World over, the higher education ecosystem is facing many unprecedented challenges. The race to restructure and reform the higher education systems is accelerating particularly among developing countries. The rapidly changing landscape of higher education requires new thinking and updated practices. Indian higher education system is not immune to these discernable changes. Over the past two decades the Indian higher education system has gone through transformations unprecedented in terms of growth and expansion than the most countries witness over a century. However, the emphasis so far had been on accessibility rather than quality, knowledge creation, inventions and innovations. Now it’s the need of the hour to contemplate and update the focal areas and priorities of higher education, and start working on mechanisms that generate high quality educators, scientists, engineers and researchers capable of knowledge creation; entrepreneurship and capability of handling live problems; be sensitive to local needs; and develop the education ecosystem in-phase with ever-changing global requirements. In the process of change to the needs of the time and changing scenario of the globalization—a phenomenon of increasing worldwide interconnectedness that combines economic, cultural and social changes—the higher education system in general and university system in particular has come under enormous pressure to perform effectively and efficiently than ever before in meeting the ever evolving demands of access, equity, relevance and quality.
Comprehending this ongoing and dynamic process of transformation while being in the midst of competition prevailed in the 21st century’s, global economy has become more difficult as higher education is viewed as a competitive enterprise facing challenges filled with competitive opportunities and threats. While competition has always been a force in academics and can help produce excellence, it can also contribute to a decline in a sense of academic community, mission and traditional values when higher educational institutions suffer from academic leadership and management deficit. Moreover, it is realized that academic expertise is not sufficient for the successful leadership and management of higher educational institutions as academic leadership is different from teaching skills. Although the universities and governments come with a variety of policies and programs time to time to respond to the fast changing environmental forces in higher education sector, it is struggling hard to survive and sustain in a globalised economic era shaped by an increasingly integrated world economy, new information and communications technology (ICT), the emergence of an international knowledge network, and other forces beyond the control of academic institutions. Especially, the higher education in India is beset with a host of problems and challenges pertaining to quality, knowledge creation, inventions and innovations when India is aiming to be an important player in the post globalization knowledge economy. Consequently the National Education Policy 2020 aims at building a global best education system rooted in Indian ethos, and aligned with espoused principles, such as, flexibility in learning programs, multi-disciplinary, creativity and critical thinking, regular formative assessment for learning, autonomy, good governance and empowerment, outstanding research, continues policy making, to transform India into a global knowledge superpower.
Indian higher education, therefore, needs a new kind of leadership to meet the ever-increasing challenges to strategically plan and envision its future by coping with identified key realities. To build capacities of existing academic leaders and administrators and to draw fresh talent into the management of the higher educational systems, this two-day international conference will pave a way towards addressing the various issues that the higher education system is confronting. The theme of the conference is to deliberate on the academic leadership and management challenges facing the higher education system in general and university system in particular in a globalised economic era and to work out a plan of action for a paradigm shift both in terms of achieving qualitative and quantitative academic and research outcomes and also in the regulation of higher education and University system. This conference aims to bring together policymakers from government, leading academic experts, practitioners and research scholars to exchange and share their perspectives and experiences and research results on all aspects of academic leadership and management in higher education. Two plenary sessions on “Leadership and the Higher Education Ecosystem at Global and Local – Review and the Road Ahead” and “Governance and Management of Higher Educational Institutions in India- Need for a Paradigm Shift” will also be conducted during this conference. It also provides a premier interdisciplinary platform for academicians, researchers, practitioners, and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the fields of leadership and management in higher education and university system.