environmentally sensitive industries, freer access to foreign technology, liberalization of import regulations, simplification of rules and procedures of foreign investment, reform of the system of personal taxation, simplification of excise duties, reduction of budgetary support to loss-making public sector undertakings, and disinvestments in selected public sector undertakings.  These structural reform measures have started bearing fruit.


2.      Employment Situation


Employment has been a major concern of development planning and policy in India.  In the initial years of planning there was a rather sanguine approach to the issue based primarily on the expectations of a rapid industrial development and a slow down in the rate of population growth.  As these expectations did not materialize to the expected extent, it was soon realized that employment generation required a special focus in development planning.  Plan strategies, policies and programmes were, therefore, evolved and used for employment generation as a specific objective.  During the last two decades, employment has grown at an average of about 2.2 per cent per annum.  But the faster growth of the labour force at about 2.5 per cent per annum has resulted in an increasing number of unemployed over the years.


Another dimension of the problem of unemployment in India is that of invisible unemployment or underemployment.  Persons belonging to low-income households can hardly afford to remain unemployed and, therefore, may engage in any work that is available, even if it yields a very low income.  The structure of the workforce with dominance of self-employment and the primary sector, where work sharing is common, also tends to depress unemployment rates in general, and chronic, long-period unemployment rates, in particular.


The unemployment rates as revealed in national sample surveys during 1972-73 to 1987-88 (Table 3) show that the incidence of unemployment is much higher in urban than in rural areas.  Unemployment rates for women are higher than those for men.  Underemployment is of a much higher proportion among women than among men.  The incidence of unemployment among the educated is much higher at about 12 per cent than the overall rate of 3.77 per cent.  In fact, unemployment rates rise with every successive higher level of education.  Further, between 1983 and 1988, there has been a shift from the state of widespread underemployment towards greater open unemployment.



Table 3.          Unemployment rates by sex, residence and status

                        (Unemployed as percentages of total workforces)



















































































































































































UPS: Usual Principal Status                                           UPSS: Usual Principal and Subsidiary Status

CWS: Current Weekly Status                                          CDS: Current Daily Status

M-Male                                                     F-Female                                           T -Total


Estimated unemployment was 23 million as of April, 1992. Of this, 17 million was open and 6 million underemployed.  The labour force is estimated to increase by about 35 million during 1992-97, and by another 36 million during 1992-2002.  Employment growth in the aggregate will have to be about 4 per cent per annum if the goal of providing employment to all is to be achieved by the end of the eighth plan and around 3 per cent annum if it is to be attained by 2000.  Experience in recent years suggests that the goal of a 4 per cent employment growth will be rather unrealistic.  But on average, employment growth of around 2.6 to 2.8 per cent per annum may be within the realm of feasibility, which, if achieved over the next 10 years, will bring the economy to near full employment by the year 2002.  This itself will be contingent upon the attainment of a higher average growth rate of GDP than that achieved in the past, derived to a larger extent from sectors and areas which are inherently more employment intensive.


The eighth plan envisages strategies and policies designed to realize such a level of employment growth.  The main elements of the current strategy are:


         Reorientation of skills to suit labour market demands.

         Reform of the training system to quickly respond to changes in labour market demands.

         Upgrading of artisanal skills.

         Diversification of agriculture – crop and regionwise.

         Waste land development for crop-husbandry and forestry.

         Development of rural non-farm sector, particularly small manufacture.

         Development of rural infrastructure, housing and services.

         Development of urban informal sector.

         Promotion of self-employment.


3.      Education Development


The development of education in India has been guided by the national goals and aspirations as embodied in the Indian Constitution. At the time of independence (1947), India inherited a system of education which was not only quantitatively small but also characterized by the persistence of large and inter-regional as well as structural imbalances.  As education is vitally linked with the totally of the development process, the reform and restructuring of the educational system was recognized as an important area of state intervention.


(i)                  Education Policy


 A National Policy on Education was formulated by India in 1968.  This was a significant step in educational development and human resource planning in India.  The policy laid special emphasis on the development of education for agriculture and industry.  The policy envisaged a continuous review of the agricultural, industrial and other technical manpower needs of the country and specifically stipulated that efforts should be made continuously to maintain a proper balance between the output of the educational institutions and employment opportunities.  Work experience was to be an integral part of education.


The adoption of the policy led to considerable expansion in educational facilities all over the country at all levels.  By 1986, more than 90 per cent of the country’s rural habitations had schooling facilities within a radius of one kilometre.  There was sizeable augmentation of facilities at other stages also.  Work experience was assigned a place of importance in the school curriculum, and the country was able to meet its requirements of educated manpower.


