Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is used in many countries across the world to bring in transparency and operational efficiency in the working of government machinery. The concept of E-Governance encourages the use of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) in order to improve service delivery to the citizens and promote transparency in functional procedures. Higher education is one of the most complex structures and thus quite cumbersome to be governed. Lack of transparency at various levels creates opportunity for people to indulge in illegal activities and make money. The initiatives of E-Governance can bring transparency and reduce corruption to a large extent and provide a user friendly, efficient and effective administration to the stakeholders of higher education.
The quality of higher education in India has come up as an area of concern in almost all reports prepared by various committees constituted for different purposes. The intention of this article is to bring into light the deep rooted corruption in the higher education system of India and to suggest remedial measures that could be taken. The study aims to explore the possibilities of exploiting E-Governance as a solution to unravel the problem of corruption in higher education system. Implementation of such type of system may result in a noticeable change in both administrative and academic fronts. The article is an attempt to promote E-Governance culture in higher education system which will consequently lead to the processes which are less cumbersome and free from corruption.
There are many forms in which corruption is generally found in higher education
system in India viz. bribery,
cronyism, nepotism and embezzlement both financial and ethical.
There are certain pieces of information which aspiring candidates would like to
know e.g. availability of courses, fee, faculty members, location and
infrastructure etc. It has been found that the students rely on information from
college websites for evaluating the institution. But there are certain
institutes which show misleading information on the websites. Chadha Rajat(2008)
viewed a university website of prime
importance for aspiring students to find out the programmes of studies that are
available at the institute. He finally concluded that Indian university websites
do not fare well on the guidelines set forth by Middleton et al.(1999).
The educational institutes hide a lot of information from the public especially
when they lack necessary infrastructure and resources for providing quality
education. It has been observed that the websites of higher educational
institutes are behind the times as campus politics and disinclination prevents
them from keeping their websites updated and useful to internal students
(already enrolled students), faculty, staff as well as prospective users.
Absence of teachers from the work place is a severe issue. In most of the
universities and colleges, the teachers do not take interest in teaching and
remain absent. It is often seen that they remain busy in giving coaching or
offering guest lecturers in other institutes f. There is no transparent method
developed yet for recording and monitoring the performance of teachers as far as
the teaching is concerned. Although many universities have taken few initiatives
to freeze the culture of remaining absent from the college/universities such as
biometrics system of attendance.
The less likelihood of being punished has inspired the administrative staff of
most of the universities to get involve in various mal-practices. Buying and
selling of marks/grades has now become a common practice. Instance of issuing
fake mark sheet to the students is one of the few examples of such malpractices.
The examination system needs to be more transparent especially when continuous
evaluation system is involved. The danger increases manifolds when it comes to
the storage and handling of huge volume of the result record.
Privatization of education system has brought a new form of academic fraud.
Through these private universities, the students are finding it easy to obtain
credentials and academic degrees by offering bribe. There are number of ‘FAKE’
institutes which issue degree even without the physical presence of the student.
It has been seen that there are some private universities which do not give
sufficient salaries to the teaching staff which is the root cause of prevailing
corruption. Teachers who are paid less get involve in malpractices like private
tutoring. The situation gets worsened when these teachers are involved in
examination system or in continuous evaluation system leading to favouritism.
The shortage of faculty members in various universities and their affiliated
colleges is another issue for
the prospective candidates. These shortages lead to the appointment of teachers
on contract basis and also give rise to the concept of guest faculty. Most of
the contractual teachers are found to be more engaged in palm greasing rather
than teaching because the renewal of the contract solely depends on the
immediate boss (Director, principle etc).
Most of the private universities and colleges have their grievances about the
redundant and complicated procedure of accreditation and affiliation etc. The
universities have to knock the doors of various bodies for different programmes
they wish to run. It has been seen that the grades/ranks are given on the basis
of bribe or hospitality; they receive from the universities and colleges.
Same thing happens at the time of sanctioning funds to the
universities/colleges. Various authoritative levels of the structure of
sanctioning bodies release fund only after receiving appropriate “commission”
even if the college/university is fulfilling all the norms.
It has also been seen that institutions fail to utilize the funds properly given
to them for the development of the institution. In most of the universities
funds get stagnated for a number of years or are not used in proper and
optimized manner. Lack of transparency in the allocation of funds and its
expenditures is one of the causes of corruption in the area.
The opaque admission procedure of the university gives rise to a typical form of
corruption in some universities where there is a flexibility of backdoor entry
of a student after receiving unauthorized payment. Adequate information about
criteria, qualification, rules etc. are generally kept hidden or found to be
misleading. The government has less control on the admission policy of private
universities. The admission process in majority of the cases is not monitored
properly which leaves a scope for the institutions to admit students on their
Treatment through E-Governance
According to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi,
“E-Governance can bring transparency in an Easy, Economic, and
By minimizing the human intervention, E-Governance technique exhibits
transparent, accountable and responsive mechanism of building trust and
prevention of corruption. The advancement in the field of internet has paved the
way for the development of a favourable environment for quality education.
