Tag Archives: india

India: Population Growth and Access to Higher Education

February 28th, 2020


It is estimated that over the next 5 years, India’s youth population will continue to increase. This means that the current education system will prove inadequate in accommodating the age group of 18-22. For this reason and those shown below, India will continue to play a dominant role as a source for higher education institutions seeking to increase their international student numbers.

Let’s take a look at some facts:

  • Current population of India: 1.3 billion (July 2018 est.)
  • Estimated population of India by 2030: 1.5 billion
  • Number of Indians who will be in the age group of 18-22 in the 5 years: 3 out of 10
  • Number of colleges and universities in India in 2017-19: 39,050 and 903, respectively
  • Number of students enrolled in higher education 2017-18: 36.64 million
  • Value of India’s education sector in 2018: US $91.7 billion
  • Value of India’s education sector in 2019: US $101.1 billion
  • Percentage of universities mandated by the government in January 2019 to deliver online degree courses: 15%
  • Expected growth of India’s on-line education over the next two years: US $1.96 billion
  • Rural internet growth and usage: 566 million people

A few observations:

  • Degrees still matter to Indian students more than skills which lead to high number of graduates with low employability.
  • Rote learning continues to be a focus of the education policy with emphasis on memorizing facts.
  • The country lacks availability of quality vocational training.
  • Academic-industry engagement is inadequate and limited to select few institutions.
  • Quality education with global exposure is limited and expensive.
  • Institutions are having a difficult time keeping up with the growing population and their needs which will result in a largely unemployable youth population holding qualifications that don’t match the needs of the industry.
  • Universities don’t provide their students with any career counselling services .


  • Make higher education accessible via e-learning opportunities. In India, even the University Grants Commission (UGC) is now recognizing open online courses.
  • Vocational education needs the government’s support so that it is at par with conventional courses to help close the gap with mainstream university education.
  • Indian universities need to invest more in research and development to have a global standing and recognition which is currently absent.




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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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8 Reasons Why India Will Be The Next Economic Opportunity for the Education Industry

August 16th, 2019


India is posed to be the next source for economic opportunity for the education industry.

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. With a population of over 1.3 billion, about half are less than 20 years old.
  2. In 2018, India’s education sector generated US$ 91.7 billion in revenues (source: India Brand Equity Foundation)
  3. Projected revenues for 2019: US$ 101.1 billion (source: India Brand Equity Foundation)
  4. Percentage of India’s Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education in 2016-17: 25.2% (source: All India Higher Education Survey, Union Human Resource Development)
  5. Technology, such as the rise of affordable internet access, smartphone penetration, the use of digital solutions for education, recorded classroom videos, live-streamed instructions, e-books, online tests, and distance learning providing access to millions, the entry of Internet of Things (IoT) are among the many technological solutions empowering the education space.
  6. Rising disposable income helping parents to invest in edtech solutions to enhance their children’s learning experience.
  7. The Indian government has been supporting start-ups and education sector in the past 5-6 years. Campaigns like UDAAN (by CBSE), PRAGATI (by AICTE) and Skill India (by the Ministry of Human Resource Development) are all addressing aspects of education, from the gender gap, promotion of vocational education, and expanding access to schools and college for millions of students.
  8. The government’s policies are helping industry-academic partnerships to make education more relevant to the employment market and economy.

For more information, click here

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Latest News on India’s Regulatory Bodies: UGC and AICTE

August 10th, 2018

If you hadn’t heard already, until recently, India’s government was considering an ambitious plan, proposed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, to merge the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the two regulatory bodies, into a single higher education regulator. This single education regulator was tentatively named Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority (HEERA). Given that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is in its last year, and India is preparing itself for its next election, new legislation to form a single education regulator to be determined in such a short time does not appear to have been favored by legislators. Instead, the government has decided to wait and settled for a revamp of UGC, AICTE and the National Council of Technical Education.

The UGC is a statutory body established to confer degrees and grant funding and set up quality benchmarks for universities and institutions of higher education. AICTE, also a statutory body, was established to oversee technical institution and ensure they meet quality standards.

