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Treat Private at Par

Dr BN Jain, VC of BITS Pilani tells EDU that the best private universities should be compared with the best public institutions

By EDU

Added 11th May 2012

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Good private universities display a commitment to academic excellence just the same as good public universities. Its not all smooth sailing for private universities. They scale a learning curve and strive for excellence, often learning things the hard way. For instance, BITS Pilani focussed intensely on teaching during its first few decades of operations.
This served the university in good stead in building an impeccable reputation as a place of excellence
in teaching. But BITS did not become equally renowned for its strength in research. About a decade ago, the governors of BITS Pilani decided to take corrective measures to change the image of the university. The change of course became necessary because research has become a major determinant of the quality of faculty an institution can attract and the quality of education that is imparted there.
Today, BITS Pilani is firmly committed to research despite the challenges, such as devising a funding model to support research students. Students engaging with research expect decent salaries that add to the burden of a private university.
If you think of it, the research output is placed in the public domain and the PhD students become a national advantage. So, some form of government assistance is in order. I believe that funding for research should be commensurate with the quality and quantity of outcome. Why should any public university be a recipient of funding simply by virtue of being public? It is time that a good private university should be talked about in the same breath as a good public university. A good private university shouldnt be equated with a bad public university. Good private universities should be encouraged to further the good work they are doing.

Good private universities display a commitment to academic excellence just the same as good public universities. Its not all smooth sailing for private universities. They scale a learning curve and strive for excellence, often learning things the hard way. For instance, BITS Pilani focussed intensely on teaching during its first few decades of operations.

This served the university in good stead in building an impeccable reputation as a place of excellencein teaching. But BITS did not become equally renowned for its strength in research. About a decade ago, the governors of BITS Pilani decided to take corrective measures to change the image of the university. The change of course became necessary because research has become a major determinant of the quality of faculty an institution can attract and the quality of education that is imparted there.

Today, BITS Pilani is firmly committed to research despite the challenges, such as devising a funding model to support research students. Students engaging with research expect decent salaries that add to the burden of a private university.

If you think of it, the research output is placed in the public domain and the PhD students become a national advantage. So, some form of government assistance is in order. I believe that funding for research should be commensurate with the quality and quantity of outcome. Why should any public university be a recipient of funding simply by virtue of being public? It is time that a good private university should be talked about in the same breath as a good public university. A good private university shouldnt be equated with a bad public university. Good private universities should be encouraged to further the good work they are doing.



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