Politics in Institutions of Higher Learning: Issues and Challenges before Educational Leadership


  • IGNOU Regional Centre, Kohima, Nagaland, 797001, India


Open & Distance Learning (ODL) and flexible approach to learning have become integral to the higher learning system globally. Flexible approach to learning is demanded by gradually increasing numbers of learners as well by the business and corporate communities (which want to develop skill and knowledge bases of their working staffs from time to time). Because of developments in educational and communication technologies, many countries are now increasingly adopting ODL system. The UK Open University (UKOU), one of the old and pioneering ODL Universities, is today reckoned as one of the best Universities in Europe. In India, we already have one National Open University i.e. Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and 13 State Open Universities (SOUs), and various other Distance/Continuing Education Institutes/Directorate/Depts., National Open Schooling, etc. As per recommendation of Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE), every State is supposed to have a SOU. At present, about 25% of the enrolment in higher education in India is with the ODL system; the target is 40% by the end of 11th Five Year Plan. However, one of the most depressing features of the ODL system in India is the lack of student representative bodies. When we speak of student politics, it is almost absent in Indian ODL system. For the educational leadership, it is almost a non-issue. As such, various issues and policies that can adversely affect students’ interests (such as various kinds of student fees, student support and welfare services, etc.) are decided by the administrative authorities without any concern and voice of the students. There is lack of any organized student protest and opposition. Students do not feel that they are part of the institution. Leaders are also perhaps happy to see that they are not facing any student protest and opposition; they are not aware of the fact that if the students no longer consider themselves as part of their institutions then higher education can have serious problem. Students’ participation in the governance and functioning of the ODL institution is marked by pervasive passivity; there is lack of interest on the part of educational leaders to promote student civic and political activities. Student politics must be encouraged in the Institutions of Higher Learning.


Educatonal Leadership, Politics, Democracy and Societal Issues.

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