Education lessons for India from UC Berkeley

Robert Birgeneau,Chancellor of University of California has some valuable lessons for higher education in India. He offers couple of gems:

There is a focus on skill development in countries like India, primarily to meet the increased demand for manpower across the world. How do you visualise the role of universities in the skill development mission?

There is a need to understand the difference between education and skill development. Skill development is about training, it serves short-term requirements, it does not serve long-term needs. The responsibility of universities is to educate people not just to train them.

An education, which universities should provide, teaches people to learn to solve problems. Skill development doesn’t do that; it provides training. Consider this: 50% of those involved in management perform different skills from what they learnt. It is education that helps people make this transition to new roles and not skill development.

Next is the role of Ivy leagues:

How central is the state in providing higher education, especially in a country like the United States which has well-known universities which are not public education institutions?

Ivy League institutions account for less than 1% of those in the university system these are privileged sections. Fact is, 75% of students in the United States are educated in public institutions. When we talk of the impact on the American economy, we need to understand that it is totally dominated by public institutions. The state has a responsibility to provide adequate access, the private system is biased to the wealthy.

And finally the competition to retain faculty:

Higher education institutions across the world face the challenge posed by industry and the corporate sector when it comes to retaining faculty. How does an eminent public institution like UC Berkeley deal with this challenge?

Interestingly, it is other research universities rather than industry to which we lose faculty. At UC Berkeley, we face competition from other rich research universities for faculty. Industry doesn’t pose such a threat. We offer the opportunity to teach at a flagship research university. We also have a number, not a huge number, of faculty members who straddle both teaching and private sector jobs.

All this is quite different from what we believe in India – Universities need to address talent shortages, private sector should takeover education, the need to expand ivy league colleges in India etc. 

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4 Responses to “Education lessons for India from UC Berkeley”

  1. Mathematics Education Blog » Blog Archive » Education lessons for India from UC Berkeley Says:

    […] Ryan Barnes: […]

  2. Education » Education lessons for India from UC Berkeley Says:

    […] Amol Agrawal wrote an interesting post today on Education lessons for India from UC BerkeleyHere’s a quick excerptRobert Birgeneau,Chancellor of University of California has some valuable lessons for higher education in India. He offers couple of gems:There is a focus on skill development in countries like India, primarily to meet the increased … […]

  3. HmmBut Says:

    I have been crying hoarse saying the same things for years and Indians are the last people to believe in this. Its nice to see someone from UC Berkley echo what I believe in.

    PS: I found the last question you highlighted very funny. The interviewer has a notion common among some people that everyone runs after money. People have variegated interests in western countries. Not everyone can be wooed with money and not everyone is interested in it either.

  4. Sanjana Says:

    Nice informative article, India a country provides real good number of man power; it’s definitely a great step to provide skills training to groom them. It will be great if you can also publish this piece of information in SiliconIndia.com as I am a member of SiliconIndia I am sure that this information will be useful for most of the members. http://www.siliconindia.com/register.php?id=T49I1Fh5

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