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Technical education in India has developed greatly after independence. This is due to the global demand for highly qualified, dedicated and versatile technocrats and professionals, who are abundantly available in India. Owing to the forces of demand and supply, Indian government found itself unable to cater to the massive demand of educational institutions which would provide high quality technical education which is essential in order to compete in the globalised marketplace. This was the primary reason, which led to the government giving a nod to the establishment of private technical educational institutions in the mid eighties. Unable to cope with the multiple needs of economic development, defense and other sectors, the government was constrained by the lack of funds from establishing its own institutions of higher technical education. The green signal for the establishment of private sector established, funded and managed institutions, was the beginning of a ‘mad race‘. More and more private individuals, through trusts and societies, joined the race to get their educational institutions registered and officially recognized. The quality of education provided by these institutions was relegated to the background. The population growth demanded that students could not afford to be overly choosy and critical and had to enroll in these institutions in order to get technically qualified and have a ticket to the rosy IT dream. Although many government institutions continue to be in demand due to their prestige, quality and subsidized fees, it is undeniable that these excellent institutions have enabled India to create a niche for itself in the global arena of academic expertise and fuelled significant advancement in manpower development with an aim to meet the rising demand for engineering manpower for industries both at home and abroad. Indian engineering graduates are placed today in the most famous MNCs, and the most reputed industries and organizations in the developed countries. India has witnessed a huge boom in the BPO/KPO sector, which are both knowledge and skill intensive sectors. There is no disputing the fact that higher technical education system has made a significant contribution to economic development and social progress in independent India. However, another fact also cannot be disputed- In the higher technical education system in India, the government sector has remained almost static, while the private sector has responded pro actively to the need of the hour and displayed positive growth. There is a lot of similarity as well as difference in government and private technical education institutions. Both are subject to the same norms, standards, regulations, and accreditation processes by the same bodies, but funding and financial support constitutes the major difference. Government institutions are highly subsidized and resource input in these institutions is from the government and its bodies. The private institutions in India are solely dependent upon the tuition and development fees charged from the students. The other differences are of governance, recruitment of faculty and level of autonomy. An important point to note here is that the only source of funding in the private institutions is the tuition and development fee which has seen high increases in recent years because of steep rise in the cost of technical education which is linked to recurring and non- recurring expenditure. This factor has resulted in limiting the access to higher technical education in the country. High fees in private institutions are beyond the reach of a majority of students. Haryana, which is a small but rapidly developing state in North India, is at the forefront of the new education thrust. Haryana has limitless potential and prospects in the immediate future. A notable point is that this major expansion has been due to the private initiatives. Efforts are being made to reap the rewards by students, private entrepreneurs, and the government. The Eleventh Five Year Plan targets of intake of 50,000 students in higher technical education have already been achieved in the session 2009–10 i.e. much before the closure of the plan. Private institutions hold the lion‘s share in technical education institutions in the country and have seen massive growth during the last decade. This expansion has taken place at the cost of quality. Other issues which have cropped up due to privatization are: commercialization; faculty shortage; regional imbalance; and undesirable academic ractices. Private engineering colleges which constitutes bulk share of 70 percent of the technical education in India, can be a boon for the country if properly acknowledged and supported by the governments and an appropriate concept is located to achieve quality in these institutions. The aim is to identify the various quality standards and devise a simple and cost- effective approach to manage these quality standards to achieve high quality in private technical institutions. Therefore, satisfaction of trustees, faculty and students and harmony amongst them seems to be vital for the proper management of quality standards. The parameters suggested in the literature are general in nature. Hence, the existing quality models as well as the existing quality parameters are not applicable to the private technical education institutions, which are being run in the self-financed mode, particularly when these institutions have lost their credibility in the society. Literature does not show a substantial body of work on quality related issues focused exclusively on self-financed private engineering education institutions. Today, private technical education institutions are striving to survive with debt rising, declining admissions, damaged credibility, closing and merging of institutions etc. Quality becomes even more essential during this disturbed time when change is happening much faster than can be comfortably adapted to. Education quality is a multidimensional concept and needs extensive study and analysis. This, when combined with the fact that every educational institution may have its own criteria of education quality, makes the problem of studying education quality more complicated. There is a need of a fresh concept to revitalize the private engineering education institutions with a view to enhance their quality. It is to serve this purpose that this study has been undertaken. It is important to see how educational institutions are responding to the constantly changing and developing needs of the age and able to advance in tune with the times. As technology becomes more advanced, and constant up-gradations result in making even yesterday‘s technology obsolete today, the educational institutions must also respond to the need to revitalize student learning and make it more meaningful and timely. This study attempts to discover the gaps and make relevant recommendations on the basis of scientifically drawn conclusions which are statistically supported by the facts and figures which have emerged after study. It is hoped that this study would bridge the gap in some measure and also be a link to future studies which would like to focus on other aspects which influence quality in technical education. Quality refers to the overall reliability, excellence and credibility of the educational experience and training being imparted at these technical institutions. It refers to various aspects like infrastructure, faculty involvement, industry relevance, financial implications for students, human resource utilization, etc which together form the nucleus of quality evaluation standards on which any institution or organization is judged. Aim of the present study is to attempt at an in-depth and complete look at the private engineering colleges in Haryana which have grown exponentially during the past fifteen years and retain more than ninety percent share in the higher technical education system of Haryana. At present many of these colleges and similar colleges in other states are facing a severe quality crisis which has mired them in the plethora of problems. The study attempts to develop a simple, practical and cost effective approach to revitalize private engineering colleges so that these colleges achieve globally acceptable standards of quality