Sunday, April 27, 2014
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
History of Education in India
Early education in India commenced under the supervision of a guru. Initially, education was open to all and seen as one of the methods to achieve Moksha, or enlightenment. As time progressed, due to superiority complexes, the education was imparted on the basis of caste and the related duties that one had to perform as a member of a specific caste.
Brahmans learned about scriptures and religion
Kshatriya was educated in the various aspects of warfare.
The Vaishya caste learned commerce and other specific vocational courses
Education was largely denied to the Shudras, the lowest caste.
The earliest venues of education in India were often secluded from the main population. Students were expected to follow strict monastic guidelines prescribed by the guru and stay away from cities in ashrams. However, as population increased under the Gupta empire centers of urban learning became increasingly common and Cities such as Varanasi and the Buddhist center at Nalanda became increasingly visible.
Education in India in its traditional form was closely related to religion. Among the Heterodox schools of belief were the Jain and Buddhist schools. Heterodox Buddhist education was more inclusive and aside of the monastic orders the Buddhist education centers were urban institutes of learning such as Taxila and Nalanda where grammar, medicine, philosophy, logic, metaphysics, arts and crafts etc. were also taught. Early secular Buddhist institutions of higher learning like Taxila and Nalanda continued to function well into the Common Era and were attended by students from China and Central Asia.
It is possible that later historian twisted the truth that the so-called lower castes in the society were denied the right to education only in order to pitch for better concessions and create a feel good factor to the leaders of society so they may corner the valuable mass support It is wrong to say that the teaching existed only in schools run by the upper cast teachers in their so-.called Gurukuls. The society was teaching its subjects in the exact and required skills as appropriate to the time. It is widely acclaimed now that the class room education does not teach the actual required skill sets either for life as it is perceived now or add value to the humanity at large.
Education System in India:
The present education system in India mainly comprises of primary education, secondary education, senior secondary education and higher education. Elementary education consists of eight years of education. Each of secondary and senior secondary education consists of two years of education. Higher education in India starts after passing the higher secondary education or the 12th standard. Depending on the stream, doing graduation in India can take three to five years. Postgraduate courses are generally of two to three years of duration. After completing post-graduation, scope for doing research in various educational institutes also remains open.
History of the Education System
Introduced by Lord Macaulay, during the british rule in 19th century.
10+2+3 = SSC+HSC+GRADUATION DEGREE
Educational Programme (SarvaSikshaAbhigyan)
Rise in enrollment
Rise in literacy
Increase in educational institutes
Progress in technical and professional education
India Education- Present Condition
After gaining independence in 1947, making education available to all had become a priority for the government. As discrimination on the basis of caste and gender has been a major impediment in the healthy development of the Indian society, they have been made unlawful by the Indian constitution. The 86th constitutional amendment has also made elementary education a fundamental right for the children between the age group- 6 to 14. According to the 2001 census, the total literacy rate in India is 65.38%. The female literacy rate is only 54.16%. The gap between rural and urban literacy rate is also very significant in India. This is evident from the fact that only 59.4% of rural populations are literate as against 80. 3% urban population according to the 2001 census. In order to develop the higher education system, the government had established the University Grants Commission in 1953. The primary role of UGC has been to regulate the standard and spread of higher education in India. There has been an educational institute in India. The higher education systems in India comprise of more than17000 colleges,20 central universities, 217 State Universities, 106 Deemed to Universities and 13 institutes of National importance. This number will soon rise as the setting up of 30 more central universities, 8 new IITs, 7 IIMs and 5 new Indian Institutes of Science are now proposed.
The School System
India is divided into 28 states and 7 so-called "Union Territories". The states have their own elected governments while the Union Territories are ruled directly by the Government of India, with the President of India appointing an administrator for each Union Territory. As per the constitution of India, school education was originally a state subject —that is, the states had complete authority on deciding policies and implementing them. The role of the Government of India (GoI) was limited to coordination and deciding on the standards of higher education. This was changed with a constitutional amendment in 1976 so that education now comes in the so-called concurrent list. That is, school education policies and programmes are suggested at the national level by the GoI though the state governments have a lot of freedom in implementing programmes. Policies are announced at the national level periodically. The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), set up in 1935, continues to play a lead role in the evolution and monitoring of educational policies and programmes.
There is a national organization that plays a key role in developing policies and programmes, called the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) that prepares a National Curriculum Framework. Each state has its counterpart called the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT). These are the bodies that essentially propose educational strategies, curricula, pedagogical schemes and evaluation methodologies to the states' departments of education. The SCERTs generally follow guidelines established by the NCERT. But the states have considerable freedom in implementing the education system.
