Much before education became the commodity it is today, it was worshipped by the classes and masses in our country. People were willing to invest any amount of time and money to bag their degree. However, over the years and with commercialization of education, priorities have changed. Though the sentiment to spend on education remains the same, the reasons to bag the degree are certainly different. Here was a time when higher education was about acquiring knowledge and earning a distinguished degree with excellent academic records. However, today perceptions have changed and education is only a means to secure a well paid job. Most students are more interested in knowing the number and profiles of companies visiting the institution than the quality of education imparted.
Experts believe that many students look at education as a means to an end and the quest to ‘learn’ has long been lost. Thus, it comes as no surprise that ‘new improved’ courses from hitherto unknown universities (that many a times do not have the requisite certifications) are slowly but steadily gaining in popularity. True and in this pursuit of a different degree that would give them an edge over competition, students often overlook the fact that if the institute offering the fancy specialization is not an established one, they are not likely to attract attention in the job market.
In some cases, these new niche courses are not offered by recognized universities. Thus students enroll with private colleges. Of course this is not the only reason why students enroll for colleges/universities whose only claim to fame is their presence in all media, thanks to commercial announcements.
Sometimes students are unaware of the implications of, enrolling for such courses. At others, they feel recognition is not as important as getting a job and if a course promises students a job, they opt for it to seek employment.
One of the biggest factors that influence students decision to enroll for such colleges / universities is their performances in either their exams or the entrance exams that determine their chances of getting admission in reputed recognized colleges. A larger number of students and parents get carried away by sops that these seemingly help institutes offer. However, they do not read the fine print in the process.
For instance, not many are aware of the fact that private institutes cannot award degrees on their accord, be it a BBA or an MLBA. In quite a few cases, private institutes can only offer autonomous certificate programs or diplomas which might have a high local recognition but are rarely accepted by international employers or institutes of higher education.
The foreign factor is yet another crowd puller. Take a case a student of an unrecognized college that eventually downed its shutters. The college was offering much more than the regular education and course practical. Facilities like trip to an international university and the opportunity to present our research in a foreign country sounded very lucrative.
Precisely the reason Ms R enrolled with another private university. The program description included faculty from NASA and DRDO. All went well till one day a notice was received saying that the lease of college premises had expired and thus they had to vacate the property. A student of a leading college that offered a diploma in fashion in affiliation with a leading foreign fashion institute, it was once again the lure of foreign shores that made him sign up for that course. Apart from the affiliation they promised a runway program designed to showcase their products in front of international designers. Little did he know that the affiliation was allegedly a spelling mistake presented in their course prospectus.
Irrespective of preference for foreign education and degrees, fact remains that the world over people regard Indian education in high esteem and look at educated Indians as competition. Even US President Barack Obama, while announcing the American Graduation Initiative in Warren Michigan said that he was laying the foundation of an education system which would help America compete with China and India in the 21st century. Yet, Indian students continue to nurse dreams of graduating from a foreign university.