Financial Services certifications – CWM (an NISM accredited certification), CTEP and CFOS

As you know the Financial Services market have been volatile in the past few years and  the investment options for investors have been changing with the changing economic conditions. Customers are looking at multiple asset classes and not just Mutual Funds and Insurance. To be able to provide clients with informed options one needs to continuously invest in upgrading ones  KNOWLEDGE. 

Keeping in mind the changing market we offer 3 international certification programs which are very relevant for different segments of the wealth management business in the country :


Chartered Wealth Manager – CWM is a comprehensive wealth management certification covering all asset classes. It is far more relevant than just a CFP. A comparison is also attached. CWM Certification is approved by NISM as an accredited certificate for the Financial Advisory Services in India under the SEBI (Investment Advisers) Regulations.*  (In comparison to NISM certification CWM-Experience pathway has only 1 exam and no exam every 3 years)

  • NISM accredited certification
  • Accredited from American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM) USA
  • The most comprehensive wealth management certification in the country
  • CWM curriculum covers all asset classes, unlike CFP, like investments, insurance, capital markets, PMS, real estate and other soft side issues like behavioural finance, relationship management
  • For RMs with 3yrs+ experience only Level 2 examination required
  • Training mode: Self Learning, Webinar, Classroom
  • If you are a company then you should join AAFM as a corporate member (Free) to get special pricing benefits to your employees
  • Use CWM after your name on your Business Card and on your promotional materials
  • Target group – Relationship Managers in Wealth Management/Private Banking, Product Heads, Business Heads, Senior Executives from Wealth Management, Private Banking, Family Office, Advisory firms, Banks, NBFCs, Broking houses, Mutual Funds, Insurance, Distribution houses, Independent Advisors who manage HNI clients


Chartered Estate and Trust Planner – CTEP is the only Trust and estate planning certification in India which captures all the elements for making a Will, Trust, Succession etc

  • Accredited from American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM) USA
  • Content fully customised for Indian market
  • The only course available in India for Trust and Estate planning
  • The curriculum for CTEP encompasses trust and estate planning concerns of resident and non-resident clients and families. This core group of topics focuses on the major functional issues of high net-worth consulting, ranging from tax, finance to law.
  • CTEP curriculum includes Estate Planning, Taxation, Legalities, Trust planning etc
  • Use CTEP after your name on your Business Card and on your promotional materials
  • Training mode: self learning, Webinar or 3 day boot camp
  • Special launch pricing
  • Target group – Trust Officers , Financial Planners, Family Office Managers, Private Bankers, Wealth Managers, Retail Branch Managers,  Relationship Managers


Chartered Family Office SpecialistCFOs is a comprehensive Family office certification in the country. Family Office is a growing segment and we are one of the only companies offering this US certification in India

  • CFOS is an accredited program from the family Office Institute (FOI) USA.
  • Enhance knowledge base to successfully manage and operate a family office.
  • The CFOS designation will distinguish its members as it represents the premier standard for family offices.
  • Achieving CFOS designation requires one to demonstrate competence in successfully managing a family office.
  • This premier designation conveys a message to your clients and other advisors regarding both your technical skills and your due diligence obligations.
  • Training mode: Blended Elearning, Videos, Webinar
  • Special launch pricing
  • Use CFOS after your name on your Business Card and on your promotional materials
  • Target group – Family office personnel, Wealth managers, Financial planners, Estate planners, Chartered Accountants, CFPs, Investment Advisors, IFA’s and other financial professionals

If you are interested in any of the above certifications then do give Santosh a call at 9004616039 or email him at and he will assist you in the registration process


Education providers should consider changing India’s needs


Education providers should consider changing India’s needs Rukmini Banerji , Hindustan Times New Delhi, February 03, 2014
Private Schooling in India: A New Educational Landscape

Since 2005, the Annual Status of Education Report (Aser) has been tracking schooling status and learning levels of a representative sample of children in each rural district in the country. One of the most distinct trends from this nine-year stretch of annual data is the increase in private school enrolment.