The National Policy on Education, 1986 and the Programme of Action (POA) 1992 envisaged free and compulsory education of satisfactory quality for all children below 14 years before the 21st Century. The government committed to earmark 6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for education, half of which would be spent on primary education. The expenditure on Education as a percentage of GDP also rose from 0.7 per cent in 1951-52 to about 3.6 per cent in 1997-98.
The school system in India has four levels:
Ø Lower primary (age 6 to 10)
Ø Upper primary (11 and 12)
Ø High (13 to 15) and
Ø Higher secondary (17 and 18).
The lower primary school is divided into five "standards", upper primary school into two, high school into three and higher secondary into two. Students have to learn a common curriculum largely (except for regional changes in mother tongue) till the end of high school. There is some amount of specialization possible at the higher secondary level. Students throughout the country have to learn three languages (namely, English, Hindi and their mother tongue) except in regions where Hindi is the mother tongue and in some streams as discussed below.
There are mainly three streams in school education in India. Two of these are coordinated at the national level, of which one is under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and was originally meant for children of central government employees who are periodically transferred and may have to move to any place in the country. A number of "central schools" (named KendriyaVidyalayas) have been established for the purpose in all main urban areas in the country, and they follow a common schedule so that a student going from one school to another on a particular day will hardly see any difference in what is being taught. One subject (Social Studies, consisting of History, Geography and Civics) is always taught in Hindi, and other subjects in English, in these schools. KendriyaVidyalayas admit other children also if seats are available. All of them follow textbooks written and published by the NCERT. In addition to these government-run schools, a number of private schools in the country follow the CBSE syllabus though they may use different text books and follow different teaching schedules. They have a certain amount of freedom in what they teach in lower classes. The CBSE also has 141 affiliated schools in 21 other countries mainly catering to the needs of the Indian population there.
The second central scheme is the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE). It seems that this was started as a replacement for the Cambridge School Certificate. The idea was mooted in a conference held in 1952 under the Chairmanship of MaulanaAbulKalam Azad, the then Minister for Education. The main purpose of the conference was to consider the replacement of the overseas Cambridge School Certificate Examination by an All India Examination. In October 1956 at the meeting of the Inter-State Board for Anglo-Indian Education, a proposal was adopted for the setting up of an Indian Council to administer the University of Cambridge, Local Examinations Syndicate's Examination in India and to advise the Syndicate on the best way to adapt its examination to the needs of the country. The inaugural meeting of the Council was held on 3rd November, 1958. In December 1967, the Council was registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The Council was listed in the Delhi School Education Act 1973, as a body conducting public examinations. Now a large number of schools across the country are affiliated to this Council. All these are private schools and generally cater to children from wealthy families.
Both the CBSE and the ICSE council conduct their own examinations in schools across the country that are affiliated to them at the end of 10 years of schooling (after high school) and again at the end of 12 years (after higher secondary). Admission to the 11th class is normally based on the performance in this all-India examination. Since this puts a lot of pressure on the child to perform well, there have been suggestions to remove the examination at the end of 10 years.
India established a dense educational network (very largely for males) with a Western curriculum based on instruction in English. To further advance their careers many ambitious upper class men with money, including Gandhi, Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah went to England, especially to obtain a legal education at the Inns of Court. By 1890 some 60,000 Indians had matriculated, chiefly in the liberal arts or law. About a third entered public administration, and another third became lawyers. The result was a very well educated professional state bureaucracy. By 1887 of 21,000 mid-level civil service appointments, 45% were held by Hindus, 7% by Muslims, 19% by Eurasians (European father and Indian mother), and 29% by Europeans. Of the 1000 top -level positions, almost all were held by Britons, typically with an Oxbridge degree.
The Raj, often working with local philanthropists, opened 186 colleges and universities. Starting with 600 students scattered across 4 universities and 67 colleges in 1882, the system expanded rapidly. More exactly, there never was a "system" under the Raj, as each state acted independently and funded schools for Indians from mostly private sources. By 1901 there were 5 universities and 145 colleges, with 18,000 students (almost all male). The curriculum was Western. By 1922 most schools were under the control of elected provincial authorities, with little role for the national government. In 1922 there were 14 universities and 167 colleges, with
46,000 students. In 1947 21 universities and 496 colleges were in operation. Universities at first did no teaching or research; they only conducted examinations and gave out degrees.
The Madras Medical College opened in 1835, and admitted women so that they could treat the female population who traditionally shied away from medical treatments under qualified male professionals. The concept of educated women among medical professionals gained popularity during the late 19th century and by 1894, the Women's Christian Medical College, an exclusive medical school for women, was established in Ludhiana in Punjab.
The British established the Government College University in Lahore, of present day Pakistan in 1864. The institution was initially affiliated with the University of Calcutta for examination. The prestigious University of the Punjab, also in Lahore, was the fourth university established by the colonials in South Asia, in the year 1882.
Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College (MAO College), founded in 1875, was the first modern institution of higher education for Muslims in India. By 1920 it became The Aligarh Muslim University and was the leading intellectual center of Muslim political activity.The original goals were to train Muslims for British service and prepare elite that would attend universities in Britain. After 1920 it became a center of political activism. Before 1939, the faculty and students supported an all-India nationalist movement.
Chronology of main events:
1935- Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) set up.
1976- Education made a joint responsibility of the state and the center.
1986- National Policy on Education (NPE) and Programme of Action (POA)
1992- Revised National Policy on Education (NPE) and Programme of Action (POA)
December 17, 1998: The Assam Government enacts a law making ragging in educational institutions a criminal offence.
November 1998: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee announces setting up of vidyavahini network to link up universities, UGC and CSIR.
Accreditations for universities in India are required by law unless it was created through an act of Parliament. Without accreditation, the government notes "these fake institutions have no legal entity to call themselves as University/vishwvidyala and to award 'degree' which are not treated as valid for academic/employment purpose. The University Grants Commission Act 1956 explains "the right of conferring or granting degrees shall be exercised only by a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act carlo bon tempo, or a State Act, or an institution deemed to be University or an institution specially empowered by an Act of the Parliament to confer or grant degrees. Thus, any institution which has not been created by an enactment of Parliament or a State Legislature or has not been granted the status of a Deemed to be University is not entitled to award degree."
Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission.
All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)
Distance Education Council (DEC)
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
Bar Council of India (BCI)
National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)
National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE)
Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI)
Medical Council of India (MCI)
Pharmacy Council of India (PCI)
Indian Nursing Council (INC)
Dental Council of India (DCI)
Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH)
Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM)
Veterinary Council of India (VCI)
Prominent Educational Institutes in India:
There are pretty a good number of educational institutes in India that can compete with the best educational institutes of the world.
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)
Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)
Indian Institutes of Science
National Law Schools
Jawaharlal Nehru University is some such institutes.
Education for the Marginalized in India:
As education is the means for bringing socio- economic transformation in a society, various measures are being taken to enhance the access of education to the marginalized sections of the society. One such measure is the introduction of the reservation system in the institutes of higher education.Under the present law, 7.5% seats in the higher educational institutes are reserved for the scheduled tribes, 15% for scheduled castes and 27% for the non-creamy layers of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Under the Indian constitution, various minority groups can also set up their own educational institutes.Efforts are also being taken to improve the access to higher education among the women of India by setting up various educational institutes exclusively for them or reserving seats in the already existing institutes. The growing acceptance of distance learning courses and expansion of the Open University system is also contributing a lot in the democratization of higher education in India.
Despite all the efforts to develop the education system in India, access, equity and quality of education in India continue to haunt the policy makers till this date. This has mainly been due to the widespread poverty and various prejudices. The inability to check the dropout rates among the marginalized sections of the population is another cause of worry.However, the renewed emphasis in the education sector in the 11th five year plan and increased expenditure in both primary and higher education can act as palliatives for the Indian education system.
1. Arnold, Edward. Education in India: A Letter from the Ex-Principal of an Indian Government college to His Appointed Successor. London:Bell&Daldy,1860.
2. Bhattacharaya, Sabyasachi(ed) Education and the Disprivileged: Nineteenth & Twentieth centuries.NewDelhi:Oxford University press 2007.
3. Cotton, J.S. Progress of Education in India 1892-97, Third Quinquinneal Review,London: Her majestry's stationery office,1898.
4. Kumar, Krishna, "Textbooks and Educational Culture". Economic and Political weekly 21, no.30, 1986, pg.1309-11.
5. Maston,W.Indian Educational Policy. Madras: Christian Literature Society for India, 1936.
6. Education commission, 1971. Education and National Development, vol.1, New Delhi NCERT.
7. Government of India, 1965-66. Report of the commissioner for schedule castes and scheduled Tribes, New Delhi: Manager of Publications.
8. Academic.Edu- Website History of Education in India by Kumar Ragendren
Monday, April 14, 2014
VINAY JHA PILLAI
Higher Education in Electronics and Communication Engineering
Higher education is ready for a major revolution. For those who wonder about future of education, this proclamation will come as no surprise. It is so typical of us to think and talk about the changes to come, and we have become an expert at it. Our familiarity with upcoming change, however, may have numbed us to what it will really mean. Technology has made great and deep impact on us. Technology has changed the way we order life. It has moved us toward a different kind of economy and modified ways of living. We are in the midst of changing from an energy-based to a knowledge-based economy which will alter the rules of international economic competition, thrusting universities into roles they have not traditionally played. Two of the greatest challenges our institutions face are those of harnessing the power of digital technology and responding to the information revolution. Addition to it, our institutions are looking forward to the needs of industries to frame their curriculum. To a great extend, institutions are exploiting the available resources and technology with constant updation. The opportunities and challenges technology presents are far greater than at any previous time in higher education's 750-year history.
