Book Launch of “The President Of India And The Governance of Higher Education Institutions”

New Delhi                                                                                     6th November 2015

The International Institute for Higher Education and Capacity Building (IIHEd), O.P. Jindal Global University recently launched a book written by its faculty members led by its Founding Vice Chancellor Professor C Raj Kumar titled, “The President of India and the Governance of Higher Education Institutions” in the presence of an august gathering in Delhi. The manuscript has been published by Universal Law Publishing/LexisNexis Imprint. The co-authors of the book are faculty members of JGU: Prof Yugank Goyal, Prof. Anamika Srivastava, Ms. Kavana Ramaswamy and Prof. Ramanujam.

The book examines the role and functions of the President of India as the Visitor to 114 higher education institutions in the country, and simultaneously highlights the imperative need for raising academic standards while promoting international benchmarks in quality, excellence and institutional governance. 

It particularly provides a glimpse of the contribution of President Mukherjee for his farsighted leadership and initiative in recognizing that the future of India is significantly dependent upon our ability to empower the higher education institutions, which will help India establish a knowledge based society.

The pre-launch first copy of the book was presented to the Honourable President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee by JGU Founding Chancellor Naveen Jindal and Founding Vice Chancellor, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Speaking on the occasion, The President congratulated the authors of the book and the O.P. Jindal Global University as well as the International Institute for Higher Education Research & Capacity Building for bringing out the book and also underlined the need to focus on improving the quality of teaching, faculty and research in our Universities. 

Amongst the Guests of Honour at the book launch were Prof. (Dr.) Virander S. Chauhan, Chairman National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and Mr. Phil Baty, Editor at Large, Times Higher Education Magazine and Editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and Mr. Trevor Barratt, Managing Director TES Global Limited.

Prof. Chauhan while speaking on higher education in India and the significance of the book said, “There is a huge debate each time we speak of the quality of higher education in the country. The pyramid of education in India is really a flat pyramid. The book states this and I completely agree with it.” Elucidating the current President’s role in the governance of higher education institutions in the country he said, “The President of the country is deeply focused on the quality of higher education in the country and the rankings of higher education institutions in the country.”

Mr. Phil Baty applauded the existence of IIHEd and said, “I think higher education is one of the most neglected areas for research and it is encouraging that Prof. Raj Kumar and his team of faculty members have researched their own sector.”

Mr. Trevor Barratt, Managing Director TES Global Limited, London while appreciating the original work of the authors said, “This book addresses some of the most fundamental challenges of governance that higher education institutions in India are facing”.

Introducing the book, the lead author of the book, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar observed “the book is the first of its kind to systematically examine the role and functions of the President of India, while acting as the Visitor to the higher education institutions. It critically analyses the legal, constitutional, and institutional frameworks while evaluating the contribution of the President of India in his capacity as the Visitor.” 

Professor Kumar discussed the different aspects of the research and the findings in the book and said the book seeks to bring issues relating to institutional governance within the larger framework of transparency and accountability of higher education institutions. While the book examines the specific contributions and policy level initiatives taken by the President of India while acting as the Visitor to the higher education institutions, it underscores the general significance of the Presidential engagement within the larger context of promoting excellence in institutions. The book examines this role by bringing comparative and international perspectives on the growth and evolution of the role of the Visitor in higher education institutions and how this role has shaped the governance.”

Amongst other eminent attendees at the Book launch were, Dr. H.R. Bhardwaj, Chairman-ICADR, Former Governor of Karnataka and Union Minister for Law and Justice, Mr. Shivraj Patil, Ex. Home Minister and Governor of Punjab; Hon’ble Ms. Justice Gita Mittal, Vice Chancellors, eminent Judges and Lawyers.

The launch of the book was followed by a panel discussion on “Governance of Higher Education Institutions in India”. The session was chaired by Prof. Shiv Visvanathan, Vice Dean Jindal School of Government and Public Policy. The panel had some of the leading educationists of the country including Dr. Kavita Sharma, President South Asian University, Dr. Nikhil Sinha, Vice Chancellor, Shiv Nadar University, Dr. Gopa Sabharwal , Vice Chancellor, Nalanda University and Dr. Rajesh Tandon, Co-Chair, UNESCO and President, PRIA.

The manuscript has received some rave reviews from the academic community

“President Pranab Mukherjee has distinguished himself as the Education President. He has taken his role as Chancellor or Visitor of the country’s Central Universities very seriously, convening gatherings of Vice-Chancellors and immersing himself in the details of educational practice, quality and learning outcomes. This is a valuable study of the role and potential of Presidential governance in education — a path-breaking effort.” Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram – Lok Sabha Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs

“This is the first research publication of the IIHEd, and it tackles the big questions. As I have come to expect from O.P. Jindal Global University and its constituent schools, the faculty present here a provocative and important perspective on the

problems of higher education in India. In this volume, the authors analyse the very particular problems that India faces as its leading educators strive to create world-class systems of higher education. They display most cogently the important role that the President of India plays and can continue to play in fostering academic independence. With leadership like that described and displayed here, there are bright prospects for the future of higher education in India.” Dr. Alice Prochaska, Principal, Somerville College & Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Oxford 

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