technical education institutions. The rationale for the Study can be easily understood when it is observed that a big thrust which is placed on this subject in the Eleventh Five Year Plan. Expansion, inclusion and rapid improvement in quality throughout higher and technical education system through public spending, encouraging private initiatives and initiating long overdue reforms are the major Eleventh Five Year Plan objectives. The intake of technical education institutions needs to grow at an estimated fifteen percent annually, to meet the skilled manpower needs of our growing economy. India needs one engineering college per 1 lac of population and thus needs three hundred percent expansion in the country. Also the country needs a uniform regional dispersal of these colleges because more than fifty percent of technical institutes are concentrated in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Surplus and deficient states need restructuring of the existing and new institutions. Governments of the centre and states are not in a position to allocate the necessary funding to the higher and technical education institutions for expansion and quality. The role of private sector gains even more prominence in this scenario as it is supplementing the efforts of the governments. At present, the private sector has more than ninety percent share in the technical education system in the country. Since the past 3-4 years, many private institutions are assailed with problems of rising debts, inability to repay their loans, far less admissions than the sanctioned intake, the students and faculty shifting from one institute to another, poor results, deterioration in quality of the graduating engineers, poor employability, culture of bad practices bringing bad name to the technical education system in the society et al. Today, many private technical education institutes are poised at a crossroads with their very survival at stake. A study of such private technical institutes is required to find out simple, cost effective and workable solutions so that the huge infrastructure created by these institutes can be put to effective use, and these colleges become an asset of the country and help in achieving the targets of inclusion, enrollment and quality.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to determine the quality standards in technical education institutions with particular reference to private engineering colleges in Haryana. To achieve this objective, the following sub objectives of the study have been identified in respect of private engineering colleges in Haryana: <.> To identify the quality standards in private technical education institutions; .» To evaluate the quality of overall educational experience imparted by randomly selected private technical education institutions; .» To examine the harmony amongst students, faculty, and trustees in selected private technical education institutions; .» To assess the level of satisfaction of students, faculty, and trustees in selected private technical education institutions; .» To examine the relationship between quality and satisfaction in the context of selected private technical education institutions; .» To examine the relationship between quality and harmony in the context of selected private technical education institutions; .» To examine the relationship between harmony and satisfaction in the context of selected private technical education institutions; .» To make recommendations on the basis of findings of the study, for better management of quality standards in technical education institutions, and for overall improvement in technical education system.
The present study is based on the broad hypothesis that management of quality standards and quality in private technical education institutions are positively correlated variables. To establish this hypothesis, the following sub- hypotheses have been formulated: H 1: Quality standards such as human; financial and physical resource; financial management and governance; teaching-learning; and supplementary processes, substantially influence the quality of overall education imparted in technical education institutions; H 2: Harmony amongst students, faculty and trustees has positive impact on satisfaction; H 3: Harmony amongst students, faculty and trustees has positive impact on quality; H 4: Quality and satisfaction are positively correlated variables;
Research methodology involves the systematic procedure by which the researcher starts from the initial identification of the problem to its final conclusion. The role of the methodology is to carry on the research in a scientific and valid manner. The method of the researcher provides him with the tools and techniques by which the research problem can be studied and solved. The methodology consists of procedure and techniques for conducting a study. Research methodology involves such general activities as identifying problem, review of the literature, formulating hypothesis, testing of hypothesis, data collection, analysis of data interpretation and drawing conclusion. The present study is conducted on the topic “Management of Quality Standards in Technical Education Institutions“. The primary and secondary data has been collected from various sources i.e. structured close-ended questionnaire, literature review, interview with stakeholders, interviews with experts through open-ended questionnaire, and researcher‘s own experience. The collected data has been processed and tabulated. In the interpretation of data, however, various statistical tools have been used for drawing valuable inferences. Data Both primary and secondary type of information has been used in conducting the study. Secondary data and data from open-ended questionnaire have mainly been used in identifying the issues, identifying the quality standards, to develop the conceptual framework of the study and in making the recommendations. Primary data (close-ended questionnaire), on the other hand, have been used to analyze the user‘s perception of quality, satisfaction and to determine the status of harmony amongst the students, the faculty and the trustees in selected private engineering colleges in Haryana. Data from primary sources can be considered the blood stream of a research project. The survey is the most common method of gathering information in the social sciences. An interview is one of the most appropriate methods for obtaining personal, detailed and in-depth information. It usually involves a lengthy questionnaire. It allows for extensive probing by the interviewer and gives respondents the flexibility to elaborate their answers. Questionnaire Method has been used to collect primary data for which a detailed survey was conducted as a part of this study. A carefully designed questionnaire was distributed among a sample group consisting of 2000 students, faculty and trustees. The respondents were selected from randomly chosen 33 private engineering colleges of Haryana covering the urban/ semi-urban and rural area other than National Capital Region and the area falling in NCR. The colleges were chosen from those established since the inception of privatization in the state to those who have come up recently up till the current year. The respondents consisted of the students, faculty and trustees. Preference was given to senior level students and faculty because they have better experience and familiarity with the services provided by their own institution. To balance the whole process, students and teachers from all the streams and trustees were chosen. Primary data was collected using self-administered structured close-ended questionnaire distributed to 2000 respondents in 33 self-financed under graduate level private technical institutes. Another open-ended questionnaire of 10 questions was sent to 25 known experts including, industrialists, administrators and academicians to invite their views and suggestions based upon their qualifications/experience/contributions on various important issues in technical education such as quality, governance, finance, faculty, students, managements, regulatory bodies, norms and standards, expansion etc. Both the questionnaires were duly checked, collated and finally survey was conducted on 2025 respondents (2000 on close-ended questionnaire and 25 on open-ended questionnaire).