There is still debate about exactly where higher education's history began. Irrespective of whether it was in Paris, Oxford, or Bologna, historians agree that it began at the start of the 13th century. It has not changed much since. Fundamentally, higher education is still a process of imparting knowledge by means of lectures to those who want to acquire it. This essay describes the forces accelerating change in Higher education with respect to Electronics and Communication Engineering, raises difficult questions that will help us determine what a transformed learning environment could be, and offers some thoughts on why it is important for higher education to take the lead in realizing that vision.
WHAT IS ELECTRONICS AND COMMUNICATION ENGINEERING?
The word “electronics” is a combination of two words, “electron” and “technology”, electron being derived from the Greek word “elecktron” which means amber. The word was first referred to describe amber's attractive properties by William Gilbert in his 1600 text De Magnete. In physics, an electron refers to a particle of charge quantified in terms of Coulombs. The word “electric” was first used by Francis Bacon to describe materials like amber that attracted other objects. The first usage of the English word electricity is ascribed to Sir Thomas Browne in his 1646 work, Pseudodoxia Epidemica. Scientists like Einstein, Feynman, and Maxwell used the word “electron” more frequently to elaborate on their findings of quantum physics and electromagnetic theory.
Accepting electronics as a circuit science is now generally referred to as a subject that deals with the flow of electricity or current and its behavior when it passes through a conducting material or a semiconductor to precise. Various electrical phenomenon like voltage, current, power, watts, amperes are used to quantify various metrics in the circuit science engineering domain. Electronics is not confined to circuit science and semi conductor theory as such but a general intuition with the word “electronics” gets linked with the notion of flow of charge carriers in a conducting material. Cambers Twentieth Century Dictionary (1972) defines electronics as "The science and technology of the conduction of electricity in a vacuum, a gas, or a semiconductor, and devices based thereon". Electronics is hence an age old concept which gradually evolved and is now a significant part of human existence.
Electronics and Communication engineering today is centered around reliable communication networks and data transactions at high speeds. The internet has become the backbone of almost all existing communication networks. Electronics and Communication is a vast field in itself.
Communication, signals and systems, control systems, power electronics, computer networks, image processing all integrate to form a part of electronics as a whole. Initially, Electronics and Engineering was a small domain of Science. Science has been ever evolving reflecting the human mind and education has always been an integral part of learning and evolving. Education system has been such that it has tried to practice the human mind to think, learn, unlearn, relearn and innovate. Alvin Toffler said “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” To keep this motivation going, education system has slowly structured itself in the technical side to aid learning.
In the ancient period, science was taught to students through practical understanding with nature. For example, when a stone is dropped in water, it creates ripples and with time, these ripples settle down to become still water. This is a good example to illustrate stability of a system in a very basic sense. The example coated is associated with nature rather than a laboratory with equipments to illustrate simple science. Not to negate the current methods to make one understand, but to state that as time as passed, sophistication is reflected in every aspect of life and in some way or the other, has caused more damage than good!
CURRENT TRENDS IN THE INDIAN HIGHER EDUCATION
Students who obtain at least 60 per cent marks in the B.Tech. course and a high GATE score can explore higher study options, especially the M.Tech. course. A GATE score makes them eligible for scholarships for doing the course.A high score in GATE, a national-level examination conducted by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) every year, is a prerequisite for M.Tech. admission. Those with an engineering or architecture degree, and those in the final year of the degree course, may appear for the examination.
For admissions, almost all institutions give 70 per cent weight to the GATE score and 30 per cent to the merit in the qualifying examinations. In fact, the main criterion is the GATE score. Only if applicants with the score are unavailable will selection be made through an entrance test or by considering the marks in the qualifying examination. Students should note that even some public sector undertakings are using the score to recruit engineers. Prepare well to obtain a high percentile or score.Graduates in electronics and communications have several higher study options. Specialisations or options in the M.Tech. course include embedded systems, VLSI design, bioinformatics, nanotechnology, digital systems and communication, opto-electronics, digital signal processing, cyber security, robotics, and software engineering.