In 2005, the rural all India figure of children (age 6-14) enrolled in private schools was 18.7%. By 2013, this has risen to 29%. Clear geographic patterns are also visible. Private school enrolment is high in the north. All states from Jammu and Kashmir to Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, private school enrolment today ranges from 30% to 50%.

In the Northeast too, apart from Tripura, private school enrolment is high and growing. A decade ago half of all children in Kerala went to private schools, now it is seven out of 10. In all other states where private school enrolment was low a decade ago, a clear increase is visible. Where private school enrolment is low, private tuition is high, even in early grades. For example, in 2013, close to 70% of children attended paid tuition in Class 1 in rural West Bengal.

Putting together the private school enrolment figures and the data on tuition, it seems like close to half of all children in elementary schools in rural India get some form of private inputs into their schooling process.

Interestingly, while the debate on private schooling is polarised between euphoria and despair, the reality on the ground is actually much more mixed. Evidence points to two facts. The fraction of children in private schools who attend paid tuition classes is substantially higher than that of similar aged children in government schools — implying that parents of private school going children do not depend on private schools alone.

Studies using ASER data as well as other independent studies show that controlling for family background, parental education, additional expenditures on schooling and other factors much of the difference in learning outcomes between children going to private schools and government schools goes away.

So, how does one interpret all this data? Three immediate points come to mind. First, it is crucial to remember that regardless of school type, across the board, basic learning outcomes are very unsatisfactory. In 2013, even in a relatively high-performing state like Himachal Pradesh where 34% children attend private schools, there are still 25% children in Class 5 in private schools who could not read basic Class 2 level text. The comparable figure in government schools is 35%.

So even in private schools in one of India’s best performing states, a significant proportion of children after five years of schooling did not know the basics. This is a hard fact. What this points to — is the urgent need to take a serious re-look at how teaching and learning is organised, supported and delivered in private schools as well.

Second, parents seem to assume that ‘more is better’. With rising ambitions and aspirations, parents want more schooling (more years, early enrolment into formal schools) and more inputs (private enrolment, paid tuition) in the hope that it will lead to better outcomes. While the results from private schools may be marginally better, parental hopes and investments are certainly not being realised either in terms of learning outcomes or in terms of future livelihoods.

Third, in many ways, government is like parents. Although government priorities are now changing, for years the assumption has been that more teachers, more teacher training, more qualifications, more infrastructure, more entitlements will lead to better eventual outcomes. While this approach may have brought universal schooling it has not led to learning for all.

What is obvious though is that people in India are making strategic choices. Choices are based on available resources and information and on calculations about the potential and future of each child. Parents use interesting ‘blended’ strategies combining public provision of schooling with private inputs for enhancement.

Whether government or private, education providers need to have a deep rethink about what is needed for a changing India. At the household level or at the country level we spend substantial proportion of scarce resources on our children’s education. Our top priority should be to clearly define what we want our children to learn by what stage and then organise the allocation, provision and regulation of the education system in line with what delivers the best outcomes for all.

Large-scale models of effective delivery needed to be guided by evidence on ‘what works’. If the law of the land is to be truly followed, then education and learning need to be guaranteed in all schools — whether private or government. Otherwise, the implications for both equity and growth will be severe.

Rukmini Banerji works with Pratham and leads the Aser effort

The views expressed by the author are personal

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5 Essential Lessons From Entrepreneurs

Mike KacsmarMike Kacsmar, EY

There’s a lot to be learned from entrepreneurs, — the men and women who lead, who change, who empower business, the economy and communities alike. Our team has spent the past few months speaking with entrepreneurs and sharing their insights with you through EYVoice. While they’re among the most diverse group of people you may ever meet, our conversations proved that there are a lot of commonalities among them. Here is a summary of what we learned:

Who you surround yourself with matters. Entrepreneurs tell us that more often than not, your employees are in your corner, so treat them well. “Employees want to make a difference,” said Steve Dabrow, third-generation owner of Chelten House Products. “Give them the opportunity and support to do so.”

Follow your heart … and your gut. Entrepreneurs achieve success by following their passions and doing what they know, deep down, is the right thing to do. This is true whether they’re talking about business plans, hiring strategies or product lines. Ben Lerer, Co-founder and CEO of Thrillist Media Group, may have said it best when he told us, “As long as we stay true to our gut, we’ll keep going in the right direction.”