As conducting the study with the entire population is not possible, a researcher needs to design the sample to honestly and comprehensively represent the entire universe under study. It is incumbent on the researcher to clearly define the target population which is done keeping in view the objectives of the study. A small, but carefully chosen sample should be used to represent the population. The sample must properly reflect the characteristics of the population from which it is drawn. In the random sampling method, each member of the population has an equal chance of being selected. In order to evaluate the institutional quality, satisfaction of various constituencies, and harmony amongst these constituencies in private engineering colleges, the survey was conducted using random sampling on a sample of 1179 respondents (951 students, 177 faculty members, and 51 trustees in 20 randomly selected private engineering colleges the list of these institutions has been given in the thesis, however, the sequence of these institutions is not the same as used in the analysis. It has been done intentionally to maintain the confidentiality of the results of the analysis of these institutions, on closeended questionnaire and 19 respondents on open-ended questionnaire. Scale of Measure Respondents were presented with 5 response categories ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree and asked to respond according to their knowledge, information and experience. The 57 questions on quality were scaled from 5 to 1 except question number 10 & 39 for which the scale used was 1 to 5, whereas 3 questions covering the satisfaction aspect were scaled from +2 to -2. The reliability of 60 questions has been assessed by Cronbach‘s alpha coefficient analysis using PROC CORR statement in SAS on value of .9. Measurement Technique Several statistical analytical techniques such as Correlation analysis, Regression Analysis, ANOVA, have been used to measure the score of the quality provided by the select private engineering colleges in Haryana, the status of harmony existing amongst the students, faculty and trustees and level of satisfaction of the students, faculty and trustees associated with these selected private engineering colleges in Haryana. SAS 9.1.3 statistical tool has been used in order to quantify the attributes of quality, harmony and satisfaction used in this research. A psychometric scale, namely ` Likert Scale`, has been used to specify the level of agreement of the respondents on the close-ended questionnaire which featured 60 parameters. 57 parameters have been used to evaluate the performance of the existing system as well as the facilities available at the surveyed private engineering colleges in Haryana and 3 parameters (one each for trustee, faculty and students) have been used to assess the satisfaction levels at these colleges. The variance in the responses of the students, the faculty and the trustees determines the harmony amongst these groups in these select colleges. A statistical analytic technique such as Correlation has been used to explore the co-relation between three attributes: quality, satisfaction, and harmony, at private engineering colleges in Haryana.
.» At the level of a private technical education institution, all the three constituencies: the students, the faculty and the trustees-are the most strategic constituencies. Harmony amongst these three constituencies means the uniformity of deliverables, expectations, goals, mission, end results and motivations. Only if all the three constituencies are in harmony, can the institution run in a progressive, cohesive and productive manner. .» There is a cause for concern on the harmony variable as harmony amongst the three strategic constituencies- students, faculty and trustees is not there in the selected institutions. Institutions wise analysis indicates that only 35 percent institutions are in harmony. All institutes analysis indicates that the three constituencies are not in harmony. Generalizing all institutes analysis at the level of private technical education system in the state of Haryana, this means there should be an introspective and honest evaluation of what ails the institutions and how they can promote better harmony amongst their students, faculty and trustees. .» For the satisfaction of students, the atmosphere in the institute should be conducive for the development of their requisite competencies. For the satisfaction of faculty and staff, the institute should have notified human resource policy which includes the integration of faculty and staff, their career paths, conditions of service and welfare. For the satisfaction of management, sufficient surplus should be available for cost recovery as well as for expansion, quality and efficiency improvement after meeting the required recurring and non-recurring expenditure. .» Overall state satisfaction is 38 percent. Component wise, student satisfaction is 39 percent, faculty satisfaction is 50 percent, and management satisfaction is 59 percent. Institutions wise, 40 percent are highly satisfied, 45 percent satisfied, 15 percent are dissatisfied. .» The ten parameters 1 Human Resource Students; 2 Human Resource Faculty; 3 Human Resource Trustees; 4 Financial Resource ; 5 Infrastructure; 6 Corporate Governance; 7 Institutional Leadership ; 8 Teaching - Learning; 9 Institutional Life; and 10 Networking are crucial elements which form the genesis of the entire institutional quality. The first five parameters, which are the input, gives rise to the next 5 which constitute the process which ultimately results in the creation of the values of harmony, satisfaction and finally- quality. It is imperative that these ten parameters be managed in a balanced and progressive way to make the institution function in a manner which is attuned to the evolving needs of the time. .» Despite the poor showing on the parameter of harmony, the average quality score is encouraging at 76 percent. 45 percent institutions are above average and 55 percent institutions are below average in the quality. The faculty as well as trustees has rated the quality score on the higher side, but the student‘s rating seems to be is quite realistic and approaches to the average quality score. .» All institutes quality score compared across quality standards is 76 percent. Faculty as a human resource has been better rated at more than 80 percent. Other components of human resource such as students and trustees have also been rated more than 76 percent. However, corporate governance is rated at the lowest, which is more critical. .» 35 percent institutions are quality institutions, level of overall satisfaction is 38 percent, harmony is present in 35 percent institutions, and thus, direct relation between quality, satisfaction, and harmony is established. Percentage of quality institutions would have been higher had there been harmony in more institutes. This gives rise to the realization that promotion of harmony is a serious challenge which confronts institutions today. The conflict of interest and dissonance in the end goals gives rise to disharmony. Major and far reaching efforts need to be made to promote harmony in the institutions. As far as the overall institutional quality is concerned, almost half of the sample surveyed believes that overall quality is average, whereas a minority believes that it is not up to the mark. Nearly one third of the population believes that overall quality is very good. This shows that though there is a tolerable level of satisfaction with the quality at the institutional level, greater effort and investment of thought and finance needs to be expended on the ten parameters which constitute the input and process which ultimately lead to quality. .» In terms of human resource, student‘s score is 79 percent, faculty score is 83 percent, and the trustee‘s score is 81 percent. Amongst the quality standards, the scoring onhuman resource is highest which is a sufficient reason for the optimism about bright future of the private technical education system in Haryana as it is the human resource which brings changes. .» The financial resource as per the trustees as well as faculty seems to be overall good, but the student‘s really do not endorse this perception of other two constituencies. The score on this count by the faculty and trustees is 80 percent whereas the scoring by student group is 75 percent. .» In terms of corporate governance as well, the general perception of more than half the sample surveyed was that it is not good in institutions surveyed. This trend is discouraging as it points to