Master of Design (M.Des), MBA, and MS information technology courses and postgraduate diploma programmes in industrial management and system software development are other options.The Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) offers an M.Tech. course in electronics with specialisation in digital electronics, microwave, and radar electronics. Those with a B.Tech. degree in electronics and communication, electrical engineering, and electronics and instrumentation with at least 60 per cent marks and a GATE score may apply. The university conducts an M.Tech. course in opto-electronics and laser technology, admitting graduates in electronics and communication, electronics, electrical engineering, and electrical and electronics engineering. At least 60 per cent marks in the degree course and a GATE score are required. (www.cusat.nic.in)
IIT Madras offers M.Tech. courses in communication systems; digital signal processing; micro electronics; and VLSI design. (www.iitm.ac.in)
IIT Delhi offers a course in electronics and communication engineering. (www.iitd.ac.in). IIT Guwahati offers a course in signal processing and VLSI (www.iitg.ernet.in). IIT Kharagpur conducts an M.Tech. course with specialisations in fibre optics and light-wave engineering, micro electronics and VLSI design, telecommunication system engineering, and embedded system engineering. (http://gate.iitkgp.ac.in/mtech)
The Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering of the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Kozhikode, conducts M.Tech. programmes in electronics design and technology; micro electronics and VLSI design; telecommunication; and signal processing. Graduates in electronics and communication with a GATE score are eligible for admission. Selection is based on the GATE score. (www.nitc.ac.in)
NIT Surathkal conducts an M.Tech. course in electronics and communication. (www.nitk.ac.in).
The Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal, conducts M.Tech. programmes in digital communication engineering and VLSI and embedded system design. Graduates in electronics, electronics and communication engineering, and telecommunication with a GATE score are eligible for admission. (www.manit.ac.in)
Amrita School of Engineering, Ettimadai, Coimbatore, offers M.Tech. programmes in VLSI design, embedded systems, wireless networks and applications, cyber security, and so on. Graduates in electronics and communication with at least 60 per cent marks are eligible for admission.
Selection is based on academic merit and interview or entrance test. Those with a GATE score will get preference. (www.amrita.edu) The PSG College of Technology, Peelamedu, Coimbatore, affiliated to Anna University, offers ME and M.Tech. programmes in communication systems, VLSI design, biometrics and cyber security, and nanotechnology.
Electronics and communication graduates with a valid GATE or TANCET score are eligible for admission. (www.psgtech.edu)
Delhi Technological University, Delhi, conducts an M.Tech. course in signal processing and digital design, microwave and optical communication, and VLSI design and embedded system. (www.dce.edu)
Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi, conducts an ME course in electronics and communication engineering, information security, and nanotechnology. (www.bitmesra.ac.in)
The Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering under Anna University, Coimbatore, offers ME programmes in communication engineering, VLSI design, digital communication and network engineering, optical communication, digital signal processing, wireless technologies, and embedded system technologies (www.annauniv.ac.in).
M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, conducts M.Tech. courses in digital communication engineering and digital electronics and communication (www.msrit.edu).
Atal Bihari Vajpayee Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Gwalior, conducts an M.Tech. programme. Computer science and engineering, electronics and communication and electrical engineering graduates with at least 60 per cent marks and a GATE score are eligible for admission.
The Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Kerala, at Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram conducts an MS course in information technology. Those with a degree in any branch of engineering or technology with minimum 60 per cent marks are eligible for admission. Selection is based on an entrance test and an interview. Students with at least 65 per cent marks in the qualifying examination are eligible to get a scholarship of Rs.8,000 a month (www.iiitmk.ac.in).
IMPACT OF MARKET AND TECHNOLOGY
Technology has advanced magnanimously and the pressure is now on the students to know everything and anything that is up in the market as a consumer electronic device. Students who take up engineering, especially electronics and communication engineering are often unaware of the course structure and what are its further implications in their career front. Previously, students were not as confused as to what stream leads to what kind of a job and where to they fit themselves well. But current education systems simply creates pressure in the minds of the students and parents as to how to choose a stream in engineering and what is the job opportunities related to it.
A lot of introspection is required to intricately design a course structure for technical education. A decade back, one could conveniently say that there was significant distinction between a hardware oriented technical course and a software oriented technical course. But now things have changed and the fast moving modern world only demands of an inter-disciplinary course which can fetch employment in many different industries. Every subject is interlinked to every other subject and this inter- disciplinary aspect of making a course well suited for multiple industries of hardware or software or hardware-software co-design has played a significant role in making a structure of a particular technical course.
Once the student has chosen the field of interest of electronics and communication, he/she is less motivated to do the basic understanding of the subjects like signals and systems, basic communication theory, electronic circuits to name a few. The reason for lack of motivation is them being prejudice that those subjects are made to kill their confidence and only make them slog to pass an examination of 100 marks in which they got to score a 40 to pass through. Laboratories concerned to subjects are also taken as a burden rather than enthusiasm to learn and understand the basic concepts taught in class. As time has passed, education in the technical side has simply degraded and not many quality engineers are produced to contribute towards a better country technically.
Students today face the pressure of keeping themselves updated with the latest versions of software and hardware as a part of peer pressure. The basic understanding being novice to them are simply getting lost in the rat race to know every trendy technical advancement and trying to be the so called “techie tech”. Lot of research goes in to make those high speed gadgets but as Moore’s law has predicted that the no. of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every 18 months is simply a pressure point to technical education.
