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“Privatisation Of Higher Education Is A Double-Edged Sword”

Updated: June 4, 2011 1:25 pm

Being head of a private university, how are you performing in the field of higher education?

As head of an institution, I have had the opportunity to be involved in the unstoppable growth of S-VYASA. Academically, I have been learning constantly throughout my career, and each year brings more knowledge through questions posed by younger generation. On the networking side, we have been participating in various forums. I am glad to inform you that on behalf of S-VYASA, I have been invited by AYUSH as part of the “Constitution of Steering Committee on AYUSH for the Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2012-2017)”. We have implemented some path-breaking methods and schemes for higher education in yoga. The going has not been easy since we have had to break new grounds but we are happy with our progress.

Why does India lack world standard in higher education?

There have been great advancements in the world with technology making its mark. We have now seen a transformation in the third-world regions, as the information gap has reduced with simplifying technologies. We are still in a state of evolution, trying to mix-and-match our ancient cultural heritage in the modern paradigm. However, “dharmo rakshati rakshitah” (dharma protects those who protect dharma) as it is said. Dharma protects itself or dharma will prevail eventually. Man is a vibrant life-form and he will choose the best available knowledge base in the world to sustain this creation.

Do you feel that the government has failed to promote Indian education?

I believe that Indian education is in a state of evolution. As we evolve, we can bring back the glory of our education system, and transform the whole world. Bhakti yoga or the Science of Emotion Culture is a scientific methodology through which a student can deal with modern-day, lifestyle-inflicted maladies caused by mental imbalance such as depression and psychosomatic disorders. Indian cultural heritage holds the secret to this science. We don’t need to hard sell Indian education since it will prove its efficacy in time.

VYASA is doing a lot of research work, but meritorious students prefer other universities. Comment.

Yoga is still in nascent age, although we have seen yoga gain great acceptability over the last few years. As Malcolm Gladwell puts it in The Tipping Point, yoga has now come to the point of tipping over. Once it tips over, we are certain that application of yoga can be experienced in all walks of life, including education. This being the case, yoga will become an essential component of education. We have proposed yoga for various curricula in primary, higher secondary and higher education in India and abroad too. I am certain it is a matter of time. Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man. Our students may not be the most meritorious but they have now been introduced to this manifestation. We believe that they become good human beings.

Do you support the Foreign University Bill?

Yes, a Foreign University Bill is required to bring the best of the west together with the best of east. As more and more universities make their offerings available to a common pool of students in India, the best system of education will evolve. Although it seems an abstract concept to measure foreign universities by Indian standards, we will have to evolve a policy for their participation in India. As it stands, for lack of policy, any foreign university can enter India irrespective of their value-assessment. This may be stopped with an introduction of the Foreign University Bill.

Is Privatisation of Higher Education a boon or bane for India?

Privatisation, as we have seen, is a double-edged sword. But we have seen its many benefits, due to the private participation in various sectors such as telecom and automobiles. We have reaped the great benefits of technology largely due to privatisation. I am certain that we would mature greatly through privatisation in education. However, the policies must be set so that we don’t provide inroads for another Macaulay. We have a large number of young entrepreneurs in India who have an inclination for Vedic education. Such people can be encouraged to revive our Vedic education system based on our ancient spiritual lore, while leveraging the upscalabilities of technology.

Interviewed by Ashok Kumar

Dr HR Nagendra

Vice-Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, Bengaluru

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