AICTE has questioned the need for and feasibility of a single education regulator by bringing to light the measures it has taken to reform much of its regulatory criteria. Altogether, focus appears to have been shifted from the push to merge UGC and AICTE toward an overhaul of each regulatory body. For example, one proposed measure would be to give UGC the authority to be able to shut down institutions that do not and continue to not meet standards but also consider taking away UGC’s powers over funding and handing it over to the ministry. This proposal is intended to allow the UGC to focus solely on monitoring and ensuring institutions of higher education are adhering to quality standards.

At the request of the ministry, both UGC and AICTE have been asked to prepare a list of changes they need in their respective Acts and regulations to become more effective regulators. Read more here.

In the meantime, the Indian government is considering the approval of a regulator for vocational training. The proposal, if approved, means successful ITI graduates will be awarded certificates at par with the ones given to Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) allowing them thereby to pursue their studies in other schools and colleges. Read more about this here.




ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Rhythm Planet’s Favorite World Music Releases of 2017

January 18th, 2018


Now that we have 2017 behind us, we’d like to take a look at the countries in the African continent, in Latin America and India and learn a little more about some of them. We realize traveling to these destinations may not be possible, but we can agree that one way of appreciating their cultures is through their music. To guide us on this musical journey, we’ve invited our guest blogger and music aficionado, Tom Schnabel, to share with us a list of his favorites.

Rhythm Planet wrapped up 2017 by revisiting some of the best of world music from the past year. Five wonderful African albums made the list, beginning with the powerful female collective Les Amazones d’Afrique in a track featuring Angelique Kidjo (video at bottom), plus Senegal’s soulful Orchestra Baobab, and Mali’s Trio da Kali’s brilliant pairing with the Kronos Quartet. Then it’s the vocal artistry of Toto Bona Lokua, aka Frenchman Gérard Toto, Cameroun’s Richard Bona, and Congolese singer Lokua Kanza, and lastly the trio 3MA featuring Mali’s Ballaké Sissoko, Moroccan oud virtuoso Driss El Maloumi, and Madagascar’s valiha player Rajery.

We turn next to a good example of musical cross-pollination with India’s master sitar player Shujaat Khan and Iranian vocalist Katayoun Goudarzi, together exploring the Persian-Indian music connection that formed centuries ago along the spice route. After that, let’s check out a tribute to G.F. Handel from L’Arpeggiata with some crazy twists—it’s “crossover classical” at its best.

We switch gears and close the 2017 highlights show with the hot Latin band La Mambanegra from Cali, Colombia, followed by a young Cape Verdean star named Elida Almeida, who just released her third successful album.


I hope you like these picks as much as I do. They represent, however, only a fraction of all the terrific world music I’ve enjoyed over the past twelve months. You can revisit, on demand, all the Rhythm Planet shows from 2017 (and earlier) on the KCRW website or on the KCRW app to hear more of the great world music from the past year.

Tom Schnabel, M.A.


Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Blogs for Rhythm Planet
Author & Music educator, UCLA, SCIARC, currently doing music salons

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Cheating in School: A Family Affair in India

March 26th, 2015

Photo Credit: NDTV

For this week’s blog, I’m going to keep it short and sweet and share with you the true story of hundreds of parents and family members endangering their own lives by scaling walls outside the examination hall in a town in India. No, these parents weren’t risking their lives to rescue their children from a fiery inferno or deranged terrorist. They were scaling the walls to help their children by feeding them the answers to the questions on the final examinations. Yes, you heard me correctly. The parents were complicit in cheating with their children. This brazen act of collective cheating was caught on tape and if you don’t believe me, here’s the video for your own eyes to see: YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14suVlM0FNk

For more on this cheating extravaganza, read the article by the Independent UK newspaper: Parents risk lives climbing exam buildings to help hundreds of Indian students cheat

In the words of James E. Faust: “Cheating in school is a form of self-deception. We go to school to learn. We cheat ourselves when we coast on the efforts and scholarship of someone else.”

Frustrated Evaluator

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.


