Tuesday, 7 August 2012

international seminar on 21 and 22 november 2012



The world today has entered a new phase of history, where, change is an essential feature affecting every field and condition of individual and social life and activity. This creates an alteration in the needs for skills in different categories of working population, thereby resulting in a need for occupational and social mobility and lifelong education and training.
            There has been an impressive growth of education in the latter half of the 20th century. This has been accompanied by a significant rise in the average level of education of the world population. In fact it is the development of higher education which can be seen as one of the decisive factors in the progress of education as a whole, along with the remarkable advancement in knowledge. It is this very development which has brought about an unprecedented increase in the capacities for the advancement and spread of knowledge and its practical application and technological innovations. 
            The world thus has undergone a tremendous change with the advent and proliferation of information and communication technologies such as the Internet, e mail, and wireless communication whose impact can be seen in every sector of society and every corner of the globe. In this era that has emerged in the course of human history the role of corporations is very vital in complementing governmental efforts.

            Higher education in both the developed and developing countries is essentially a government supported public good. However, with the rapidly emerging changes the government may find it difficult to match the pace of change. This is particularly so in case of developing countries. From the perspective of the developing countries, keeping educational values intact, emphasis should be laid on ensuring that all members of the society seeking education have an access to the internet. This requires training of teachers at the grass root level. The whole process is difficult though not impossible.
            In this era the role of business is joining hands with the government to help promote long term policies. Several barriers are bound to come in the way in the form of differences in the types of regimes and the forms of governments, financial hurdles, technological barriers arising from the non availability of adequate infrastructural facilities, social and cultural barriers stemming from educational disparities, traditional taboos and age old customs.
            Indeed the point of discussion is how far the educational policy should encourage greater collaboration between industry and universities? Should the government encourage greater collaboration between universities in the sensitive field of education is a question worth asking. This seminar we feel would provide a platform for the interaction of views and ideas between the renowned experts in the field and fellow teacher participants and it is precisely with this aim in mind that our college decided to organize an International Seminar on a leading issue of symbiosis between academics and industry.
 The following is the gist of the themes of the Seminar..   
1) Corporate Social Responsibility and higher education (CSR)
The concept of CSR which came into usage in the late 60s and early 70s can generally be considered as continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to business development while simultaneously improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families, the local community and society at large.
In the present era of globalization as corporations are becoming increasingly aware of their social responsibility, education, which is generally a public good, faces the mounting challenges of standardized testing, financial constraints teacher retention and global workforce competition. For many businesses education forms an important part of their plans for various strategic reasons. This includes building up of positive reputation and goodwill among the consumers and employees, employing a more educated workforce, raising of consumer awareness and fulfilling a company’s mission.
The advent of information and communication technologies such as internet, email and wireless has brought about a tremendous change in the education sector. In this new knowledge economy the role played by corporations is crucial in complementing government’s efforts. The role of businesses entails joining forces with the government to help, explain and promote long-term policies to the affected population.
CSR has many facets. Companies have been finding various innovative alternatives to discharge their social responsibility. Education can be considered as the most apt one for any corporate to discharge its social responsibility. Corporate support to education will imply reenergized education sector which can transform our country into a true knowledge power and thereby lead to future prosperity and growth.
Taking into account the theme of the Seminar, expert views on Corporate Social Responsibility in higher education would provide the much needed information on the symbiosis between the academia and the corporate world.
2) Public Private Partnership in Higher Education
            Generally education all over the world is considered as a merit good whose consumption needs have to be provided. Consequently education is publicly provided by every nation and even when not publicly provided; it is subsidized by the state in both the developed and developing countries.
No doubt imparting education is considered as the responsibility of the state. Under the new Global order, however, the government itself will not be able to handle the huge investment required for higher education. The public system may not be able to cope with the growing market demand and global competition. Increase in Private Investment seems necessary to expand infrastructure, and provide greater access to quality higher education.
Public Private Partnership can be defined as a form of contract that the government makes with the private service provider to acquire a specified service of a desired quantity and quality at an agreed price for a specified time.
Public Private Partnership has increased dramatically all over the world catering to all communities- the high income and the low income groups. India is no exception. In fact it can be considered as an effective mechanism for luring the much needed Private Sector investment in Indian higher education without diluting much, the regulatory powers of the government and other authorities.