While the achievements of the policy of 1968 were impressive in themselves, over the years the economic and technical development in the country had reached a stage when, for optimum utilization of the assets already created, a restructuring of education was felt necessary.  It was in response to this felt need that the new National Policy on Education (NPE) was adopted in 1986 after a comprehensive appraisal of the existing educational scenario.


The NPE lays great emphasis on developing a national system of education, the elimination of disparities in the educational systems and provision of more facilities through qualitative intervention.  Development of manpower for different levels of the economy is perceived by the NPE as an important function of education.  It proposes drastic reorganisation of different levels of education so as to reorient them to the needs and requirement of the economy, like vocationalization of secondary education, redesigning of courses and programmes at the tertiary level to meet the demands of specialization better than in the past, targeting of the curricula of technical and management programmes on current as well as projected needs of industry or user systems.  The NPE also envisages promotion of active interaction between technical institutions and industry in programme planning and implementation, exchange of personnel, training facilities and resources, research and consultancy and other areas of mutual interest.  A review of the NPE carried out in 1992 upheld the broad policy framework, and was followed by formulation of a revised Programme of Action (POA), 1992 which synchronizes with the eighth plan (1992-97).



(i)                 Education Planning


Being a planned economy, governmental intervention in education is through planned governmental expenditure.  The expenditure on education as a proportion of GNP had steadily increased from 1.2 per cent in 1950-51 to 3.8 per cent in 1989-90 (Table 4). But more than the total investment, it is the shifting inter-se priorities among the sub-sectors of education that mark the quality of governmental intervention, as well as show the efforts for meeting the manpower needs of a growing economy (see Table 5).  Three phases can clearly be identified in educational expenditure.  In the first phase spanning the period from 1951 to1969, the shares of higher education and technical education increased at the expense of basic, i.e. primary, secondary and adult education.  In comparison with phase I during phase II spanning 1970-1987, the share of technical education declined sharply, higher education remaining more or less steady and basic education recovered to some extent the lost ground.  In the last phase from 1987 onwards, the shares of basic education and technical education gradually increased at the expense of higher education.


Table 4            Budget expenditure on education as percentage of GNP
















1990-91 (RE)


1991-92 (BE





Table 5.          Plan Expenditure on Different Sectors of Education (Percentage)




1st Plan Expt.’51-56

2nd Plan Expdt.’51-61

3rd Plan Expdt.’61-66

Plan Holiday

Expdt. 66-69

4th Plan



5th Plan



6h Plan



7th Plan





8th Plan



Elementary Education






















Secondary Education























One can relate the shifting patterns to the developmental imperatives and the manpower requirements of the economy of the time.  To begin with, universal primary education was perceived as social consumption while skilled manpower supplied by higher and technical education was considered a critical factor of economic development.  By the beginning of the fourth plan (1970) it was realized that the network of technical institutions created was sufficient to meet the anticipated manpower demands.  This realization, coupled with the resource crunch that surfaced during 1969, curtailed investment in technical education in the second phase.  The enunciation of NPE in 1986 led to a realization of the pivotal role of education in national development and manpower planning and this accounts for the priorities given to technical and basic education, which have a direct bearing on the quality of the workforce, in the third phase.


As a result of the efforts since the beginning of the planning process, the number of institutions and enrolment registered remarkable progress.  The number of  primary  and upper primary i.e. up to Class VII institutions went up from 223,267 in 1951 to 717,863 in 1992; secondary educational institutions grew from 7,416 to 81,201, colleges for general education from 370 to 5,058 and college of professional education from 208 to 950 during this period.  The enrolment figures are now 101.6 million, 34.4 million and 21.2 million in primary upper primary and secondary stages respectively, compared to 19.2 million, 3.1 million and 1.5 million respectively in 1951.


3.      Education and Employment


The link between education and the world of work was accepted even from the early days of the modern education system in India.  The vocationalization of secondary education with a view to diverting a proportion of the enrolment at the secondary stage to terminal vocational courses of a practical character and reducing pressures on university admission was an accepted policy of long standing and has been pursued since 1882.  But it made little progress in the pre-independence period partly because the government did not follow it with sufficient zest and partly because industry had not developed and other opportunities of employment to young persons who had received secondary level education were very few.  In the post-independence period, the attempts to vocationalize secondary education continued to be made more vigorously and students were also attracted to these courses in increasing numbers because the economic and other policies of government were also more favourable to employment after the second level of education.  It must, however, be admitted that progress in vocationalizing secondary education was quite tardy till1986.