the fact that best corporate practices are not being practiced in these institutions. It is expected that the best practices on this count will become more and more entrenched as time goes by, resulting in the improvement of quality standards. .» The statistical analysis as far as the faculty is concerned, points to the fact that more than 40 percent of the total sample agree that it is good and committed. However, this gives rise to concern as faculty performance needs to be rated as good by an overwhelming majority if any institution is to claim to be good. More work needs to be done in the area of ensuring more involvement and empowerment of the faculty by the institutions. .» Financial management, which forms the core of the institution economic activities have been rated as good by 44 percent of the sample size surveyed, which indicates that there is a significant degree of satisfaction regarding the management of the economic affairs. However, this cannot hide the fact that financial support by the government and other banking and financial institutions will certainly help in raising the quantum of positive response further. .» Infrastructure is considered to be good and very good by almost 80% of the sample surveyed. This points to the fact that infrastructural requirements are well met by the private colleges. This is an encouraging variable and more work need to be done in this direction to ensure that infrastructure stays up to date and adequate to satisfy all stakeholders. .» The responses regarding institutional life and leadership, both evoke positive responses which are a very healthy indicator. A small minority is dissatisfied with the institutional life and leadership and this can be addressed by the better definition and discharge of the leader‘s role as opposed to a manager‘s functions which are currently being carried by the some individual or groups in the institutions. It is felt that there should be a more defined and demarcated line between the manager and the leader in a college. Intuitional life, quality and satisfaction level can be increased with the provision of more social, cultural and event based activities which will promote a feeling of belongingness within the institution. .» Regarding the trustees, the general feeling is positive however, it should still be strongly reiterated that role and functions of the trustees need to be more sharply delineated and discussed. .» Overall satisfaction index throws up some interesting revelations. It is concluded that trustees are the group which are the most satisfied overall with almost 79 percentsatisfaction levels. The faculty comes next with almost 75 percent satisfaction level whereas the students are the least satisfied group with 62 percent. This means that a large amount of work still needs to be done to increase the satisfaction levels of the students, although a majority of them are satisfied overall. .» Governance is a big problem. The trustees need to be competent, transparent, quality conscious and have sense of social responsibility. Institution should have well defined mission, objectives and plan of development on which an annual activity report should be produced. The decisions should be taken by BOG assisted by committees and represented by faculties and experts. Powers should be appropriately delegated for academic, financial, and administrative freedom. The institutes are facing financial problem. Provision for consumables, maintenance, industry interaction, tours and excursions, guest lectures, faculty development, welfare, awards and rewards and for social responsibility should be there in the budget. Students should deposit their dues timely. Sufficient funds should be there to invest in the quality parameters. The receipts and payments should be managed for better viability. .» The regulatory bodies are the controllers and not the facilitators. This gap is still yawning despite some recent reforms implemented by the government: like the provision of scholarship to girl students; centralized counseling for admissions etc. More financial aid and grants will be visionary support mechanisms which will impact institutional health in a positive and long-term manner. .» The faculty need to be qualified, competent, committed, sincere & dedicated and should have sense of belongingness. Director should be competent of providing educational and administrative leadership. This is a major factor which has made the satisfaction scale dip in the sample surveyed. Greater accord and concurrence of views in this regard will certainly result in a big boost to the overall quality in an institution. .» The students are expected to possess subject knowledge of entry level examination. Their knowledge of the qualifying examination is very poor. They should be conscious of their career, truthful, respectful, obedient and sincere. They should possess positive attitude and learning aptitude. They should feel belongingness to the institute and its infrastructure. They should display good behavior and follow the code of conduct, observe discipline, follow the rules and regulations of institute/library/hostel/transport etc. They should be regular in attending classes and not boycott the classes. They should be keen to improve their performance and come prepared for the classes. They should do healthy and positive criticism. .» Institution should have well defined student charter, academic policy and should ensure its awareness to students, faculty & staff and implementation. Effective Induction program for new students giving complete information regarding institution, intuitional life, program of study, career etc. should be arranged. Students profile should be prepared at the time of entry, exit and during the course of study. There should be effective student‘s service centre for efficient services. The administration should have an effective control through defined mechanism. .» The faculty need to prepare academic schedule for every detail activity, teachers should come prepared in the class, teaching should be done keeping in view of the diversity of student body, the aim of teaching-learning should be to acquire maximum knowledge by every student, good hands-on skills to be provided in the workshops, teaching should not be limited to transfer of contents only, tutorials to be conducted to clear all the doubts of the students, due importance should be attached to project work and summer training, students evaluation should be fair, transparent and open to the students. .» Facilities should be available round the clock, the institution should have sufficient facilities of sports and game, students should visit the library during off hours and off days, reading and internet facilities should be there in the hostel, accommodation in the hostel should be neat and clean, food to be hygienic and homely, students should participate actively in institutional life, senior student must help their juniors, faculty should be available for solving students problems, soft and life skills learning activities should be arranged and students must take interest in such activities, students and faculty should be conscious of reputation of the institute. .» There should be effective industry institute interaction, eminent professors/ senior industry executives/ successful personalities of repute should be invited for guest lectures, the institute should have effective training and placement cell and a communication cell for internal and external communication, faculty/mentors should share students problems, students should be encouraged for active participation in activities. The institute should have arrangement for In-house and outsourced guidance/counseling/mentoring. .» In a private educational institution, quality, harmony and satisfaction are closely and positively connected variables which need constant reinforcement by frequent actions, review and improvement. .» Quality is widely perceived as an In-house activity and its pursuit and achievement is only possible if the institutionís constituencies, namely the students, faculty and trustees are all equally committed for achieving it. In isolation, it is difficult for any one of the constituencies to achieve it without the pro active, sincere and perpetual efforts and cooperation of the others. .» It is an inescapable fact which has emerged during the course of this study that quality of education is a primary criterion which determines the preference of a student for an institution. Only if they provide quality education and promote harmony and satisfaction amongst their stakeholders can private technical