Quality, Access, & Equity Is The Major Challenges In Higher Education : Dr.Dev Swarup


By Mansi Ranjan 

Dr. Dev Swarup, the founder Vice Chancellor of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Law University. Jaipur, Rajasthan has a long & illustrious career in the field of educational administration in India. He has earned national & international recognition for his academic & administration acumen. A former Additional Secretary at the apex statutory body of Indian Higher Education, the University Grants Commission (UGC) played stellar role in planning & executing educational policy matters. As the Vice Chancellor of University of Rajasthan (2013-2014), he earned laurels & popular acclaim for his unique organizational & administrative skills. 

In an exclusive chat with him, we talked about his Law University & various challenges in the education system. Here's the excerpt: 


Tell us about your Law University. How do you plan to build on the success of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Law University in long presence ? 

Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Law University has the endeavor to have affiliation of all law colleges in the state of Rajasthan. There are 88 law colleges in Rajasthan till date, & all are affiliated with our university. Besides this, we have our own campus & residential academic program in Jaipur. It is our responsibility to undertake various academic program at university level, residential campus & also to maintain administration & regulate the academic program & standards of legal education in the entire state of Rajasthan. 

Our future plan is to start the academic session from this session & to have affiliation of all law colleges from this session only. In India there are 1500 law colleges, 23 law universities but they are all residential universities & there are only three- Tamil Nadu Law College, Karnataka Law College & ours which are of similar nature having affiliation of all law colleges. It is a big task but we are determined that with the help of legal experts, academicians of reputed universities, we will have quality of legal education. We have well defined planning & myself being the former Vice-Chancellor of University of Rajasthan & I've also worked at UGC as an Additional Secretary. And here we are going to establish a very good law university in Rajasthan. 


How do you like to see your Vice Chancellorship here in next few years? 

Vice Chancellorship means to work continuously, to work for quality, to work in judicious manner, & to maintain integrity. So, as a Vice Chancellor my aim is to maintain continuity for betterment & for qualitative improvement of university. As a founder Vice Chancellor, I will provide leadership to university & will work for betterment of university. 


What do you think are the major challenges of Higher Education? 

Major challenges in Higher Education is the quality, access, & equity, that is, how to provide inclusive education. But in my opinion Quality is the prime challenge, and to improve it there is need to make a collective effort. And university governance is also a big challenge because you have to work with the government, various standards of people. Having competent Vice Chancellors in institutions is also very important. So, first of all a dynamic, committed, & knowledgeable leader as a VC, is a big challenge in Higher Education. Then there are different challenges like quality of education, relevance of education. There are different kind of education like Value Education, Education for All, Education with a Purpose. So, these are the challenges to create a balanced, sensible person. And having competence & skill is very important for every institution. So, these are the challenges to create an environment & assessing the requirement & accordingly make necessary efforts to resolve it. 


Despite various changes in the Education System, we are not getting expected results. Why? 

India is a developing nation, here, systems & procedures are still evolving. Our gross enrollment ratio is 25%, which we need to increase, as other developed nations have more gross enrollment ratio. So, creating a good institutions requires infrastructure, competent faculties. These are some of the challenges. So, in a way you have to work continuously. Public & Private Sector should come & work together, then you can meet those challenges. So, there is no expected result. Expected result is something that majority of students go for Higher Education. Because purpose of education is to create a balanced person with required skills, competence that can provide him livelihood. So, it's a huge task because education is a complete task which requires involvement & it is a continuous process & efforts are being made for that. 


What do you think about Privatization of Education? 

Privatization of Education is a reality. Nowadays, private universities are similar to government universities. But the thing is, that what is the aim & objective of these educational institutions or they sincerely contributing for the cause of Higher Education. See, emergence of private institutions is inevitable. Only thing the government can do is to make them more accountable, more discipline, & more sensitive. They should also maintain a balance for the students coming from all sections. The role of the government is to provide them with guidance & regulate them in the manner that they become an asset. So, private education sector is very important & many of them are doing very good work. But the entire sector should be utilized in the fullest manner. 


How can young lawyers prepare themselves for future work? 

Young lawyers should be first profess the professional ethics & then decide in which area they would like to go, public litigation or law firms or otherwise in masters, there is a vast area. They should have discipline, professional commitment & future plans. They should analyse their weaknesses & strengths & on that basis they can plan their future. So, for that purpose they can take help from their teachers, seniors, elders. So, it is an individual choice to plan. 


Can legal profession survive another 20 years? If we look at the number of unemployed lawyers ?

Legal profession will survive another thousand years because legal profession is an integral part of society. But yes, the quality of legal education has a big question mark. So, there is a need to improve quality by legal institutions. And I am sure it will improve. 


There are universities where teachers are not getting recruited on the basis of UGC guidelines. What is your opinion on this? 

It is the responsibility of the government, institution owner & all concerned that they hire competent & qualified teachers. These are the areas where we compromise ourselves in the quality of education. So, for National Level University, it is the responsibility of Central Government, for State Level University, it is the responsibility of State Government & for a Private Institution, it is the responsibility of the owner to see that teachers are appointed by UGC & are well qualified. Also, they are getting salary as prescribed by the government. Since, unemployability is there, many institutions appoint not so qualified teachers & this is where we start compromising on quality. This is highly objectionable & I am against of it. 


A degree is there to check the qualification of a teacher. But how we will get to know about the skill & experience? 

The skill & experience has not been applied by our system yet. If it has been applied, then teachers should be NET qualified. But as a teacher itself you need special skill. So, while you are appointing a teacher you should check that whether, he/she is a good teacher. There are thousands of applications but you have select the best. And during discussion only, they should take notes of their competence, knowledge & overall personality because teacher is a role model. If you want to have a good teacher, there are many & there you have to select the best.