Embrace your mistakes. Few of the world’s most recognizable entrepreneurs knocked it out of the park on their first try. For some, it took many tries before they hit on a strategy or idea that would really make people sit up and take notice. But the key, most agreed, is not to dwell on mistakes as tragic events. Instead, embrace them as opportunities for growth. “Every decision we’ve made along the way has brought us to where we are today. We have learned invaluable lessons, and I don’t think (we) would want to miss out on those,” said Natasha Ashton, Petplan , Inc.’s Co-founder, echoing what we’ve been told by many.



You’re not in it for the money. I often ask people, what made you become an entrepreneur? It’s rare that anyone tells me that they did it to become rich. Entrepreneurship isn’t a retirement plan. It’s an inbred trait that you either have or you don’t. And those that don’t force it are the ones we’re honoring each year at our Entrepreneur Of The Year galas. One solid way to explain it comes from Daniel Lubetzky, who founded KIND: “I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision to become an entrepreneur. I think I’ve always had the mindset and inclination to start things. I like to think about issues or problems in the world and try to figure out if I can create a solution … that is both economically sustainable and socially impactful.”

Know when to take advice — and when to leave it. Good entrepreneurs recognize that they don’t know it all, and find advisors that can fill the gaps. We’ve heard tales from those who gave great accolades to everyone from parents to board members, and even the professor who really forced an entrepreneur to press “pause” and rethink his strategy before moving forward. But we also heard from those who made consulting or hiring mistakes that resulted in misguided plans and recommendations. The takeaway is the same: listen to those who know what they’re talking about and don’t be afraid to move past those who don’t. “A CEO’s most important job is being a great people picker,” David Weinreb, CEO and board member of TheHoward Hughes HHC -0.43% Corporation, told us. “Over the course of my career, I have made it a focus to build a Rolodex of best-in-class people in their specific disciplines.”

Tell me: If you’re an entrepreneur, what are your greatest lessons learned? And if you’re not an entrepreneur, what has an entrepreneur taught you? How have you carried these lessons with you?

Our Website: Infinite Myriaads Corporate Training Programs Providing Company in Mumbai


financial coursesFinancial Courses are offered in India at various levels. There are courses after intermediate, after graduation and after masters. Some of the courses are also offered as skill enhancement programs for working executives. These financial courses can be grouped in different ways there are statutory courses that are offered by bodies set up by acts of parliament, courses offered by various universities in India, courses offered by foreign boards by setting up representative boards in India.

The financial courses offered in India relate to:

1.   Personal Finance

2.   Corporate Finance

3.   International Finance

4.   Financial Management

5.   Specialized Courses

Through these courses, students learn how finances, investments and the economy affect a company and an Individual

We have enumerated the all of the above type of courses and provided links to the website of the institutes that offer the best programs in the above domains of finance.

persinal financePersonal Finance

Personal Finance means finance related to individuals. In personal finance courses the participants are taught How to manage finances of an Individual? The participants learn to create personal financial statements, analyze finances of individual, advice individuals on managing their finances in order to meet their financial goals. In a personal finance course, students learn how to counsel individuals on money-saving techniques and budgeting. Personal finance topics covered include auto loans, mortgage loans and budgets. Taxation, including saving money to pay taxes and getting the most out of deductions, is also covered.

Personal Finance Courses can be taken after intermediate or graduation but it is advisable to pursue these programs after graduation. As the level of intellectual ability and pre-requisite knowledge required to pursue these programs is such that a graduate or students nearing completion of their graduation are better placed in doing so.

Courses in Personal Finance:

1. Chartered Wealth Manager® (CWM®)

2. Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®)

corporate financeCorporate Finance

Corporate Finance deals with managing and analyzing finances of a Company or a Business. In corporate finance the sources and uses of funds is dealt for. In a corporate finance course the students learn maximize the wealth of the shareholders of a company by finding out best source of capital and also learn how best to deploy this capital for long term profit maximization for a company. Students learn about possible financial problems, such as the cost of capital and the risk of investing in a certain product or company.

