The Changing Scenario of Management Education in India
Prof. C. S. Venkataratnam, Member, FICCI Higher Education Committee & Director, IMI, New Delhi
Ms Shobha Mishra,
Joint Director & Team Leader, Education & Health Services Division, FICCI
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Member, FICCI Higher Education Committe & Director,IMI, New Delhi Joint Director & Team Leader, Education & Health Services Division, FICCI

The Changing Scenario of Management Education in India

AspirationsSupply lags behind demand and therefore there is a question of access for those who want to do a management course. There is also an issue of quality as B schools, both in public and private university system, range from very good to very bad. The fee structure varies enormously from a few thousand rupees a year to over rupees six lakhs a year. The fee charged has no relation to cost or quality of education or the subsidy they receive from government (in case of government institutions). While banks seem to offer loans, they do not always cover the full cost and in many cases the requirements of security are not waived. Therefore there is a question of affordability.
The hyper activity that we have seen in regulation of management education has failed to address any of these issues. The best way to go about doing it is to ensure that the entry & operational level barriers be removed and the market forces be allowed to decide which is a good institution and which is a bad one. The ones which fail to deliver value for money and provide employable education will suffer and ultimately perish.

As for regulation of fee, the approach of bureau of costs and prices will not work as we have seen in the case of failure of drug price control policy. Institutes may initially charge more money but sooner than later they have to adjust to reality because the higher fee they charge, the greater the expectation from the students about the average salaries that the institute offers. Management students are clever enough to figure out the return on investment and use the various websites like to take to task institutes which make wrong claims or fleece students without providing commensurate facilities and quality of teaching and other inputs.

There is a perception that supply of education is out of touch with the reality and therefore there is a need for change in that direction. There is need, however, to guarantee quality and check exploitation of the students.

On the supply of education the Government should pay heed to the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC). In the current Accreditation framework, Quality Assurance is a problem. FICCI has proposed a quality benchmarking system to the government that is comparable with the international standards. Accreditation should be done by an independent bodies or peer review as it happens in USA and Europe respectively. Self-regulation mechanism should be integrated in the system through setting up of an Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) within an institution making it mandatory for all education providers to do it. The other way to check is to compel B-schools to ensure mandatory disclosure of ranking, information about infrastructure, full time faculty and their qualifications and experience, publications and research and placement details, etc. explicitly on the website for the benefit of students and parents to make informed choice. There should be strict reward and penalty mechanism in place to disincentivise any kind of misinformation. In case of any wrong or misleading information, students and parents should approach on their own or through civil society to consumer courts and take the B-schools to task and make them pay the penalty. This would act as a strong deterrent. The government should invest resources in providing access to library and information resources and data based through inter library on line access at nominal rates and also give grants to institutions based on performance and placement record, among others.

With most of the private institutions in India offering MBA + PGP programme with an arrangement from a UGC recognized university, there is a need to review whether this arrangement should be at par with an AICTE approved degree.

We feel that in India universities and colleges affiliated to universities can give degrees. Others can only award diplomas. IITs are deemed universities. IIMs did not want that status. When AICTE approves a university or college program, it allows it to award a degree. In the case of private and autonomous institutions, when AICTE approves a progamme, it can be called PGDM and not MBA. Ideally when AICTE approves a programme, even if it is by a private university, it should be called a MBA degree because people outside India understand MBA and not PGDM. If we want to leverage our strengths in management education and expand it globally necessary changes in relevant statutes needs to be brought.