institutions hope to continue to thrive and become viable business ventures. They cannot hope to become successful enterprises with maximum student intake on their rolls unless they provide quality education. .» Satisfaction amongst the faculty is a key element which promotes the overall harmony and quality in an institution. If the faculty feels involved, empowered and encouraged, only then are they able to transmit this feeling of satisfaction to the students and trustees and contribute unstintingly to the comprehensive growth of the institution. .» It is essential on the part of the trustees to form cohesive, visionary and forward looking policies, provide an approachable and encouraging environment for growth, supportive governance and efficient financial management to promote the spirit of harmony, cooperation and fulfillment in the institution. .» There must be emphasis placed on grooming and polishing the soft skills of the students like communication, written, documentation, listening, presentation and mentoring capabilities. .» The trustees must not function as mere money managers, but also must try to widen their knowledge base and benefit from the study and emulation of the best practices being applied in institutions which are recognized for their educational excellence. .» A culture of commitment must be built towards the institution through the unifiedefforts of the trustees, faculty and students. This is the very basis on which the three interrelated values of harmony, satisfaction and quality will be established and encouraged in the premises of the institution and even outside in the larger world. .» Entrepreneurship training must form an integral part of the education provided by the institutions as entrepreneurship and technical expertise have become more closely linked than ever before today with more and more engineers opting to exercise entrepreneurship in order to make the most of their knowledge and competencies. .» There should be more emphasis placed on the value of ‘harmony‘ and ‘satisfaction‘ as defined in this study. These are the two attributes which finally give rise to the promotion and nurturing of quality and as such there should be constant evaluation of the level of harmony and satisfaction. Consistent efforts and feedback mechanisms are needed to be put into place to ensure that these two values are always achieved by an institution. .» It is vital for the role of trustees in the educational set up to introspect more closely. In the present context, this role is very ambiguous and changeable. Trustees themselves must try to accumulate qualifications and experience which shall help them discharge their responsibilities in a more informed, efficient and impactful manner. .» Unrestrained growth of institutions of inconsequential quality has caused paucity of students wishing to enroll in these institutions which has lead to a vicious circle whereby institutions cut corners and cut down expenditure by employing moderately qualified faculty, decreasing infrastructural investment, increasing fees etc while the students are repelled by declining standards of quality. A large number of institutes have been spawned on the soil of Haryana but these have not been held up to stringent quality standards with the result that though the state has high number of institutions, quality is the casualty. Haryana‘s prolific growth in numbers has resulted in its best being way behind the national best but the average becoming slightly better than national average. This means that though there are certain institutions which are good, they are rare and have not been able to reach the pinnacle as has been achieved by many institutions in other states. The majority of the Haryana institutions are average and even below average and in this respect, there is consistency of quality. .» As Haryana has been a recent entrant to the education scenario, colleges in Haryana are relatively new. The Haryana institutes are still not being able to compete with some of the older and more established colleges in other states in terms of quality. .» There is leniency on the part of the government in allowing the proliferation of institutions even though student‘s intake continues to be a problem and there are not many takers for the vacant seats which are spread across the state. Though density of number of institutions in Haryana is comparable to the best in the country, it still lags behind in terms of student preference and excellent standards of teaching- learning and the comprehensive educational experience. .» Retention and recruitment of qualified faculty is a major hurdle. There must also be greater incentivisation in terms of non- monetary terms like consulting opportunities, opportunity to attend foreign conferences, present papers there and proper recognition of the efforts of the highly committed and capable teachers. Increasing number of colleges, with disparate growth of qualified faculty have difficulty in maintaining an optimal balance. .» Faculty retention is a major challenge which is true not only for Haryana technical institutions but also for other states, especially in the technical arena. This is because most of the engineering graduates prefer to join the industry or the corporate which offer better pay, more facilities and more growth prospects. Very rarely does a good candidate undertake research and higher educational qualifications with the specific intention of undertaking teaching. In this context, it is very important that in the long term, a suitable climate for attracting highly capable and talented candidates into teaching be created through the combined efforts of both the government and private enterprise. .» The significant improvement in the state of the technical education today is not a task which can be undertaken and completed in a short term. It has to be long term, concentrated, planned and properly coordinated efforts. The various aspects which impact total quality in an institution always keep changing and combining together in new and more challenging ways. Therefore, for a suitable path towards improvement to be identified and followed, it is vital that a consensus should be built up in civil society, government, students, and academia regarding the benchmarks, standards, best practices and procedures which have to be put in place by every institution regardless of the state in which they exist. Only standardization of these aspects will help in the overall overhauling of the system. .» There is a good case for economic support for the private institutions as experts also felt that if government provides monetary and economic incentives, financial aid and grants to the private institutions, their utilization will be much better than can happen in a government institution. This is due to the ownership and responsibility which private trustees feel towards their assets as opposed to the lackadaisical attitude on the part of government employed managers. .» Holistically speaking, the overall socio-economic background of the students who enter the institution plays an important role in determining the quality of the overall education experience. Since some students come from socially and economically deprived backgrounds and are from rural milieu, they are automatically out of their element when they enroll for a course which is high-tech, or even technical in nature. .» Most experts view concur on the point that trustees or managers of the institutions who provide the leadership and governance are sometimes not at all up to the mark. Some of them are illiterate themselves, while others consider their institutes asmoney making mechanisms only which is not at all conducive to smooth functioning. .» Networking activities are considered satisfactory, but still more work needs to be done in this arena. Networking is considered essential for success in todayís age of communication and information proliferation. As such, greater chances of networking and contact development have to be provided to the students. .» A great leap forward towards quality enhancement and the promotion of better education experience in Haryana has been the initiative by the government of Haryana wherein a centralized counseling process is in place for admission. This has been a welcome step which has become a reference point for other states as well. Similar initiatives need to be encouraged to promote more quality achievement. .» Scholarships to girl students, encouraging post graduate and research has been some key areas that Haryana has taken lead over other states. These measures certainly reflected