The extant education policy advocates a systematic, well-planned programme of vocational education which would be a distinct stream intended to prepare students for identified occupations.  It envisages that vocational courses may ordinarily be provided at the higher secondary, i.e. after class X stage but flexibility be provided to start vocational education after class VIII.  The NPE also mentions the need for non-formal and need-based vocational programmes mainly, though not exclusively, for disadvantaged groups.  It also envisages vocational courses at the tertiary level for facilitating vertical mobility.  A modification in the NPE, effected in 1992, envisages children at the higher

secondary level being imparted generic vocational courses which cut across several occupational fields and which are not occupation specific.


A substantially funded scheme for vocationalization of secondary education was started in 1998. At the end of 1991-92 facilities have been created for vocational education for about 627,000 students in classes XI and XII.  This accounts for 9.49 per cent of students enrolled at this stage.


With a view to establishing credibility of the programme and to attracting more students, the vocational programme was revamped recently.  The revised programme lays particular emphasis on training of teachers and teachers’ trainers, effective management structures at all levels, equivalence among the vocational, technical and academic courses, curriculum development in consultation with employers, and enlisting community involvement and participation of commercial establishments and industrial houses.  Apprenticeship training in an important aspect of vocational education.  The training strengthens the skills of the vocational students by placing them in real work situations in industries/farms, thereby establishing their worthiness in the area of vocational training obtained.


The current vocational education strategy contains a number of measures facilitating employment of vocational stream students.  These include (a) ensuring equivalence of certificates in vocational programmes issued by different agencies, (b) amendment of recruitment rules in the governmental sector to give preference to students trained in specific vocational skills in jobs requiring such skills, (c) vocational guidance programme aimed at informing the students about job opportunities in various courses and facilities for on-the-job training and placement, (d) developing linkages with various government departments, industry and institutions in the field of agriculture, medicine, health, etc. and (e) facilitating self-employment through financial assistance.


At the primary and upper primary stages of education, Work Experience (WE) forms an integral part of the curriculum in many states.  WE programmes are aimed at developing confidence and sufficient psycho-motor skills in students to facilitate their entry into the world of work at a subsequent stage.


Provision of pre-vocational programmes at the lower secondary sage is also envisaged in the programmes.  Pre-vocational education imparts training in simple marketable skills to students in classes IX and X to develop vocational interests and to allow for self-exploration of vocational preferences, to prepare students for participation in work and to inculcate the desired values related to work culture.


Diversification of courses in the university, opening of more polytechnics and industrial training institutes, modernization and removal of obsolescence at all levels of technical education and provision of vocational training facilities in the non-formal sector to school dropouts and neo-literates primarily through NGOs, are other important programmes in linking education with the world of work.


2.      Manpower Planning and Education: New Challenges


The economic development of the country in general, and the process of industrialization in particular, over the last four decades have brought about a sea-change in the manpower requirements and employment scenario.  The comprehensive economic reforms ushered in since 1991 have further intensified the pace of change with concurrent impacts on manpower needs.  The need for introduction of new technologies for keeping pace with the rest of the world, for securing higher real wage earnings and quality of life for the workers pose new challenges to education and employment policies.


Hitherto, the public sector has been the major employer in the organized sectors, having accounted for 70 per cent of the total employed (see Table 6).  The employment policies of the public sector under a ‘command economy’ had more latitude in the matter of matching qualifications and job requirements than those of the private sector in a ‘market’ economy.  A study at the time of formulation of the NPE in 1986 had shown that over 50 per cent of the workers in the public sector in occupations requiring technical knowledge or skills did not possess the relevant education or training and that 94 per cent of the workers in occupations requiring general education did not possess formal education.


A part of the unemployment problem emanates from the mismatch between the skill requirements of employment opportunities and the skill base of the job-seekers.  The mismatch is likely to become more acute in the process of rapid structural changes in the economy.  It is, therefore, necessary to orient the educational and training system towards improving its capability to supply the requisite skills in the medium and long terms, and introduce greater flexibility in the training system so as to enable it to quickly respond to labour market changes in the short run.  Besides, the system should also be in a position to impart suitable training  to the large mass of workers engaged as self-employed and wage earners in the unorganised sector for upgrading of their skills, as an effective means for raising their productivity and income levels.


Table 6. Employment in the Organised Public and Private Sectors


(As of 31st March)
















Public Sector







Private Sector