Yale prez urges India to focus on quality than quantity

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New Delhi, Nov 18 (UNI) Cautioning India against number game in setting up institutes of higher education, Yale University president Professor Richard C Levin today said it should focus on developing a couple of world class institutions, a strategy that is being pursued very successfully in China.

"If India seeks to build 30 world class universities, it is almost inevitable that none will achieve that status," he said a function here. "There is just not enough faculty talent to go around," he added.

India should focus on raising a handful of institutions to world class status instead of spreading its financial resources thinly across many institutions, he said at seminar on 'Education and the Re-emergence of Asia'.

Prof Levin said there is no shortage of smart students in China, India, Japan, and Korea but attracting and developing world-class researchers is a slow process.

He said to build a faculty with dozens or hundreds of world-class scholars and scientists takes time, adding late 19th century start-ups like Stanford and University of Chicago took half a century or more to make it into the ranks of best in United States.

This is one reason why India would be better served by focusing on elevating a few schools rather than many, he added.

Citing China's case, he said Fudan and Peking Universities have persuaded top scientists from Yale to split their time between labs in China and the West. The Chinese provide abundant space and research staff to support the efforts of Western scientists, leveraging their productivity while at the same time allowing younger Chinese faculty and graduate students to benefit from involvement in cutting edge research.

These young Chinese could over a period of time develop into world-class scientists themselves even as productivity of U S-based scientists is multiplied significantly, he said.

Prof Levin said rise of the rest through such arrangements should be viewed by universities in the US and UK an opportunity and not a threat. Just like opening the economy to free trade, international collaboration in research is a positive-sum game, he added.

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