Corporate Finance Courses help the students develop skills in Financial decision making for a Company including capital budgeting/corporate investment, capital structure, corporate sources of funding, dividend policy and corporate contingent claims, international finance, and financial risk management. Some areas of corporate finance that are also very important are leasing, mergers and acquisitions, working capital management, standard theories of risk and return and valuation of assets.

Corporate Finance Courses can be classified into:

A.   Banking Courses

B.   Analytical Courses

C.   Financial Management Courses

D.   Financial Modelling

Some of the Prominent Corporate Finance Courses are:


1.     JAIIB & CAIIB Programs from IIBF


















1.   Chartered Accountancy Program (CA)

2.   Cost Accountancy Program (ICWA)

3.   Actuaries by Actuarial Society of India

Specialized Courses in Finance:

There are specialized courses covering a particular niche of finance.

Mergers and Acquisitions


Technical Analysis


Best financeChartered Wealth Manager® (CWM®): The CWM® Program is offered by the American Academy of Financial Management USA. There are over 50,000 CWM Certificants all over the globe occupying top positions in the Wealth Management and Private Banking sphere. The program is offered in India byAmerican Academy of Financial Management India set up by AAFM USA.

The program covers both Indian and Global content. It prepares the participants in the art and science of managing wealth of Ultra Affluent Clients. The participants build skills in managing local investments as well as global cross border investments.

The program curriculum is divided into 2 levels; level 1 is the foundation level and level 2 is the advanced level.

The program is offered through Authorized Education Providers of AAFM India which include organizations like ICICI Direct, Indiacan a Pearson and Educomp Company etc.

CWM® is the highest global designation in wealth management globally and opens doors for International Jobs in top Banks and Financial Institutions.

The program can be pursued after intermediate but the participants need to have passed graduation to be awarded the CWM® designation.

The program can be completed in 3-6 months.

Certified Financial Planner CM (CFPCM): The CFP program is offered by Financial Planning Standards Board based in USA. The program enables the participants to learn Financial Planning for individuals. The program is divided into six modules and a participant needs to clear five examinations to qualify for the program.

CFP program is the highest global designation in Financial Planning which equips participants to advise individuals in planning for their financial goals.

Students need to be intermediate with 3 years of work experience to be awarded the CFPCM Designation.

cwm vs cfpDifference between Financial Planning and Wealth Management

Wealth Management is an advanced area of Financial Planning incorporating Financial Engineering, philanthropy, tax issues and portfolio management. The Professional Sequence in Wealth Management provides financial planners with the training to help wealthy investors navigate their particular challenges and opportunities.

Difference between CWM® CFPCM and CFA

Chartered Accountancy (CA): It is one of the most widely sought after finance professions in India. A practicing CA is guided by the rules of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India ICAI and has got the legal right to file for Income Tax Returns ITRs of clients and doing audit of companies. CAs earn hefty fees for the services rendered. CA is a sure shot way of getting a job or starting your personal practice because the economic scenario implies that there will be new businesses opening every time and it is compulsory under government regulations for a company to get audited by a CA.

This course is a optimum blend of practical and theoretical education. It consists of three levels of examinations and three years of practical training under a practicing Chartered Accountant. The Chartered Accountancy course is considered to be one of the rigorous professional courses in India. Preparation of CA happens in multiple phases and if pursued seriously it can be cleared in around 4 years.

The first level of examination for CA: The CPT or Common Proficiency Test is the first level of Chartered Accountancy examinations. A person can register for CPT after completing Grade 10 and take the exam after completing High School (Grade 12).

The second level of examination for CA: IPCC or Integrated Professional Competence Course is the second level of Chartered Accountancy examinations. A person can take the IPCC Examination after passing CPT and nine months of study. IPCC has two groups of seven subjects. Group – I consists of four subjects and Group – II of three subjects. A passing grade is awarded if the candidate obtains 40% marks in each subject and 50% in the aggregate in each group.

The third and final level of examination for CA: CA Final Examination is the last and final level of Chartered Accountancy Examinations. Any person who has passed both the groups of IPCC, during the last six months of articleship can take the Final Examination. This exam consists of two groups of four subjects each. A passing grade is awarded if the candidate obtains 40% marks in each subject and 50% in the aggregate in each group.

