Higher Education

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 3–20 | Cite as

The dilemma of change in Indian higher education

  • Philip G. Altbach


India has been trying to reform its higher education system for more than a half-century but the results in terms of systemic change have been minimal. The universities have expanded dramatically to meet the demands of an increasingly powerful middle class although resources have not been adequate to ensure the maintenance of standards. In India's bureaucratic environment, political will to change the universities has been inadequate. For these and other reasons, the mainstream of Indian higher education, now including 7,000 colleges and 150 universities serving more than 4 million students, suffers from deteriorating standards, occasional unrest and inadequate resources. However, at the margins of this seemingly unmovable system have been a variety of significant changes and reforms. The Indian Institutes of Technology, for example, provide high quality post-secondary education. Even within the traditional universities and colleges, some interesting reforms in curriculum have been successful in limited areas. This analysis points to the factors inhibiting reform and change as well as some examples of limited successes.


High Education Education System Indian Institute Middle Class Systemic Change 
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Copyright information

© Philip G. Altbach & Suma Chitnis 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip G. Altbach
    • 1
  1. 1.Comparative Education CenterState University of New York at BuffaloBuffaloU.S.A.

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