29 December 2020: The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
1)The 5G great game
GS 3 Science and technology
- The current phenomenon: is a race among countries for technologies. Among the many technologies, a new one is 5G. There are many unimaginable benefits to mankind as well as hidden hazards to privacy.
- Information and data are the prime movers of the Internet of Things.
- The 5G is the most efficient enabler of information and data. It may have an ability to access and control the data of individuals, groups or nations.
CHINA IN NEPAL:
- Height of Mount Everest: Recently China and Nepal agreeing to increase the height of Mount Everest by three metres. It may look insignificant.
- This agreeing could lead to an invasion by Chinese 5G technology. As a result, it will control Nepal’s mountaineering and tourism industry.
- The launch of 5G in Nepal: would mean that Nepal’s business interests, Real-time information on weather, routes, map/terrain details, logistics and rescue programmes, etc, could be based on Chinese 5G.
- Increased dependency: As a result of this, locals or visitors to Nepal dependent on this 5G technology.
- China is also a major stakeholder in Mount Everest.
- In Nepal, there are lower incomes, the tourism industry might get lured into Chinese cheap loans, leading to a strategic debt trap.
- For 5G: Chinese companies have made huge investments across the world to spread a 5G network.
- The purpose of the 5G network is to the digital encirclement of the world.
- In the BRI: it is the fact that Chinese companies will build digital infrastructure in the BRI.
- Militaries: who do not have 5G capabilities for IoT platforms and who allow Chinese 5G, could then become hostage to Chinese technology during the pandemic.
- The CPEC: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a clear example to encircle a country.
CHANGING PHENOMENON IN 2020:
- The digital domain: In this year the world transits from the physical to a digital domain.
- Work from Home: Also the pandemic has pushed people and businesses to work from home.
- Internet providers are the busiest.
- At army level: Militaries have been pushed to the borders, treaties and agreements are being signed, and a record number of military deals have happened.
- This year has witnessed global military conflicts since the Gulf War.
- AI applications have been at display in warfare, with drone killing machines being advertised.
- Indian 5G: India is likely to survive the onslaught of the Chinese 5G invasion if it increases the launch of Indian 5G.
- India is working on technologies that would enable it to launch Indigenous 5G.
- This indigenous 5G would run IoT platforms for civilians as well as military applications.
- The banning of Chinese apps: and blocking of hardware supply chains would be the correct counteroffensive. the major problem before India is that it is poor in implementation.
- The implementation of 5G which is delayed, can make India a good alternative to China.
- As well as RCEP and China’s other debt strategies will remain a larger threat to the world.
2) Systems challenge-
GS 2- Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education
- In September, speaking on the New Education Policy (NEP), Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined the importance of the knowledge economy. “We are working to make India a knowledge economy, to tackle brain drain,” he said.
- The policy, indeed, talks of “nurturing creativity”, enhancing “employability” and inviting foreign institutions to set up campuses. But these should be seen as only the first steps towards building capacities.
CHALLENGES OF HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM IN INDIA:
1. Gap between the Supply and demand: In higher education, India has a low rate of enrolment i.e. gross enrolment ratio (GER), at only 19%. If we compared to china and brazil GER is 26% and 36% respectively.
2. Lack of Quality Research work: There is no shortage of funding for the top Indian Institutions such as IITs, IIMs and other institutes of national importance. However, the budget for the Research is not underspent due to the insufficient good quality research work. Due to the limited focus on Research and Internationalization, very few Indian higher educational institutes are globally recognized.
3. Number of Research papers published in India has increased continuously for the past few decades but reflected in low citation impact if compared with other countries like Germany, United States, France and China.
4. Indian higher education is facing the problem of poor quality of the curriculum. In most of the higher educational institutes curriculum is out-dated and irrelevant.
5. Shortage of Faculty and High Student-Faculty Ratio: In most of the state and central universities more than 30% of faculty positions are lying vacant. While the student enrolment in higher education is growing with a faster rate in the last few years.
6. Inadequate Infrastructure and Facilities: Apart from the highly recognized higher educational institutes in India most of the colleges and universities lack in the basic and high-end research facilities. Many institutes are running without proper infrastructure and basic facilities like library, hostels, transport, sports facility etc. which is desirable to rank the quality institution.
7. Presently there is a very less collaboration of higher educational institutes with industries.
8. Low employability of graduates is one of the major problems in India. Only a small proportion of Indian graduates are considered employable. Placement outcome also drops significantly as we move away from the top institutes.
- These pertain to funding, academic autonomy, designing robust processes for recruitment of faculty, counselling arrangements for early-career researchers, and systems to help overcome the many barriers to equality and diversity.
- The number of universities in the country has grown nearly 40 times since independence. Unfortunately, however, an overwhelming majority of these institutions are veritable rubber stamps for degree certificates.
- A handful of research institutes, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the Indian Institute of Science or some of the IITs, for example, do conduct cutting edge research. But these institutes are, by and large, outside the university system.
- Most Indian universities are too encumbered by regulatory shackles to have the freedom to design courses, find creative ways to raise funds, engage with other institutions — in the country and elsewhere — and devise mechanisms of collaboration with industry.
- An academic system that does not encourage the free flow of ideas between industry and academia does not fit the bill for several bright minds of the generation that has come of age after the country opened up in the 1990s.
- A contrasting example is that of the US — the preferred destination for most students interviewed by this paper — where universities have incubated cutting edge research.
- The role of Stanford University’s engineering department in building Silicon Valley’s tech-boom is well-known.
- In return, the university’s entrepreneurial alumni have created an endowment system that has strengthened Stanford’s links with the information economy.
- Similarly, the pharma major, Pfizer, and the University of California in San Diego have created systems to combine academic thinking with drug development expertise.
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVING THE SYSTEM OF HIGHER EDUCATION:
- There is a need to implement innovative and transformational approach form primary to higher education level to make the Indian educational system globally more relevant and competitive.
- In higher educational institutes Industrial co-operation must be there for the development of curriculum, organizing expert lectures, internships, live projects, career counselling and placements.
- Higher educational institutes need to improve quality, reputation and establish credibility through student exchange, faculty exchange programs, and other collaborations with high- quality national and international higher educational institutes.
- The government must promote collaboration between Indian higher education institutes and top International institutes and also generates linkage between national research laboratories and research centres of top institutions for better quality and collaborative research.
- There is a need to focus on the graduate students by providing them such courses in which they can achieve excellence, gain a deeper knowledge of the subject so that they will get jobs after recruitment in the companies which would reduce unnecessary rush to the higher education.
- Translating the NEP’s emphasis on research to honing creativity will require a fundamental shift in university admission processes.
- The unrealistically high cut-offs speak of an education system that does not encourage creative learning.
- For those hobbled by caste, class and gender, this system creates another cycle of deprivation and in so doing, robs academia of the diversity required to create thriving knowledge hubs.
- Such a milieu is also likely to be at odds with the government’s thrust on self-reliance, Atmanirbhar Bharat.
- In the coming months and years as policymakers finetune the NEP and give shape to Atmanirbhar Bharat, they will have to find ways to circumvent several social and institutional roadblocks, shed a lot of baggage.