Actuaries: Typically an Actuary uses financial and statistical techniques to solve real business problems, particularly that involving risk management. But what sets them apart from their counterparts in other professions is the natural mathematical, economic and statistical aptitude, awareness and the ability to apply these to situations in the real financial world.

The program is offered by Institute of Actuaries formerly known as Actuarial Society of India. The program has a total of 15 papers after the completion of which the person can get jobs in insurance sectors namely premium calculation, policy formulation or insurance marketing with an average package of around INR 50 lakhs. Actuaries have an added advantage that the person can do a job along with clearing the papers and each successive paper adds to the existing pay package the person is getting. There are around 200 fellow actuaries in India.

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): Program is a professional credential offered by the CFA Institute (formerly AIMR) to investment and financial professionals. A candidate who successfully completes the program and meets other professional requirements is awarded a “CFA charter” and becomes a “CFA charter holder.”

The program prepares the participants in becoming proficient in Financial Analysis, Equity Research etc. The CFA charter is a qualification for finance and investment professionals, particularly in the fields of investment management and financial analysis of stocks, bonds and their derivative assets. The program focuses on portfolio management and financial analysis, and provides a generalist knowledge of other areas of finance. Additionally, the CFA charter has experienced increasing relevance and demand within corporate finance.

The basic requirements for participation in the CFA Program include holding or being in the final year of a university degree (or equivalent as assessed by CFA Institute), or having four years of qualified, professional work experience in an investment decision-making process. To obtain the charter, however, a candidate must have completed a university degree (or equivalent) and four years of qualified, professional work experience, in addition to passing the three exams that test the academic portion of the CFA program, as discussed below.

Candidates take one exam per year over three years (assuming a pass on the first attempt). Fees as of December 2009 for each exam range from $710 to $955, depending on the date on which the candidate registers to take the exam, plus an additional $400 to $480 for program enrolment for new members.


7 Essential Habits of a Healthy Entrepreneur

Scott Christ BY SCOTT CHRIST | February 19, 2014

mage credit: Shutterstock

mage credit: Shutterstock

So there I was, exhausted at the end of a long work day, frustrated by a particularly stressful drive home and contemplating pouring a stiff bourbon and withering away on the couch for a couple hours.

Then something happened.

My habits took over.

You see, I had “programmed” the habit of exercising every day at 6 p.m. into my brain.

And once the clock struck six, it was as if a magical pumpkin whisked me into my closet to grab my workout gear and head downstairs to burn off some steam.

Turns out entrepreneurship and taking care of your health are quite synonymous.

A big part of that is because both require habitual actions. And according to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, these habits comprise 40 percent or more of the daily decisions we make.

Here are seven things entrepreneurs can do to stay on top of their business AND their health.

1. Learn something new every day. Healthy entrepreneurs are lifelong dreamers. They work hard, play hard and think harder. They love to read, listen to audio books and absorb as much knowledge as they possibly can. Not only do they educate themselves about topics relevant to growing their business, they also seek knowledge about what it takes to be healthy. They know healthy behaviors have a direct impact on their business.

2. Set goals and create systems to achieve your goals. Healthy entrepreneurs These folks also understand that knowledge without application is the quickest path to failure. They go beyond learning — they apply. Because they realize the day-to-day journey and seemingly tiny steps are the only ways to achieve their end goal.

3. Spend your “downtime” wisely. The average person spends around 3 hours a day watching TV. Don’t be that person. To stay healthy, focus on staying busy building your business, taking care of yourself and your family and trying to change the world. One recommendation is to meditate or take time to write down your goals.

4. Make exercise a priority. A healthy body will help cultivate a healthy mind. Yet the CDC says 80 percent of adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans say that adults should get 2.5 hours a week or more of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and two strength training sessions per week. Even if you’re crazy busy, find 10 minutes here and there. It will help with alleviate stress and get those endorphins pumped up to take on startup challenges.

5. Eat less junk food. Think of food as fuel: The higher quality fuel you put in your tank, the better you’ll perform. You don’t need to diet or cut foods out to eat healthy either. Just eat more real food — stuff that comes from nature — instead of processed junk and fast food. By doing so, you could help improve your energy endurance (no sugar crashes) and mood, among other benefits.