in the sample survey. .» There is a need for more senior and experienced faculty to be absorbed into the education scenario in a productive manner. For technical institutions, the function of providing finesse and expertise can be fulfilled by industry experts too and so moreindustry experts should be employed as teachers- part time, guest lectures or mentors. .» As far as possible, the trustees must try to rope in more highly qualified and competent persons to help them, advise them, guide them or supplement their efforts as far as the proper discharge of their duties as leaders and managers of the institution is concerned. Most institutions suffer because the trustees take arbitrary decisions and function in an autocratic and short sighted manner. This is a major cause for worry for the experts. .» It has been observed that the period of the life span of the institution when it is most vulnerable and needs financial support and consistent efforts to keep the sources of revenue continuously flowing is the first five years. This is the time when government sympathy, positive intervention in the form of financial support and encouragement is most required. .» The private technical education institutions are spawning a huge economic spin-off as admission and placement advertisements which have become a highly lucrative business for the media and agents like real estate business. .» Quality Standards such as 1. Human Resource Students; 2. Human Resource Faculty; 3. Human Resource Trustees 4. Financial Resource; 5. Infrastructure; 6. Corporate Governance; 7. Institutional Leadership; 8. Teaching - Learning; 9. Institutional Life; and 10. Networking, substantially influence the quality in a technical education institution which validate the Hypothesis H:1. Harmony amongst the three constituencies namely: the students, the faculty and the trustees is positively related with satisfaction as well as quality and thus Hypothesis H:2 and H:3 are validated respectively. The positive relation between quality and satisfaction validates the Hypothesis H:4.RECOMMENDATIONS
.» There is a strong need for cohesive action on the part of every stakeholder to improve the quality of education in private technical institutions. Every stakeholder needs to understand the ‘mantra‘ that quality is the only criterion which shall lead to better prospects (for students), better prosperity (for parents), more revenue and growth (for private technical institutions), better career paths (for faculty), availability of better technical man-power (for industry), and enhanced socioeconomic development (for government). Student, faculty, trustees, parents, industry, and even the government needs to fully understand and appreciate the role each one of them plays in the cycle. Each stakeholderís role is essential and powerful and unless there is complete understanding of the duties; functions; responsibilities; and entitlements of each, quality shall be the sufferer. There should be a concentrated effort to constantly reinforce the need for fulfilling their role and responsibility to each stakeholder. .» It is recommended that there must be more debate and discussion in academic, executive and administrative circles on whether there should be more stringent checks on the educational, moral and ethical background of the groups or individuals who wish to establish educational institutions. This check should not become a hindrance to private enterprise but ensure that unscrupulous and commercial elements who view private technical institutions as mere money making machines are not allowed to enter and disrupt the quality of output of these institutions. .» Education is an occupation but not a trade or business; it is charitable in nature; the unaided educational institutions are entitled to charge cost based fee plus a reasonable surplus to provide for their development; charging of capitation fee and profiteering is illegal. These constitutional provisions needs entirely a fresh look under the prevailing scenario in which some of the private institutions are exploiting these provisions to the extent that while maintaining non-profit status, these institutions are actually functioning as profit making organizations in connivance with the official machinery. More than 90 percent technical institutions in India are in the private sector. It is a full time business for many trustees. The trustees are fully responsible for the affairs including financial well-being of the institution they govern. Then, the important question is that are really these private institutions have been established for the charity? Given the amount of time, energy and resources expanding in fulfilling trustees duties and responsibilities and given the fact that the trustees are not allowed any personal remuneration from performing their role, one must continue to wonder about their source of motivation and satisfaction. One needs to assess why and how commercialization has crept in the system and how it can be checked. The long term solution is to allow these institutions to be profit making legitimately. An urgent debate should be done at the appropriate level in the government for early decision. .» On the part of the trustees and college managements, if they are freed from the constraining economic considerations such as pressures of cost cutting; revenue limitations; salary expectations of well qualified faculty; liability of unjustified charges of AICTE, Universities, and various government departments; pressures of loan repayment; and continual debt etc through the provision of support mechanisms, they will be able to invest in better quality of faculty, better infrastructure and function in a more assured and confident manner. This can be done through the means of governmental financial support, banking policies, extended repayment options and more grants in aid for meritorious service, .» The brand value of institution‘s must be accorded due recognition. The managements of these institutions must understand that brand value is not built up by expensive advertising or gimmicky marketing, but by the quality of the student‘s graduating from private institutions. It is recommended that the managements must seriously rethink their strategy. They should consider rechannelising and reinvesting the money and resources spent on advertising and media marketing in infrastructure, faculty expansion and providing better education to their students. A strong recommendation is made for the action on the part of the regulatory bodies to put a control, ban if possible, on the admission and placement advertisements. .» Periodic surveys must be undertaken by concerned monitoring bodies to evaluate the brand value of each institution which could become an important factor at the time of grant allocation, student admission and industry participation. .» Faculty involvement is a pre requisite for effective institutional delivery. Feedback mechanisms must be strengthened for honest, straightforward and strong feedback. This shall address the concerns and issues which plague faculty and restrain them from becoming knowledge imparters in the classrooms and inspirational role models outside. Management at the micro level (trustees, management board and committees of private colleges) and society, industry and students at the macro level must try to understand and alleviate the distressing financial and student issues faced by faculty and give active encouragement and support to enable them to discharge their noble responsibility of teaching and imparting knowledge. The younger faculty should be encouraged to improve their qualifications both by the government and the private sector. The activity has to be taken up in a mission mode. .» ‘Student experience‘ has proved to be an effective and essential component of the quality management. Three surveys are recommended to be administered in each academic year. First year students to be surveyed in the first term of their programme to determine their initial perceptions of their experience and to help identify ways in which one can improve their induction and integration into the institution. Students, who are studying at advance level, but not in the final year of study, are to be surveyed in the second term, about halfway through their programme. Graduating students are to be surveyed in the final academic term of the year to assess their perceptions of their entire experience of studying within the institution. .» It is strongly recommended that a ledger of every student should be constructed at the time of admission. During induction, learning curve of