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The Brief Shelf Life of India’s Four-Year Bachelor’s Degree

October 16th, 2014


In India, the bachelor’s degree in arts and sciences has been typically a three-year program patterned after the British system. Here in the U.S. a few international credential evaluation professionals have been recognizing the three-year bachelor’s degree from India as equivalent to the U.S. four-year degree. At ACEI, our position has been less generous. Though some U.S. credential evaluators may have been liberal with their professional judgment on this matter, it seems that many within India’s higher education institutions were not so content with their three-year bachelor degree offerings. In fact, some Indian institutions of higher education had started to champion the idea of expanding the three-year program by another year to include a research component and additional courses at the advanced level, particularly in the sciences. They viewed this move as essential if India intended to be competitive globally in the area of scientific research and development.

However, this push toward the four-year degree has been met with strong resistance from the University Grants Commission (UGC), India’s higher education regulatory and funding body. The battle brewing between some key public universities and the UGC, concerning the four-year bachelor’s degree finally came to a head last month. University of Delhi, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and several Institutes of Technology (IIT) that had either embarked on offering the four-year bachelor’s degree or were already offering them were ordered by the UGC to scrap the program and revert to the standard three-year programs.

In June of this year, University of Delhi was forced by the UGC to close its four-year undergraduate degree program because it was deemed by the human resource minister Smriti Irani to not have complied with the recommended education pathway. Even the state-run Indian Institute of Science (IISc), considered one of the prestigious institutions of higher learning, had come under the scrutiny of the UGC. IISc has been allowed to retain its four-year bachelor degree programs in physics, biology, chemistry, environmental science, materials and mathematics on the condition it adheres to changes recommended by the UGC. For example, IISc Bangalore, was able to strike a compromise with UGC by agreeing to restructure its four-year BSc to a research degree while also offer the standard three-year BSc degree. However, the same compromise was not afforded to the University of Delhi that was ordered to completely dismantle its four-year program.

It is not just the public, state-run institutions affected by UGC’s rampage, even private institutions such as Shiv Nadar Univesrity, Azim Premij University and OP Jindal Global University which had recently set up American-style four-year undergraduate liberal arts degrees were told to conform with UGC rules. As can be imagined, this move by the UGC has drastically affected the public and private institutions as well as their students who are now required to switch to the three-year program.

The proponents of India’s four-year bachelor degree see the additional year as a more holistic approach to teaching and learning, allowing for broad-based training in the humanities and sciences. The abrupt dismissal of the four-year program by the UGC is seen by many of the educators and the institutions as shortsighted and lacking any serious academic discussion that is supported by convincing facts and arguments. Many foresee that the UGC resistance toward the four-year degree will only push students away from studying sciences, pursuing careers in sciences and stymieing India’s chances in scientific innovation. It will also mean that in evaluating the three-year bachelor’s degree, ACEI will continue with its current position of recognizing the program as equivalent to three years of undergraduate study but not the four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree.

For more on the institutions affected by the UGC directive, please click here: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20140828091614324

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
President & CEO, ACEI



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INDIA: The 2014 Millennium Development Goals Report

September 4th, 2014


In 2000, at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations, all 189-member nations (today the UN has 193 members) committed to help meet ambitious development targets across categories such as primary education, nutrition, health, mortality, sanitation and others.

The new Millennium Development Goals Report 2014 examines the latest progress made towards achieving the MDGs. It shows that millions of people’s lives have improved due to concerted global, regional, national and local efforts to achieve the MDGs, which serve as the foundation for the next global development agenda. 

The following MDGs Report on India, was released by Najma Heptulla, the Union Minister for Minority Affairs. Jayati Ghosh, Professor, JNU and Lise Grande, UN Resident Coordinator.

