Role of universities in the 21st century has been phenomenal. Universities help a nation in giving it economic vitality, scientific prowess, a broad outline of social change and global competitiveness, through innovation and research.
In India the problem is more of employability, than of unemployment. The skills that people have are not appropriate for securing employment. Universities are centers of learning and have always been places where the skills and knowledge of students are chiseled to suit the requirements of the work places. It is imperative that our universities assess well in advance and structure courses in a manner that will help their students enter the employment market, prepared for jobs available.
It should also encourage our youth to set up their own enterprises. The interactions of the students of the university with local industry and several socio-economic organizations would be useful in understanding the dynamic of business. Such an initiative helps students to interact with local communities and understand their issues. Those who are educated must work for the enlistment of the disadvantaged sections of society. They can undertake social welfare work, become messengers of change and in this way, become individuals who have a sense of responsibility to society.
The role of a university in the 21st century occupies a place of utmost importance in the socio-economic development of a nation. A university is a community of teachers and students who work together with the goal of learning and expanding the horizons of human knowledge. Jawaharlal Nehru rightly said “all is well with a nation, if its universities are in good shape and functional.”
Effective leadership and management are critical contributory factors to success in research and teaching 21st century universities. The Leadership and Management steam therefore integrates a range of key elements within these fields that affect higher education institutions around the globe.
We should examine the role of universities as vehicles for innovation and economic development in the country.
Research is one of the core activities of any university. The 21st Century sees the further advancement of international research collaboration and although the rigor and discipline involved in research has not changed, the focus of research in many institutions has done. Continuation of the research, innovation and enterprise, leadership and management should get top priority.
The profile of higher education institutions in the country changing to keep ace with the rapidly globalizing world, the role of university in the 21st century as resource providers to the emerging knowledge economy has gained added resonance. It is against this backdrop that the Sam Pitroda-chaired Knowledge Commission Report – published earlier in 2009 needs to be examined.
And it was this kind of scrutiny that the report was subjected to in a national meeting of vice-chancellors organized by the Association of Indian Universities at Anna University recently. The Knowledge Commission Report’s terms of reference as multifaceted. Constituted as per the government notification, it has the following terms of reference: build institutions of excellence to increase India’s competitive advantage in the fields of knowledge, to promote knowledge creation in science and technology laboratories, improve the management of institutions engaged in intellectual property rights, promote knowledge application in agriculture and industry and promote knowledge capabilities in effective governance.
No doubt, 21st century is the best period to be an Indian. Never before was the level of confidence in us so high, in spite of the rich heritage and past glories, as it is today. With budges at an all time high, capital being pumped in at a dizzying pace by foreign investors, Indian companies reaching out to and buying out iconic business firms and India making a huge presence in every internal political equation, there are no doubts that India is next big superpower.
Gone are the days when India was seen as a country of snake charmers, rope tricks and pompous maharajas, it is now being seen as a country producing entrepreneurs, efficient doctors and IIT-ians. The role of universities in 21st century will be for research in different new technologies like biotechnology, disaster management, and genetics and so on. It will focus on research, leadership and management, innovation and enterprises.
IIT-ians have by and large, been the biggest brand in recent times to reach out to the world and herald the coming-of-age of Indians, but while pondering over the role of the IIT-ins in nation building, we must first ask to ourselves, is the situation in India as rosy as it is painted?
India ranks 125th on the human development index (HDI) prepared by UN this year, has a high incidence of starvation deaths and an ever-increasing number of educated unemployed youth. There hasn’t been much improvement in civic facilities and quality of education and research in the country.
Technocrats can, have, helped in nation building in many ways. We have set new benchmarks in the fields of technology and management and have made significant contributions to the IT revolution in the country.
The Indian diasporas, led by technical persons have become a huge presence in the world over and have helped in making huge bargains in the country’s interests, so much that both democrats and republicans came out in support of the Indo-US nuclear deal.
However, most of problems India faces stay unattended to.