the student be traced and entered in the ledger. During the course of first semester, matching learning tools be provided to the student. At the end of first semester, student‘s compatibility to the learning tools is assessed. If needed, learning tools are reinforced. Thereafter, at the end of each semester, the student performance is assessed and entered in the ledger. The exercise is repeated till the student leaves the institution and become alumni of the institute. The ledger also contains the entries regarding studentís behaviour, participation in the institutional activities, extra-ordinary achievements. Focus should be given to develop the learning competency and positive attitude of the students. For students, who are extra-ordinary poor in academics, the span of degree instead of four years may be extended to five years. The suggestion call for the policy change by the affiliating university. .» Student and faculty representation groups should be encouraged at the intra (student clubs; technical events; and career based forums) and inter college level (faculty meetings and conferences; guest lectures; symposiums and seminars) as these become important and effective forums for the identification and articulation of the views, suggestions, feedback etc. These communication and knowledge and idea exchange mechanisms will work to highlight issues and help the concerned authorities address them to the satisfaction of all concerned. .» The end users or industry experts/ industry employers must be pro actively engaged and involved in the education process by technical colleges. This should be done in the form of increased expert/guest faculty lectures, more and extended periods of industrial training and internship, more frequent factory or office visits etc. In this regard, the role of placement cells becomes important. Placement cells should not concentrate in only finding jobs for the students but should play a more wide ranging and dynamic role. They should act as bridges between industry and colleges and constantly transmit the industry requirements and specific skills sets required to the college authorities so they are able to better prepare students for the future and also produce trained students who are up to speed with emerging industry trends. Institutions have to clearly understand that effective industry-institute interaction is possible only when both the industry as well as the institution is benefitted by the interaction. Thus, the relationship between industry and technical institutions is symbiotic and mutually beneficial. If the technical institutions depend upon the industry for employing their students, the industry also depends on the colleges for providing them with a well trained and well qualified regular supply of fresh talent. Therefore greater synergy and interaction between the two is strongly recommended. .» Alumni have a vital role to play as recognized by institutions of excellence abroad. .» Technical institutions must find ways and means to involve more alumni as partners in quality management. As alumni have experience of the corporate and industry specifications and have vast experience, technical institutions must provide platforms whereby alumni can display their love and gratitude for their alma mater. .» Students and instructions will benefit immensely by encouraging the participation of alumni as experts, industry links, guest faculty, student mentors, future employers etc. Alumni clubs and forums must be formed and encouraged. .» There should be more emphasis placed on encouraging the spirit of innovations, explorations and experimentation in the technical institutions in order to make the students more competitive in the global marketplace. It is not merely enough to train and teach the students in the existing modes and processes, but also equally essential to make them open minded to think new ideas and make path breaking discoveries. .» It is advisable that orientation courses and acclimatization courses be run in all the technical education institutions. This is very important as students hailing from socially or economically weak backgrounds will get an opportunity to adjust to the academic and social atmosphere of the institutions. A week or month long orientation will go a long way in resolving and in addressing issues of adaptability, adjustment, familiarity and comfort which could cause major degree of dissonance in the future. .» Networking activities are considered satisfactory, but still more work needs to be done in this arena. This is very essential as in this day and age of communication and information revolution, networking has become an integral part of the career growth chart. As such, more opportunities for networking and contact development just have to be provided to the budding professionals studying in these institutions. This can be done by the promotion of Alumni clubs and greater interaction between students and their industry mentors. .» As institutions take time to establish a reputation and build up their identity, it is important that in the first five years after their establishment, they be supported and subsidized by the government. This would ensure that the institution would not have to cut corners or take short cuts monetarily to enable it to continue functioning at a time when student intake is low and expectations and expenditure are high. .» Paucity of qualified and competent faculty; AICTE has made it mandatory for the head of a technical institution to be a doctorate. This provision, though made to ensure high quality and standards, has become an impossible condition. If there are 3400 engineering colleges in the country, then in an environment where less than 5000 faculty members across the nation are Ph.D. in the engineering discipline, it is highly difficult to find qualified and inspiring faculty members who also have the requisite qualifications. As institutions compete to enlist the available talent and fulfill the norms, the paucity of Ph.D. qualified faculty becomes a real obstacle. In this respect, it is advised that high ranking, experienced and qualified Ph.D. professors are allowed to function as ‘consultants‘ or ‘independent experts‘ who will be able to serve more institutions say 10 which fall in the same geographical proximity. This would ensure that the institutions, faculty and students are able to benefit from the guidance, expertise and experience of the professor and he is also able to serve the profession, his discipline and the nation in an optimal way. .» A recommendation which necessitates a mind shift and major policy rethink, but is highly practical and cost effective is that each and every institution not is required to establish a specialized laboratory or workshop in every branch of study. If specific institutions are assigned certain branches and supported in developing laboratories, workshops and practical workspaces of national and international standard in that particular brand and allowed to share them with other institutions in each cluster, the saving in terms of finance, time, and effort will be incalculable. What‘s more, the students will be the ultimate beneficiaries in a big way as they will be able to take advantage of world class facilities in all branches, instead of learning in sub standard and meagerly equipped laboratories of their own institutions. This would also increase the utility of facilities and infrastructure would be optimally utilized. The institutions would also not be forced to transfer all the burden of cost recovery of setting up the laboratories on the students and would be able to train and equip their students much better for the global marketplace. .» The formulation of a consistent, practical and supportive governmental policy is essential for the formation of a strong and successful technical education network. An uncertain, confusing and weak policy which changes with the vagaries of electoral politics is not conducive to the establishment and continual functioning of a robust and strong technical education system. .» A great policy rethink is necessary for the effective and prompt redressal of the problems which plague the Indian education system. The governmental functionaries, policy makers, administrators and enforcers should all be prepared to devise new and even revolutionary approaches to address and resolve the problems which confront the system today. A dispute redressal forum, say tribunal, must be established with great urgency as it is the need of the hour. Here, any person, institutional body or distressed group shall have the option to file appeals