Technical education in our country has always been talked relative to the IITs , IISc and NITs where the quality of education imparted are supposedly far more better than the same being taught in a regular engineering college. It is also seen that these institutes have actually progressed in technical learning and imparting knowledge and also growing in terms of research and innovation. Statistically, a student who has completed a degree in electronics and communication from the top technical institutes holds a better opportunity in the market than a student who has passed out of any other engineering college in the country. The point of reflection is how these institutes are working towards a better higher education than the others. By simple observations, one can make out that these institutes take up huge projects from various research organizations funded well enough, and faculties and students work hand in hand to complete those complex tasks with deadlines. They also employ internet based learning, lectures given on the internet, e-learning, collaborating with other foreign universities to explore other perspectives of the same concepts. So with these institutes as a reference, one can say the country is growing in terms of technical education. There are other universities and institutes who are trying to establish themselves with quality learning, excellence and service.
The challenge to educators is to preserve the essence of traditional education while changing with the times. Our highest obligation to society and to ourselves is to work within the context of change to ensure that it follows a trajectory of maximum benefit to society.
History of Economic Thought and the Discipline of Economics in India
M. Usha 1341802
Economic phenomena are diverse and the structures of economies are essentially dynamic and complex, amenable to changes from time to time. Economic universe, on the other hand, has logic of its own. It has an inherent order through which there is a constant exchange between rational human beings, each seeking to attain maximum gain. Economics, as a science, is an attempt to understand this orderly working of the economy, and an individual in his business of life with a goal to maximizing his gain choosing among his innumerable wants with the limited resources he has at his disposal. Most economic thinkers agree with Alfred Marshall, a leading 19th-century English economist, that economics is “a study of mankind in the ordinary business of life; it examines that part of individual and social action which is most closely connected with the attainment, and with the use of the material requisites of wellbeing” (Marshall, 1890). English economist Lionel Robbins, in the 20th century defines Economics as “the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between (given) ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.” (Robbins, 1945)
As the structure of economies change over time, the science of economics also changes as the tools and analytical methods to study the economic phenomena, its working, problems and solutions keep changing. That is the reason, Economics as a science and discipline has always been influenced by the prevailing social structure, system of governance, institutional structures, ethics and norms. For example Kautilya’s “Arthashastra” is based on the then religious, spiritual and social systems, customs and standards. The individualism of the classical economist’s is essentially a product of the industrial revolution.
The systematic study of economics is of recent origin, but economic analysis has always been prevalent across the world in one form or the other. The science of Economics is as old as human life. The initial attempts to study economics as a subject as part of the education system were first made in Europe at the end of the 17th and the beginning of 18th century (Paul, 1999). The effective birth of Economics as a separate discipline may be traced to the year 1776 (Paul, 1999), when the Scottish philosopher Adam Smith, now known as the “Father of Economics”, published An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. The Wealth of Nations, as its title suggests, is a book about economic development and the policies that can either promote or hinder it. In its practical aspects the book is an attack on the protectionist doctrines of the mercantilists and a brief for the merits of free trade. The study of economics in India can be traced back as early as 4th B.C when Kautilya came out with his Arthashastra which provides an authoritative account of the political and economic thought that prevailed in ancient India (Paul, 1999).
Historically, Indian economic thought can be divided in to four periods:
1. Ancient Economic Thought
Ancient Indian scriptures like the Vedas (Rig, Sama, Yajur, Aharva), Upanishads, Brahmanas, epics, Smrities (particularly those of Manu, Yajnavalkya, Shukra, Vidur, Kamandok and Narad) give an account of the ancient economic philosophies. While Arthashastra and Nitishastra deal with production and exchange, Dharmashastra lays down the rules to be followed in consumption and distribution.
Varta and Arthashastra were the set of guidelines as far as material life was concerned. Varta has been defined as a branch dealing with agriculture, commerce, cattle breeding, money lending and artisanship. Arthashastra covered a much wider field with its insights on jurisprudence, politics and economics and life as a whole. Consumption was based on the principle of Kama, Artha, and Dharma ( aesthetic, economic and religious aspects of worldly life) as separated from Moksha ( or the subject related to non-worldly life).
The ancient economic thought recognized the four factors of production, land, labour, capital and organization. Land was regarded as the source of all wealth, with many kings laying down their lives for it.
2. Medieval Economic Thought
Medieval economic thought was basically shaped by the rulers during that time. Rulers like Ala-ud-din Khilji, Mohammad Tughlaq and Firozshah Tughlaq introduced economic reorganization and improvements during 8th century to 15th century after which Sher Shah Suri and Akbar brought in various transformations.
