Confederation of Indian Universities (CIU)

About Confederation of Indian Universities (CIU)

Born on 21st April, 2004, CIU is an apex body of universities in India, with around 1200 universities as its member. It is a purely voluntary organization of universities and university level institutions in India. It provides various kinds of services to its member organization, services such as opportunities to collaborate with leading international institutions, curriculum enhancement consultancy, pedagogy development consultancy, consultancy on quality enhancement, research guidance & facilitation, publishing opportunities for scholars, dissemination of information about available opportunities in national and international academic institutions, consultancy on legal matters such as handling of relationship with statutory bodies etc.
CIU does not look at academia as an insulated universe. Instead, we at CIU believe that universities are parts of larger social system, from where they draw various kinds of nourishment such as finance, manpower, market etc. Thus, according to CIU, universities owe it to society to contribute towards development of a better and smarter society. In a way, CIU is not just about the universities themselves, as it is about the relationship that exists between the universities and the society at large. CIU believes that it is its solemn duty to nourish this relationship and help sustain the symbiosis that is the foundation of this relationship.
There are of course other platforms where universities congregate. But, most of the times, either those platforms are simply avenues for the Government to interact with the top management of the university system, or, those are voluntary associations designed to act as advocacy platforms, platforms through which universities mostly lobby for better tax environment, lesser compliance burden, freedom to raise funds etc.
CIU however, as described above, is different. It is not just a platform for universities to improve their collective bargaining strength, but, more importantly, it is a platform where all stakeholders, namely civil society, Government, corporate world, independent scholars, media and NGOs come together with the sole purpose of finding out ways & means to improve the functioning of the relationship that exists between universities and society at large.

Origins & leitmotif of CIU:

