India, the largest democracy of the world is well known for its large pool of technically skilled manpower, a fair proportion of which finds employment in developed countries, especially in the West. As a happy sequel to the story, India has recently witnessed a big boom in the BPO/KPO sector. In order to sustain this trend, and to ensure that India does not throw away this key advantage, it is imperative that we continue to produce a critical mass of highly skilled manpower at an accelerated pace and here lies the importance of the higher education in India.
The system of higher education in India largely based on Universities and specialised institutes; which are the centres for higher learning in India. The studies and disciplines cover a wide range of subjects from poetry to computer engineering to space research. Most of the universities and higher centres of learning and research are autonomous in function. A good number of universities have a federal structure composed of affiliated colleges on one tier and the university departments on the other. The affiliated colleges teach, in general, undergraduate courses, whereas the university departments conduct postgraduate teaching and advanced research. The university decides the criteria of admission into colleges and coordinates the first degree examination in the undergraduate programmes and award of degree.
There is another category of universities and institutions where technical and professional courses are taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Names like Indian Institute of Technology, Birla Institute of Technology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Forest Research Institute, Indian Veterinary Research Institute can be quoted.
The flexibility, distinctiveness and the quality of higher education in India have been attracting more and more international students to come to Indian universities. In contrast to the expensive university and higher education offered in the USA, in the western European countries or in Australia, higher education is still highly subsidised in India and therefore, affordable. Further, students from developing countries find a greater sense of belonging and confidence-sharing as they have many social and cultural values common with India.