Related: A Healthy Work/Life Balance Is No Unicorn

6. Sleep more. All entrepreneurs experience the grind of late nights, early morning meetings and last-minute deadlines. But healthy entrepreneurs know that sleep is vital to their success. Whether you rise early and tackle your important projects first thing in the morning or you’re a night owl, find a consistent sleep routine and stick to it. And never underestimate the power of a good power nap to recharge your brain.

7. Create balance in your life. Healthy entrepreneurs treat health as a lifestyle. You can’t put a Band-Aid on a bad business plan, just like you can’t eat healthy for a week and expect to lose weight. Successful entrepreneurs wholeheartedly embrace healthy living: They work smarter, not harder.

Entrepreneurship and health go hand-in-hand. Each will teach you valuable lessons about the other.

Aside from family, friends, and relationships, there are few things more important in your life than your health and your career. When you passionately pursue both of these things you can experience a longer, more fulfilling life.

FHRAI Indian Hotel Industry Survey 2012-13

Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) with the support of HVS India presented the 16th edition of Indian Hotel Industry Survey 2012-13. The Survey results highlight the key trends in terms of occupancies, demand and supply across key cities, performance in terms of costs and revenues, etc. Hospitality Biz puts together the highlights of the survey.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014, 13:00 Hrs  [IST]

The data for the FHRAI Indian Hotel Survey 2012-13 was contributed by the member hotels of FHRAI.  Out of the 2,505 member hotels, more than 1,450 hotels responded to the questionnaire sent out as part of data collection.  HVS India presented the survey after culling the responses of the hotels.

Demand-Supply change
An interesting trend is the correlation between the supply and demand growth, with the supply growing at 17.8% CAGR and demand at 17.3% from 2008-09 to 2012-13.  The occupancy levels remained generally stable during this period despite strong increases in supply is indicative of the healthy growth in demand.
In 2012-13, the country experienced a slowdown in growth across sectors, as reflected in GDP growth of 5%.  Despite this slowdown, the year saw hotels maintain occupancy levels at a steady 60.4% (60.9% in 2011-12). HVS estimated that major cities across the country witnessed a growth of 11% in hotel room supply in 2012-13, while demand exhibited a strong increase of 9.2% during the same period.

Increasing F&B and Banquet Revenues
Hotels in India continue to receive a greater contribution from both F&B and the Banquets & Conference department, as per the survey.  The Banquets & Conference segment also recorded a year-on-year increase of 17% in PAR revenue in 2012-13(Rs 2,26,793) over that in 2011-12, while F&B recorded an increase of 4.2% in the PAR revenue (Rs 5,41,494) for the same period. However, revenue contribution from Rooms has seen a steady decline over the last five years, recording a negative CAGR of 4% between 2008-09 and 2012-13.
Declining  Net Income
The survey noted that  in the last five years net income as a percentage of total revenue has consistently declined year-on-year, as witnessed  by a CAGR of 5.7%.  The year 2012-13 has seen a decline of 4.7% in Net Income as a percentage of revenue over the previous year.  The reason is attributed to rising department costs, which are a result of rising inflation coupled with an increase in Energy costs.
Market Mix
The Indian hotel industry continues to cater to the Business Traveller, who contributes the largest share to the market mix at 39%.  The survey also reveals an increase in the growth of Meeting Participants segment.  Additionally, both the domestic Business and Domestic Leisure traveler have continued to show resilience. While the real growth in 2012-13 came from the Domestic travellers, it was noted that India also experienced an increase of 5.4% in foreign tourist arrivals.
Increasing Utility & Manpower costs
Energy cost continue to rise and pose a challenge to the hotel industry.  The survey this year has revealed a rise of 13% in PAR energy cost (Rs 1,82,067) over the previous year (Rs 1,61,479). Similarly, employee to room ratios in India continue to be on the higher side when compared with global benchmarks, almost twice as much.  The all India average of employee to room ratio stands at 1.6. Hotels in India, the survey notes, provide services and facilities beyond their positioning.