(Source: http://www.in.undp.org/content/india/en/home/mdgoverview/)

As demonstrated in the table shown above, India has made moderate progress with respect to Goal 1: poverty; Goal 4: gender equality; Goal 7: HIV/AIDS. It is also on-track with respect to Goal 3: achieving universal primary education; Goal 9: environmental protection; Goal 12: developing global partnerships for development. However, the country is off-track with respect to Goal 2: hunger; Goal 5: reducing mortality rate, Goal 11: improving the lives of slum dwellers. Though there is partial successes achieved on targets and indicators with respect to Goal 3: education; Goal s 7 and 6: health, there are a few caveats. For example, the school enrollment rates are ahead of the targets, but the dropout rates are also high. The incidence of HIV/AIDS has come down, but what is alarming is that HIV/AIDS incidence is increasing in states where it used to be low. The performance of the majority of states on many of the goals and targets has been below satisfactory.



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Understanding the Institutes of Chartered Accountants in India and Pakistan

April 11, 2013

Filing Taxes - 1040 Form

For institutions in the United States, accounting credentials from India and Pakistan can be especially difficult to interpret. Typically, comparative education researchers and credential evaluators in the U.S. seek to determine the comparability of foreign studies to domestic equivalents based on several criteria including:

• admission requirements for the academic program in question;
• course content covered via classroom instruction;
• specific knowledge base and skills tested via examination;
• the nature of the program in the source country.
– Do partial studies transfer into other academic programs?
– Does the completed program provide eligibility for higher academic programs?
– Does the completed program allow eligibility for professional registration, etc.?
– Is the completed program terminal?

Official accounting credentials in India are issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) http://www.icai.org/ and official accounting credentials in Pakistan are issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) http://www.icap.org.pk/web/index.php .

Both the ICAI and ICAP programs inherit much of their structure from the British system, which frequently uses a “Qualifications-Based-Assessment” approach in which all program requirements are based on examination results, and students become eligible for examinations through either academic studies, professional experience, or some combination of both. Another aspect of the British “Qualifications-Based-Assessment” method is that examinations may be graded as “pass-fail” and thus have no grades or marks associated with them.

From a comparative education perspective, the ICAI and ICAP credentials do not fit very well into the traditional mold of a U.S. educational program. ICAI and ICAP programs have very flexible “admission requirements” since eligibility for examinations can be derived from both academic and professional qualifications and classroom instruction is not necessarily a central component in every case.

Despite the fundamental differences between ICAI/ICAP and U.S. programs, the comparability of ICAI/ICAP examinations to U.S. academic levels is well established. Some of the best research done on this topic is available through NAFSA (the Association of International Educators) in the PIER Workshop Report on South Asia published in 1986 and the PIER World Education Series published in 1997. Both publications are based on research performed by a hand-picked group of experts who conducted in-country investigations and site-visits to many institutions. It has been documented and confirmed that ICAI/ICAP examinations do provide “transferrable credit” into other academic programs in India and Pakistan, and much of the comparative education research since the PIER reports has concluded similarly that the following “placement recommendations” be made for ICAI and ICAP examinations:

• Passed ICAI/ICAP Foundation Examinations are comparable to one year of undergraduate coursework in business administration and accounting in the U.S.;
• Passed ICAI/ICAP Intermediate Examinations are comparable to an associate degree in in business studies and accounting (two year of undergraduate coursework) in the U.S.;
• Passed ICAI/ICAP Professional/Final Examinations with membership are comparable to a completed Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, a Bachelor of Science in Accounting or another similarly named degree in the U.S.

For U.S. institutions seeking to understand and process ICAI and ICAP qualifications, it is important to be aware that many details we expect to see in most academic documents might not be available. ICAI/ICAP usually issue credentials that prove completion of the program, but not individual examination titles, grades/scores, and other information that would be included in a “transcript” or similar document. Additionally, ICAI and ICAP do not typically include a description of how individuals become eligible for or exempted from certain examinations. Thus, we recommend that U.S. institutions ask applicants for the following documentation along with any official ICAI/ICAP credentials:

• Descriptions/Titles of the ICAI/ICAP examinations during certain years (similar to a curriculum) and preferably descriptions/titles of exams taken and passed by an individual – this will allow a better comparison to specific U.S. courses*;
• Documents for any previously completed academic coursework – this may provide a straightforward academic basis for exam eligibility or exemption;
• Resume and other professional experience documentation – this may add details for any exam eligibility or exemption derived from experience.

