Call for Acadonomics | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 2nd Sep 2020

If you can’t, you must. If you must, you can.– Tony Robbins

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT #120 :“Call for Acadonomics | UPSC

Call for Acadonomics _ UPSC

Sandeep Sancheti
Call for Acadonomics | UPSC

Sandeep Sancheti is Vice Chancellor, SRM Institute of Science and Technology (SRMIST) Chennai and Past President, Association of Indian Universities (AIU) New Delhi

      HEADLINES:

Disruption and chalking out a new idea for education

      CENTRAL THEME:

In the aftermath of the pandemic’s deep impact in India, ‘Acadonomics’ is a concept whose time may have come

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Education

      MAINS QUESTION:

 COVID-19, as it has come to be called, is leaving a lasting impression on education. Discuss -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

  • Indian Institutions vs West
  • Private Education
  • Online Mode of learning

      INTRODUCTION: 

Now, six months into the pandemic, not only has there been a colossal loss of life and economic damage the world over.

  • This in turn is bound to have a telling impact on generations to come, forgetting for a second the extent to which the current graduating classes are in a state of limbo.
  • In a larger perspective it has also raised the spectre of educational institutions shuttering their doors completely or taking unprecedented steps that have invariably affected jobs and livelihoods.

      BODY: 

COMPARISON  WITH WEST

  • SHIFTING GEARS : In an academic setting is not easy whether one is talking about institutions in the developed West or the developing nations.
  • RESOURCE AVAILABILITY : Economics has always been a part of academics. How management, especially in private institutions, is going to meet demands.
  • ACADONOMICS : If one may call this new phenomenon “acadonomics”, it would imply a careful allocation of resources keeping in mind the transient nature of the issue .
  • BOUNCING BACK : Its all about of how long it is going to take to come back to the steady state of affairs that it once was.

Acadonomics’ will also involve seeing the economics of moving on to an online mode of the teaching-learning process.

  • ACADEMIC CHOICES : The academic choices, or in some instances, luxuries, are not the same for all countries across the world.
  • MECCA OF HIGHER EDUCATION : The United States, the elite private and state subsidised universities have endowments for giving out fellowships to subsidising tuition fees.

EXAMPLE
Harvard University is said to have an endowment of close to $40 billion.

By contrast, private academic institutions in India which are not-for-profit do not have any such buffers.

  • LESS CORPUSES : None of the institutions in this country possesses big corpuses from alumni or industry.
  • UNIVERSITY IN INDIA : Their survival for the most part is on the annual income that comes from tuition and the assortment of other fees collected.

PRIVATE EDUCATION

  • THE SETUP : In an educational set-up in India, nothing can be reduced — the norms cannot be lowered nor can the infrastructure be dismantled.
  • FIXED OPERATING COST : The status quo with respect to fixed costs remains the same, with some marginal adjustments possibly in costs of electricity, water and deferments in salaries.

BURDENED STUDENTS  : The downside to self-financed institutions is that in the time of the pandemic and loss of jobs, students plead inability to pay the requisite fee.

  • STRESSED INFRASTRUCTURE : Thereby placing additional burden on the management which in turn is paying off interest on the money borrowed for improving infrastructure on their campuses.

DUAL MODE OF LEARNING

  • LEARNING SPIKE : The spike in cost for persisting with a dual mode of the teaching-learning process is going to be quite prohibitive for the next few years.
  • SCALING OF OPERATIONS : The dual modes of online and offline is going to be expensive due to a dual mode of educational delivery.
  • SOCIAL DISTANCING NORMS : This will enforce a smaller class sizes, thereby increasing the effective teaching load and multiplicity of efforts.

DIGITIZATION COST : The online teaching mode brings with it increased costs of IT infrastructure such as network bandwidth, servers, cloud resources and software licensing fees.

  • MASSIVE OPENING : Online teaching means new hiring in the IT sector and increased costs due to engagements with Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs.
  • INVESTMENT : Online teaching means setting up multiple studios and educational technology centres which translate into investments in high technology.
  • DEPLETING FINANCES : Creation of virtual laboratories across all domains of studies and examination centres, etc. .
  • TRAINING : Additional funds have to be allocated to train faculty for online teaching.

      IASbhai Windup: 

POSSIBLE REFORMS

SOFT LOANS : The onus is on the Centre and State governments to provide soft loans to students to stay with the educational course.

  • COUPONS : Students would be to opt for online courses as they could cut back and save on hostel, mess and travel costs.
  • FEE COLLECTION : State should interfere in the fee structure, and, for the future, even consider a measure of higher degree of financial autonomy.
  • ASSISTANCE : Technology can flatten the cost due to economies of scale, but in a shorter frame of time of three to five years, the cost of education is likely to go up.
  • ‘ACADONOMICS’ OF THE FUTURE : This will not only decide the fate of the academic sector in India but also its quality, ranking, research, innovation potential and its collective impact on our country’s economy.
       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Call for Acadonomics | UPSC

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