Alauddin Khilji deliberately controlled the markets in order to keep the basic necessities of life at a cheaper rate. This was done with an n intention to maintain a large army for his empire and to prevent rebellion on account of dwindling treasury. Mohammad Tughlaq brought in a new system of token coins, which failed as its monopoly could not be maintained. Firozshah Tughlaq realized the role of the state in production and employment way back in and engaged in a large number of public works in the form of construction of canals, public buildings etc. He reformed the taxation system on the basis of the laws of Quran by introducing four types of taxes ( Khiraj, Zakat, Jizya and Khams). Sher Shah Suri graded and fixed land rent as per its productivity and brought in reforms in the land revenue system.
Far reaching changes were brought in by Akbar in the form of reorganization of the revenue system and promotion of state enterprises. While, the rent of the land was fixed on the basis of last ten year’s average price of land, peasants were brought directly under the state by abolishing the power of jagirs.
3. Nineteenth Century Economic Thought
The foundations of modern Indian Economics were laid in the early British period by the leading thinkers of that time, namely Dadabhai Naoroji, R.C. Dutt and Gokhale. The economic philosophy was built as a reaction to the misgivings of the British Empire and to bring in systemic changes to eradicate of widespread poverty prevalent that time.
Their prescription was to bring in a welfare state which would work for the interests of the general public at large. They wanted the heavy tax burden on the Indians to be reduced and the budget surplus to be spent for the betterment of people rather than on military expenses. They advocated the permanent fixation of land tax and the representation of tax payers in the body which controlled the government expenditure.
4. Twentieth Century Economic Thought
During this time the economic philosophy verged on the practical problems faced by the country rather than on abstract concepts. The prominent thinkers of the time like C. N. Vakil, D. R. Gadgil, Gyan Chand, V. K. R.V. Rao, and R. Balakrishna favored planned economic development by the state and that Laissez Faire is not suitable for India. The balanced utilization of resources suggested the development of agriculture along with all kinds of large scale, small and medium enterprises.
Economics as a subject in India was first advocated by Dadabhai Naoroji but it was Mahadev Govind Ranade who first gave shape to Indian Economics and actually succeeded in establishing it as a separate subject. He is hailed as the “Father of Indian Economics”
B.R. Ambedkar favored radical ideas even in those times by supporting free banking (against monopoly of printing legal tender), gold standard, decentralized planning, individual liberty, private property rights etc. Eminent economists like Rajaji and B. R. Shenoy also advocated economic freedom as against the principally socialist structure prevailing at that time. Unfortunately a lot of those pertinent economic thought by eminent economists like V S Srinivasa Sastri, C. Rajagopalachari, B R Shenoy, N A Palkhivala, Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, Minoo Masani were marginalized and don’t find mention in the history of economic thought.
Economics as a Discipline of Study in Universities in India:
Economics is essentially a science which deals with the optimum utilization of resources given the fact that human wants are unlimited and there are limited resources with which to satisfy them. It is the science of choice, be it in the household sector, industrial, agricultural, services or the government sector. Economics has broadly two branches: The Microeconomics and Macroeconomics.
Microeconomics deals with the individual units of the economy and its behavior like the individual household, firm, buyer, seller, producer or consumer. Macroeconomics studies the economy as a whole in the form of various sectors, industries its levels of employment, income, monetary policy, fiscal policy and economic growth of the economy as a whole.
Economics is a diverse subject as it deals with human behavior with respect to material pursuits, in his ordinary business of life, which in essence cannot be confined to any one-dimensional thought process. It has its linkages to society, geography, public policy, commerce, management, finance, mathematics and statistics. That is the reason why economics is offered both as a Science and Arts subject in universities at the graduation level. Economics degrees are available as Bachelor of Arts (B.A) and Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) course. As part of the B.Sc course, the emphasis is on statistical methods, quantitative and mathematical application in economic theories and concepts. Economics as part of a B.A course, the emphasis is more on the qualitative aspects of economics theories, concepts and models. Economics is often offered as part of a joint or combined honors degree, paired with subjects including history, sociology, psychology, mathematics, statistics, modern languages and politics. It is also part of diverse courses in law, management, commerce, engineering and computer science. It would be worthwhile to note the history of Economics as a separate discipline in some of the important Universities in the country.
History of the discipline of Economics in some of the Indian Universities:
Punjab University: The University was set up as early as 1882. After the partition of the country, the teaching of Economics in this University was centered in Government College, Hoshiarpur under the guidance of Professor K.K. Dewett. His hands were strengthened by the appointment of Professor S.B. Rangnekar in 1951. The location of the department was shifted to the Chandigarh Campus in 1958 and it continues to be a leading center of teaching, research and learning of economics in the region.