*Samples of ICAI and ICAP exam descriptions are available along with other comparative education data in Credential Consultants’ GRADE™ Database http://www.credentialconsultants.com. Additionally, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) compiles CPA examination results taken in the U.S. for a given year, including breakdowns of performance by country of residence, educational institutions attended, etc. The 2012 Candidate Performance Book is can be found here https://nasbareport.com/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&cPath=6&products_id=61

Although the nature of ICAI and ICAP accounting programs may differ from typical collegiate accounting programs in the U.S., they can be compared to each other in meaningful ways for both academic and professional purposes.

Authored in collaboration with the Association of International Credential Evaluators http://www.aice-eval.org (AICE) by:

Drew Feder
President of Credential Consultants, Inc.

Hany Arafat
Senior Comparative Education Specialist at Credential Consultants, Inc.

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
President of Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.

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How I Discovered Bollywood

April 4, 2013

LP cover - Bollywood - Tuhje Nahin Chhodunga (1991)

My first experience with Bollywood music came with a couple of cd’s back in the 1980s called Golden Voices from the Silver Screen, on a cool UK label called Globe Style. Vol 2 featured songs from the TV series Movie Mahal; the first volume featured classics from Lata Mangeshkar, her kid sister Asha Bhosle, Mohammed Rafi, and others. I was aware of the two sisters who held the Guiness World Record for most recordings. Lata was #1, Asha at #2.

I remember leaving KCRW once back in the late 80s and pulling into a Chevron Station in Santa Monica to fill up, with a cassette of Lata playing. An attendant came over and said, “you know our divine Lata?”. Yes I said smiling proudly.

Later came Bappi Lahiri’s “I am a disco dancer”. Another hit, “Pump Up the Bhangra” came shortly after Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Volume”.

I watched Satyajit Ray’s epic Apu Trilogy with the great soundtrack music from Ravi Shankar. I’d known about Hindustani classical Indian music all the way back into the 1960s, when Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan came onto the American scene. I remember a great Ali Akbar Khan lp on the World Pacific label called Sound of the Sarod. It featured a rhapsodic piece called “Chandranadan”. Hearing it engraved it into my memory forever.

When I taught World Music at UCLA Extension in the 1990s, I invited two people on Indian night. The first was a guy named Jac Zinder, who ran a wildly eclectic pop-up nightclub that featured Bollywood videos, music, as well as fluff from Herb Alpert and other light fare. Jac showed some of the wilder clips from classic Bollywood films such as Gumnaam, which my class loved. When Jac was done, a very flustered and annoyed Harihar Rao–who founded LA’s great presenting organization The Music Circle with Ravi Shankar in 1966–admonished the class, telling students “I hope this isn’t all you learn about Indian culture!!!” He was clearly rattled.

I was delighted to see Lagaan come to mainstream cinemas here. Four hours never went by so fast. I was also the host of the big Bollywood Show at the Hollywood Bowl a few years ago; it was an unbelievable night, 18,000 people cheering. A.R. Rahman’s big entrée into Hollywood. A later show featuring orchestral versions of his soundtrack followed, but it lacked the spectacle and energy of that first show. I felt the second show was to show that Rahman can write orchetral soundtrack music for any film….not just Bollywood.

I wish Bollywood movies appeared at more mainstream theaters…..in LA you have to go to Artesia or in the past to Laemmle Fallbrook Theater, which has now closed and become another AMC venue. Channel 18 on Saturday mornings 11-12 noon; there are also Indian channels on Dish Network.

It may be that for non-Indians, following Bollywood is just something for those who know. It is fun and the films are produced in the most fantastic manner….you get it all: soap opera, musicals, dancing, spectacle, beautiful clothing. What’s not to like? I love it, and hope Bollywood finds a bigger audience.

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles 2013

Tom Schnabel, M.A.
Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Host of music program on radio for KCRW Sundays noon-2 p.m.
Blogs for KCRW
Author & Music educator, UCLA, SCIARC, currently doing music salons

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