Changing Source Markets
There has been almost 4.3% drop in visitations from two major source markets – the US and the UK.  Although these two markets still contributes major chunk of Indian inbound (23%), there is an increasing inbound from new markets like Middle East, Russia, and the SAARC.  The rise in visitations from Asia and the Middle East is attributed to improved connectivity, easier Visa norms and infrastructure development, etc.


India’s educational awakening

Road sign to  education and future

What exactly is hindering Indian universities to become world-class?

In recent times a few leaders, notably the ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam and current President Pranab Mukherjee, have laid stress on improving quality of education and research in India. Kalam, in his interaction with students across the country, emphasised the point that India needs to engage in quality education and research at various levels. Mukherjee also highlighted upon the dire need of improvement in quality of education and research in higher education institutions. The major concern Mukherjee expressed about is India’s failure in creating world-class institutions. Keeping in view the fact that the government has established IITs, IIMs, NITs and central universities, and has made available substantial funding for research, Kalam’s and Mukherjee’s concerns raise several questions. The most important is what fails Indian institutions improve their quality and ranking, especially in terms of quality research output. The answer could be the lack of scope for creativity and innovation in our education system.

Unfortunately, India does not have many quality institutions to offer undergraduate education. Then there are a limited numbers of career paths unlike in developed countries. The students graduating from schools have the aim of enrolling themselves in those limited number of institutions offering professional degrees, primarily in medicine and engineering. They are under tremendous parental and social pressure to join these institutions in the country and that too in a few selected disciplines where placement is more or less assured of. For example, to get admission in an institution like BITS Pilani, almost 1.5 lakh students register to compete for a few thousand seats every year. Getting admission into IITs is equally competitive. The students need to work very hard, forgetting about any other activities during the last two years of their schooling.

Once they are selected for admission, it is almost like achieving the goal in life and many of them lose motivation. This is further aggravated as many of them do not know how to handle freedom in the hostel life, away from the watchful eyes of their parents and also knowing that the placement cell of the institute would take care to arrange a good job

r them at the end of their studies. In a number of cases, due to parental pressures, they target to get admission in a branch that will fetch them a fat salary at the end of their study. However, due to their rankings in the admission tests, they get admission in some other branch, which de-motivates them.

There is another category of students whose expectations about the institutes become very high due to the hype created by the media and the society at large, but after joining they find that the quality of infrastructure is ordinary and the academic system not challenging enough—again de-motivating them.

The situation is further aggravated as the quality of teaching at all levels (elementary, secondary and tertiary) has not improved over the years. The existing teaching-learning process at the undergraduate level is not up to the mark. We still follow the age-old techniques of teaching, have failed to understand the impact of technology on young minds and have not reoriented our teaching methodology to attract them towards the subjects. We are not growing inquisitive minds. Encouragement to independent thinking, which contributes in innovation and research, is missing. The undergraduate education does not prepare students to get attracted to choose research as a career option. Many students, who are genuinely interested in research, do not think that proper environment is available in Indian universities and go abroad.

For any academic institution to go up on the ranking scale requires to be research-focused and for that it needs to have a large supply of quality research scholars at PhD level. In the absence of sufficient number of genuinely interested and motivated research scholars, the universities are unable to produce excellent research outputs. Moreover, since in most Indian institutions research has been linked to career growth, people tend to prefer easy-going researches which require lesser creativity. There are a few social-related reasons for not being able to attract students towards research.

Hence, if the Indian institutions aspire to produce high quality research and also to enter into the list of the best in the world, serious efforts have to be made at

rious levels. Starting from school education, the course curriculum needs to be redesigned so as to create inquisitiveness in the mind of the students, which will only happen if research component is introduced at the elementary levels. This is a long drawn process. To improve the supply of good quality students for research, undergraduate education has to be strengthened. The social mindset will only change if the PhD scholars are compensated well and their efforts are adequately recognised.

AK Sarkar is senior professor, Dept of Civil Engineering;

SK Choudhary is associate professor, Dept of Humanities and Social Sciences. Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani. Views are personal

Infinite Myriaads is a corporate and vocational training company offering learning solutions to Retail, Financial Services, Education, and Hospitality sectors.