The department has the honor of having produced many well-known economists like Dr. Manmohan Singh (Prime Minister of India), Dr. G.K. Chadha (member Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council and former Vice-Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi) and Dr. B.S. Minhas Research activity in the department can be broadly classified into four groups viz. Industrial Economics, Money, Trade and Finance, Agricultural Economics and Development Studies. (http://economics.puchd.ac.in/)
University of Madras: The University of Madras, Department of Economics, began in 1912, is one of the earliest one to be set up. It was commissioned with a special and non-recurring grant sanctioned by the Government of India to the University of Madras. It was later bifurcated and Department of Econometrics was established in July 1980 (http://www.unom.ac.in/index.php?route=department/department/about&deptid=27) to focus exclusively on the quantitative aspects of the discipline. Since its inception, the department has focused on teaching and research in quantitative economics emphasizing theoretical, methodological and conceptual issues in economics along with applications to socially relevant economic issues and policies.
University of Calcutta : It was established in the year 1914.. It offers courses in MA, MPhil and PhD. Major thrust areas in which both theoretical and empirical research activities are being actively pursued are Urban Economics, Environmental Economics, Economics of the Informal Sector, Trade and Development, Trade and Environment, Agricultural Economics, Gender Studies, Economics of Child Labor, Political Economy, Economics of Education and Development Management. (http://www.caluniv.ac.in/academic/arts_economics.htm#estd)
Delhi University: The Delhi School of Economics is one of India’s premier and most sought after institutes of higher learning in the discipline of Economics. “The school was launched in 1949 by V.K.R.V. Rao, with the support of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It grew out of a vision that a newly independent nation, which aspired to social and economic progress, needed a vibrant centre for advanced studies in the social sciences. The department of economics, along with its sister departments of geography and sociology, has produced many of the country’s leading academics, educators, administrators, policy makers, corporate leaders and journalists. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and the late Sukhamoy Chakravarty, one of the architects of India’s Five Year Plans, have all taught here.” (http://econdse.org/history/)
GujaratUniversity: It was established in the year 1954 . Currently the department is involved in post-graduate teaching leading to M.A. and M.Phil degrees. “Special areas of specialization include Mathematical Economics and Econometrics, Quantitative Economics, Industrial Economics, Agricultural Economics and Financial Institutions and Markets at M.A. level. At M.Phil level students are offered specialization in Public Finance and Mathematical Economics and Econometrics.” (http://www.gujaratuniversity.org.in/web/WebDEconomics.asp)
Bangalore University : “The department was established in 1962 in Central College as a postgraduate department of the University of Mysore. In July 1964, with the establishment of Bangalore University, the then Centre of Economics came under the jurisdiction of the new University as the Department of Economics. A three years B.A Economics (Hons.) Course was introduced in 1967 with the aid from Danforth Foundation, USA. The course was modelled on the American pattern, headed by Dr. Quincy Adams. The M.A, Economics course was introduced in 1969 in the Central College Campus. In 1976, the Department was shifted to the Manasa Bhavan in the Jnanabharathi Campus of the University.” (http://www.bangaloreuniversity.ac.in/faculties/arts_dept_economics.aspx)
Alfred Marshall in his eighth edition of “Principles of Economics” commented that “economic conditions are constantly changing, and each generation looks at its own problems in its own way” (Marshall, 1890). “Economics arose everywhere. But everywhere it was distinctive. Scientific and practical knowledge about the economy was conceptualized and institutionalized in different ways in different places, and for identifiable reasons.” (http://understandingsociety.blogspot.in/2010/01/disciplines-of-economics.html)
The education in economics as a whole in the world as well as India has also changed its paradigms in tune with the current state of affairs, trends and developments in the world. The following is a list of top 10 universities in the world in the discipline of Economics: (http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/university-subject-rankings/2013/economics-and-econometrics)
1. Harvard University, United States
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States
3. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), United Kingdom
4. University of Chicago, United States
5. University of California, Berkeley (UCB), United States
6. Stanford University, United States
7. Princeton University, United States
8. Yale University, United States
9. University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
10.Columbia University, United States
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http://www.bangaloreuniversity.ac.in/faculties/arts_dept_economics.aspx. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2014, from http://www.bangaloreuniversity.ac.in: http://www.bangaloreuniversity.ac.in/faculties/arts_dept_economics.aspx
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http://www.gujaratuniversity.org.in/web/WebDEconomics.asp. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2014, from http://www.gujaratuniversity.org.in: http://www.gujaratuniversity.org.in/web/WebDEconomics.asp
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Marshall, A. (1890). Principles of Economics. Macmillan and Co. Limited.
R.R.Paul. (1999). History of Economic Thought. Kalyani Publishers.
Robbins, L. (1945). An Essay on the Nature & Significance of Economic Science. Macmillan and Co. Limited.