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Technical Education Technical Education

Technical education in India : living good governance

Governance, at its heart, is related to how an institution measures itself, and how it intends to grow. A well-run institution instills confidence and respect from students, faculty, and the larger community. Yet, governance is a challenge in several Indian technical education institutes. The vast majority do not have much financial or academic autonomy, which means they often cannot make key decisions affecting their performance, such as faculty appointments. These institutions can include those that are well-respected to those who have very weak quality control. Given this wide range, effective governance at an institution is of critical importance. Understanding good governance and living good governance are two different things. Just as a student can have a plan in mind for how he or she is going to pursue a degree, reality often gets in the way. Similarly, an institution may have an idea of how it is going to move forward with its governance model, but that plan might sit in a file cabinet for years while the status quo persists. Taking small steps, by modeling from the top and introducing more delegation, or promoting good documentation, can lead to significant behavioral changes that slowly become embedded. Charting the institution’s progress is also imperative, because it is difficult to know where you are going if you do not know exactly where you have been. This type of regular institutional evaluation does not yet seem to be common, but is a good way to measure performance and determine where course correction is needed. Ultimately, good governance is an attitude, a behavior, rather than a template to be followed, but it is necessary to lay the groundwork by first establishing some good practices.