Moreover, there are number of e-governance projects like BHOOMI, MNREGA running
in various departments due to which corruption is under control to some extent.
Thus, when e-governance has been used to remove corruption in many areas, then
why can’t we use it for controlling corruption in higher education?
E-Governance can help in combating the corruption through information exposure
and service delivery. Instant access to the information, quick and efficient
transaction are the main features of E-Governance. The detailed information
available to the citizen, enables them to understand rules and regulations.
Procedural re-engineering simplifies the complicated government procedures.
E-Governance has provided the strength to the citizen to question the
authorities and seek explanation. The transparency generated by the use of
e-governance may lead to reduction in corruption.
Due to the sincere efforts of the government , the enrolment ratio is expected
to escalate to higher level. In this scenario, e-governance seems to be the only
tool which can handle this massive growth of aspirants. Further, e-governance
will also help in efficient and effective management of big universities.
Ahmad Shamim(2010) elucidated that
the technology driven governance in higher education is a matter of urgency on
several counts. Technology and transparency are two vital components that may
transform the system of higher education. National Knowledge Commission (2007)
also emphasized on reengineering the processes to inculcate simplicity,
transparency, accountability, productivity and efficiency. The author further
added the possible benefits of technology driven governance. Harnessing them
optimally is required to meet the specific governance needs. The use of
technology will not only track and process the data but also report on the
different aspects of academics as well as administrative issues.
Rajeev Singh(2011) attempted to
explain a number of challenges at operational and strategic level in higher
education. He specifically highlighted the problem of duplication of procedure
for getting approval / renewal from various regulating bodies and emphasized on
the need of faster and preferably paperless process of approval and
accreditation. He concluded that ICT has played a major role in reducing
operational complexity. He also suggested the implementation of E-Governance
solutions which can empower the governing bodies to administer the progress of
the education plan in the whole country and serve various stakeholders in a much
The procedures of recognition / renewal are currently redundant as there are
more than one regulatory body. After introduction of e-governance system the
procedure can be simplified since all the statistics about the resources of the
university will be made online. Online records will not only enhance the
transparencybut also give the
institute greater credibility..
Selection of vice chancellor and other authorities should be a process free from
political interference and full of transparency. With the help of e-governance
solution, a single list of deserving candidates can be maintained online. The
profile of the candidate should be made public and the list should be updated
with every new entry. Appointment can be done on the basis of the seniority in
the list. When the full profile will be accessible to the citizen, no one will
dare to put pressure on authorities for appointing a person of his / her choice.
As far as fund utilization is concerned, the mechanism can be developed which
will be automated or time bound. All details needed for the approval of funds
can be fetched by the centralized system in online fashion. The fund utilization
by college or university can be monitored online and analyzed even on a monthly
basis. The public and media should be given an access to financial data of the
The online feedback mechanism on the performance of teachers can reduce the rate
of absenteeism of the teachers from the workplace and also force them to improve
quality of teaching since their remuneration will be then based on the feedback.
The E-Governance interface can be used to get feedback from the students related
to the course and performance of the university. This will also help to keep an
eye on the institutes in remote areas and support them in their full
development. Students and parents can directly give feedback about the
performance of the universities/ colleges to the regulatory bodies.
Computerized and centralized system of admission procedure will raise
transparency. If all the institutes become part of this system, students will
have to fill one form and can save the cost of applying in more than one
institute. It has been seen in many cases that institutes offer unrecognized and
low demand courses to ignorant students which not only put their career on the
stake but seems to be complete waste of time and money. Centralized admission
process will filter out such institutes and unrecognized courses. Moreover, when universities are linked and information about all the students and
the opted courses is centralized, the trend of demand of course or stream can be
easily tracked as and when required.
The governing bodies can very
easily develop a mechanism to analyze which course is in high demand in a
particular area or region. Further, government can also plan employment generation in sync
with the passing graduates in the country.
The centralized governing system can put
a check on the fee structure even if the fee structure is deregulated.
Presently, in many universities, students seeking scholarships have to make
several rounds to various offices.. However, with the implementation of
e-governance, whole mechanism will be re-engineered and will be more user
friendly and transparent.
There is an urgent need of preparing and publishing centralized online data of
academicians available in various institutes of higher education. This will open
the possible avenues of collaboration among the nearby universities or colleges.
Colleges which are struggling with the problem of shortage of faculty members
may choose from the online database of the faculty members for the teacher of
required subject area. This type of collaboration may prove to be beneficial for
the university. Moreover, students who aspire to take admission in the college
will have full information about deficient faculty in the university/ college
which is their essential right.
As observed by Panzardi, Calcopietro and Ivanovic, “The new form of governance
will ensure that the citizens are no longer passive consumers of services
offered to them and would transform them to play a crucial role in deciding the
kind of services they want and the structure which could best provide the same.”
In reference of this vision, it is expected that implementation of E-Governance
in the right spirit will not only help eradicate
corruption but also prove to be a milestone in the development of higher
education in India.
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