and get their issues and problems speedily resolved. .» It is strongly recommended that while considering the problems pertaining to the education scenario, which is dynamic and a national responsibility and asset, general mindset should not be conservative or close minded. Fresh thinking, practical, open minded and forward looking plans and policies are the need of the times. .» Governments both at the national and state level, must get more pro actively engaged in the propagation and proliferation of the technical institutions, particularly ones which have been recognized for providing quality education. Governmental role should not be confined to only regulation and control. .» Governmentís monitoring role must ensure that institutions across the board conform in their functions, activities and quality to pre agreed and well articulated standards which must be made well known. .» Governmental policy should be more focused on encouraging, supporting and guaranteeing the initiatives and activities of the private technical institutions. This could be in the form of financial support and grants, political will and strongsafeguards for protecting the rights of these institutions. In order to encourage better quality, government can form a corpus of funds to be awarded to institutions which consistently adhere to quality and achieve high standards. This economic reward in the form of grants will instill a spirit of healthy competition and initiative in technical institutions. In turn, institutions also must keep a specific number of seats reserved for meritorious and talented students from economically weak backgrounds. Institutions will be able to benefit from the intellectual power of excellent students, who might not have been able to study otherwise. This will increase the worth of the institution‘s brand when those students enter the marketplace.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE STUDY
.» The findings of this study contribute useful managerial insights for technical education imparted in the private technical education institutions. The managements, the faculty and the students have to understand the expectations and deliverables of each other clearly and work in harmony to increase the satisfaction of each other constituency. Every constituency has to be genuine in their wants and needs. .» A new approach must be devised to study and examine the role of trustees as conventional standards of measurement and evaluation cannot be applied to them as they occupy a unique position and role in the private educational set up. They are both leaders and managers and frequently are also the administrators, faculty members and investors. This is why the role of these trustees in steering the ship of the institution needs to be evaluated much more closely. The study reveals that there is a marked need for trustees to determine and set boundaries for their roles as leaders and managers if the concept of leadership and management as generally understood is to be implemented in practice in the private technical education setup. .» Students as a group are the least satisfied constituency as evidenced by the statistical analysis of their responses. This could be due to the higher level of expectations, aspirations and ambitious character of the students. However, this factor gives rise to worry as students are the primary bloodline of the institution and no effort, thought or expense should be spared to ensure that they consider their educational experience to be worthwhile and good value for their money spent. The students also must undertake to play a more rigorous, serious and career oriented role in the brand formation of the institution they attend, instead of merely taking their time at college as a pleasant interlude between school and the professional world. .» The faculty has to understand their responsibilities and powers and also become more assertive and unified, if they are to successfully assert their rights before the management/trustees. .» The role of the government has become very central to the proper functioning of private institutions in the context of liberalized and globalised world. There is a pressing need for an urgent and in depth introspection of the part of the concerned governmental authorities on how best they can rise to the occasion and provide the inspiring support and motivating lead to private institutions in the quest for larger access and equity; better gross enrolment ratio; and quality enhancement and improvement.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
.» The quality of education as a concept is constantly developing and is multi dimensional. It is difficult to determine, assess, evaluate and examine it, although the researcher as an insider drew greatly on personal experience and expertise in unraveling the intricacies and spotlighting the aspects and factors which escape the observation of even seasoned researchers. .» In a majority of the institutions surveyed, there was lack of clarity between the role of a leader and manager as the owners of the colleges are the trustees and constitute the key position in the management. It thus, became difficult to ascertain the exact position of the trustees/managers/leaders and differentiate between the same. .» There are more than 400 institutes of higher technical education in Haryana out of which 156 are engineering colleges. More than 90 percent are in the private sector. Only 20 self-financed private engineering colleges comprised the sample size for this study. Although every care was taken that the sample be as representative as possible, still for such a widespread universe under study, there might have been aspects which have gone unrepresented in the study. .» In spite of the best efforts of the researcher, access to students, faculty members, and the trustees was limited. Also there is an acute problem that students and faculty who are fearful of reprisals if they reveal too much about the inside functioning and shortcomings of private institutions which might have prevented them from being too candid and forthcoming.
FUTURE RESEARCH DIRECTIONS
.» The study results have various limitations which indicate several potential areas for future research works. Firstly, the sample was drawn only from private engineering colleges of Haryana. To enhance generalizability of findings, the study can be extended to government institutions, other states and other programs. Besides, the study can be extended to other countries and other environments. The future research can extend the study including other important stakeholders and their cause of satisfaction. Future research can redefine the quality standards, the impact factor of various quality standards, the activities which contribute to the quality standards. .» In the present study, a remarkable area has been closely studied and analyzed. As the relationship between the three constituencies of students, faculty, and the trustees in any education institution is continuously evolving and close one, it is recommended that further studies on the powerful linkage between these three be undertaken. .» The governmental role in the establishment, regulation, support and monitoring of private institutions is also a field of study where greater analytical study needs to be done to facilitate more closer integration and better synergy between governments and institutions. .» Students, faculty, trustees and governance represent the bulwarks of any institution and are perceived as the face or primary representatives of the institution. However, the relationship here also is beset by differences, variance of interests, miscommunication and imbalance of power and authority. More light in the form of study and analysis must be carried out on this blanked out area in order to strengthen the mutual compatibility of these three constituencies and bring synergy in their functioning and compatibility of interest through better governance. .» Several interesting points and pertinent insights could come to the fore if the relationship between harmony, satisfaction and quality are studied in the context of other educational institutions like medical, law, media and communication and even service industry both in private as well as government sector. .» These studies would promote better integration and understanding of the goals, motives and mission which is common to good education, regardless of the discipline or country. .» Adding factors affecting relations between three attributes of quality, satisfaction, and harmony could be an important area of exploration for future research.