Over the past decade, Pawan’s career trajectory has been closely intertwined with developments in the Indian higher education. Those, who know him, also know about his deep passion, unorthodox views, and several contributions to the higher education sector in the country. Now meet the author, Pawan Agarwal

Several myths

THIS book describes the higher education landscape in India, identifying gaps and needs, and based on the lessons learnt from the experiences of other countries, the book provides perspectives to shape its future. The framework in the book enables clear understanding of
the complexity of the system. The book looks at Indian higher education in a holistic manner and adopts a comparative approach for analysis. While reviewing various facets of the Indian higher education, the book adopts a systems approach to achieve coherence and multi-level
coordination required to address its genuine concerns on a long-term basis. Changes in higher education are related to the transformation taking place in the economy, the demography and the society. Small order behavioural changes at the micro level are connected to the
changes at the macro level. These are shaping the realties of Indian society, economy and the Indian higher education.

As India is a land of oddities, puzzles and paradoxes, so is its higher education system. Indian higher education is complex, with many contradictions. Instead of coming to an understanding of this complexity by actual data and research, policy is often based on the impressions of
a few people. In this book, therefore, there is a deliberate focus on data in analysis. It is hoped that good data will sieve reality from myth and allow informed decision making. However, quantification is not always possible and perceptions play an important role, thus the discussions
in the book also take into account common perceptions.

Despite its weaknesses, the country’s recent visibility in the knowledge sector has created a distinct brand of Indian higher education. Indian graduates, particularly from some of the prestigious institutions, are sought after globally. The Indian brand of higher education can be
creatively used to the country’s advantage. Such perception has helped the country to achieve success in some areas. Continuous reinforcement of this success, however, clouds many perceptions of reality and we tend to fall into the trap of ‘persuasion-bias’. This bias continues to perpetuate and exacerbate certain fallacies and inconsistencies.

There are several such myths...

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