Those who are familiar with the history of expansion of educational infrastructure in post-independence India, know that for a large part of the time since 1947, almost every single institution in the country survived largely by adopting a submissive, non-intrusive and apolitical posture in its interactions with the State machinery. Education too was no different.
There was a time, not in some remote, hidden corner of our history, but quite literally, out in the open, when educational institutions at all levels, beginning with primary schools and all the way up to universities, had to bow down to an inspector raj system. It was basically a system which allowed civil bureaucracy a decisive hand in the formation and management of educational institutions. It was very much in tune with the workings of a centralized, statist model that had been adopted by India as her Governance model at the time of her independence.
Such a model of Governance had a devastating warping effect on the nature of institutions in our country. As a result, crucial sectors of our national life such as industry & commerce, agriculture, healthcare, infrastructure, law & order, justice delivery, crucial democratic functions like impartial management and conducting of electoral process, and delivery of almost all other Government services to the citizenry took multiple crippling blows during this period. Education sector too suffered in such an atmosphere of all pervasive Government high-handedness.
This is not to say that it was just a saga of doom and despair. On the contrary, many of the finest academic institutions of our country were born and nurtured during those times. Institutions like IITs, IIMs, IISc, RECs, later rechristened NITs etc were shining examples of this. But, ultimately, at the end of the day, progress made has to be evaluated against parameters such as results obtained vs results expected, investment made vs output obtained, whether the pouring of massive public investments generated enough returns to cover the opportunity costs etc. When such an exercise was conducted for our education system, one had to concede that the results achieved were often way short of the expectations.
But, as happens in case of any overly centralized endeavour, this system, even though festooned with multiple cracks in its structural integrity, was loathe to admit its failings and was not ready to loosen its status as the post-colonial overlord of India. As a result, Government machinery found itself overstretched to a point of almost cracking open. Moreover, unfortunately for the Governing class, as the spirit of democracy started striking roots in India, people of India, especially the middle class, in spite of Government attempts to muzzle its spirits, started demanding accountability.
What compounded the agony for the Government was the financial crunch that soon engulfed the whole system. In the fiscal disaster created by the ‘Hindu rate of growth’ that the Nehruvian model was generating, it was no longer possible for the Government to endlessly pour money into endeavours that were not adding value to the system. Soon, the Government had to agree to provide lion’s share of limited budgetary capacity to issues with greater electoral heft. Issues like rural development, welfare measures such as public distribution system, management & funding of vast and burgeoning system of reservations etc soon outcompeted the education sector when it came to access to public financing. It was in this kind of scenario when Government machinery started ceding space to the concept of professionally run institutions.
From the point of view of educational institutions, end of the era of all-pervasive Government overlordship had some positive and a few negative consequences. On the plus side, this phase of withdrawal of the Government, primarily meant two things, namely more autonomy to educational institutions, especially universities and university level institutions and greater space for private sector within the educational landscape of the country.
On the minus side, withdrawal of the Government also meant faster than expected disappearance of the system of generous Government financing that was previously available to the Government institutions. One might say that this was a problem limited to the Government owned institutions. But, when such institutions constitute almost the entirety of the system, from being a sectoral one, the problems soon assume systemic proportions. Sadly, for the Government machinery, the situation of the public finances, instead of improving, kept on deteriorating. The terrible financial crunch meant that the Government became more and more reticent when it came to taking capital decisions for sectors that were not likely to result in additional tax revenues, at least in the short to medium term.
This reluctance of the Government meant that most of the existing publicly funded institutions were increasingly looking at ever tightening financial constriction. Investments in research and in capital intensive projects such as creation of additional capacity soon became quite scarce. On the other hand, due to factors emanating from demography, the demand for good quality education was rising rapidly at all levels.
This matrix of high demand and limited supply, created northward pressure on price of highly-in-demand courses such as medicine, engineering, management and any other stream that promised a good future for the students pursuing them. This naturally created powerful incentives for private capital to enter the education space.
But, unfortunately, most of the private players that entered the education space between 1990s and the entire first decade of the 21st century, came with the mindset of reaping big and quick rewards. They did not have any serious commitment to the cause of education.
Therefore, education, especially the higher education space, became saturated with players with dodgy intentions. The interests of the country, and of the students, were therefore never really paid adequate attention to. So, outwardly, at least in a statistical sense, India was posting impressive growth in the expansion of its educational infrastructure. But, in reality, the scene was largely chaotic, wasteful, inefficient and rapacious.
Reports after reports, from Government as well as independent sources, were raising loud alarms about the falling standards in our academia. Commentators, especially those with a corporate background such as Gurcharan Das, Mohan Das Pai etc were repeatedly warning that any sustained degeneration of Indian education system, if not properly addressed, was a bad omen for Indian economy and therefore for India too. Even professional academicians like Jean Dreze etc were also saying more or less the same things.
This was also the period when the country was being pounded by dangerous churnings in society like rising caste tensions, increasingly fragile communal amity, domestic industry running the risk of being swamped by global MNCs, and an overall decline in institutional capacity. That was the time when the country needed its intelligentsia to properly study what was going on, synthesize the multiple variables and create a holistic model that could restore the socio-economic equilibrium and put the country solidly on the path of domestic peace and global expansion in terms of our economic footprint.
But, in reality, what the country got was massive disappointment. By the time the crisis started maturing, our academia had lost the capacity to productively reflect on issues and come out with solutions. Things that were being bandied as solutions, were in fact, rearticulations of what was already known. It was therefore clear that the country needed a bold new approach towards education and academia.
Various individuals and institutions came forward to answer this national call. Among them, CIU is counted as one of the most respectable names. Although the institution was formally born in 2004, it had been brewing in the minds of some of the most eminent educationists of India such as Prof. K. Venkatasubramanian, former Member of the Planning Commission, Government of India and Dr. Priya Ranjan Trivedi, noted educational evangelist of India. It was largely through the efforts of people like Dr. Venkatasubramanian and Dr. Trivedi that renowned minds were pooled in to lay the foundation of CIU.
As of now, CIU is engaged in multiple projects largely aimed at fulfilling the role that its founders envisaged for it. The spectrum of CIU’s activities include research, translation of acclaimed books from global languages into Indian ones & vice-versa, launching of high value courses in India in collaboration with international academic institutions, advocacy for better policy regimes and above all, widening of emotional and intellectual horizon of anyone who comes in contact with it..


Note on Confidentiality

It is a property of Inter-University Research Centre (IURC) which is a platform floated by Confederation of Indian Universities (CIU), an apex body of around 1200 universities and university level institutions in India.
The information in this website are meant for the exclusive consumption of people associated with CIU and IURC. If anyone else happens to find this document or any part thereof, the person is requested to immediately get in touch with the office of either CIU or IURC and return the document to our any of our officers.
Unauthorized accessing, publication, whether in part or in full, or sharing & distribution of the contents of this document without the prior approval of IURC, is an offence. The same, if brought to the notice of IURC or CIU, would be considered an infringement of our intellectual property, and the organization would consider itself free to pursue appropriate legal action..


Purpose of this Information

This document is not a scholarly writing on the topic of human induced climate change. It is a document that has been prepared with the intention of introducing the idea called Inter-University Research Centre (IURC) which has been floated recently by Confederation of Indian Universities (CIU).
Through this document, an attempt has been made to explain what CIU is and what it does. This document also explains what IURC is and what its relationship with CIU is. This document also contains brief introduction about all that IURC intends to pursue in near future, including what it plans to do for the cause of climate preservation.
Finally, this document should be seen as a call to collaboration, going out from one organization in India to all other like-minded people and organizations all over the world..


Effects of Climate Change

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