The discussion of this issue at the ensuing Seminar would provide the Teacher Delegates some knowledge on: the working of Public Private Partnerships all over the world; their benefits and shortcomings; specifically keeping in mind the interests of the developing countries. Worldwide Scholarships and policy making give rise to new ideas and models for the role of higher education and research in the society and economy. This development clearly points to changing relationships and boundaries between public and private areas in higher education. In terms of the developing countries the objective of such a partnership has to be to increase the enrollment rate and bring about developments in the education outcome (like dropout rates) particularly of students from low income families. 
 3) Role of Research in Higher Education
Historically Research and Higher Education have been a central concern within development initiatives. Research and higher education form a vital part of the path towards growth and progress. Infact rather than a luxury it is necessity to fight against poverty.
Academicians today are a worried lot. They are worried that a knowledge economy like India shows a declining resource of highly educated people. Brilliant youngsters are skipping the long and arduous doctoral routes at premiere universities. Rather they are taking recourse to short cut fast earning courses.
With the fast pace of change – a result of globalization, the importance of higher education in furthering research is becoming increasingly important. After all higher education plays an important part in a country’s research and development efforts. Academic research through universities forms an important component of the technological base of a country.
Today the situation is that research efforts are unevenly distributed between different countries and regions. Some industrialized countries conduct the greater part of world’s research. The developing countries on the other hand do not have a larger share in the global research effort.
There is a growing international awareness of the need for enhancing the role of higher education, science and technology within aid and development policies. Apart from contributing to economic growth research and higher education create a critical awareness which gathers more significance when applied in the field of social and human sciences as providers of knowledge essential for good governance.
As members of the academic fraternity we are disturbed by the dwindling number of students opting for pure research. Deliberations at this seminar will hopefully throw light on the means of improving research studies. This aspect assumes greater importance at a time when research activities are playing a crucial role in the new globalized economy. 
4) Faculty Crunch and Higher Education
Good faculty is a must for any higher educational institution aspiring for quality. A world class higher educational institution can be described as one that supports teaching and research preferably over a wide range of faculties ranging from arts and humanities to science and technology. An institution to be universally recognized must have an internationally acclaimed devoted faculty. 
However, Indian higher education system today seems to be grabbing the headlines of all leading Newspapers for facing the problem of faculty crunch. This problem seems to be more pronounced in case of Institutions of National Importance. In fact Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said that it is difficult to find top level Professors and Lecturers in the newly created Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Science, Education and Research. 
A task force comprising of UGC, Vice Chancellors and Educationists, was appointed to prepare an action plan to address the issue. It suggested that efforts should be made to bring in a system that ensures smooth process of induction and promotion of faculty cadre. Other measures included reducing bureaucratic red tapism that accompanies appointments, setting up of independent development and recruitment cells and selection and appointment of bright students while they are pursuing their academic career. 
The clear need seems to be for mobilization of resources and a policy framework to ensure that the growing higher education system maintains the quality standards as expected in the society.
At a time when the Indian higher education system is facing the problem of faculty crunch, discussion of this topic at the seminar would provide teacher participants an idea of the gravity of the problem facing their own profession.
5) Women empowerment and higher education 
It has been generally acknowledged that the thread of the family weaves the fabric of the society particularly the Indian society and women are considered as the hub centre of the family. The role of women has changed drastically over the years. From a typical housewife, with liberalization modernization and globalization on the role and responsibilities of women has widened substantially, educational and occupational patterns have changed and women are entering domains which till decades back were considered as male domains. More and more women are joining the service sector especially banking and information Technology Against this background, the crucial issue that remains is one of women’s rights and empowerment.
Women’s rights are measured as the means by which a dignified living is ensured, thereby safeguarding her privileges. The basic fundamental rights of speech, freedom are decision – making are the basic rights of every individual, as mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The right for education and employment are significant for women development and national development in the wider sense. The power and freedom to exercise these rights can be considered as Women Empowerment. Women empowerment can only be facilitated if she is able to exercise her right in the socio – eco spheres of decision – making.
Empowerment of women is a gradual and complicated process. There has been a gradual improvement in the status of women particularly in the rural economy. Indian women have achieved international acclaim in various fields. However, her status has to further improve and the gender gap reduce if India has to emerge as a global power.
It is a disappointing point to note that even today one finds gender discrimination in a developing country like India, particularly in the rural areas. One has to remove this gap if Indian education has to be meaningful in the current global economy.
Academics is one sector where women’s involvement is increasing day by day. Expert views at the Seminar would definitely help in recommending and implementing measures for women empowerment.



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