Higher education is popularly taken to mean education that is imparted in Colleges under Universities. Its external test is the possession of a degree. Its intrinsic quality is the possession of a distinctive attitude to life based on intellectualism.
Hence, a person claiming higher education must not only possess knowledge but must be able to apply it in day-to-day affairs of life. He should not be a bookful blockhead. He shall have to be worthy of the University degree he receives ever afterwards.
Some look down upon higher education as not of very great practical utility in life. After all, India is an over-taught country. Here the plan for uplifting higher education is framed first, allotting enormous amount of money and then the scheme of primary education is fitted in with it. Judging by the poor state of primary education, a highly educated man is like the beacon-light in a dead level of sand, a Gulliver among Lilliputians.
Maintaining a high standard of education is the true index of the culture level of a country. In a sense, it is a matter of national prestige. It fixes intellectual standards. After all, it is by its cultural attainments that a nation draws the attention and respect of the world.
We are living today in a complex society. The development of science, the growth of industries, the evolution of democratic institution, the coming together of nations through politics and trade and sports have made our world a complex place. Without knowledge of science, how can we manage a civilization based on machinery and scientific appliances? Without a knowledge of economics, it is impossible to tackle the complicated problems of modern living.
In short, we cannot meet the challenge of an advanced civilization with the outmoded ideas of a feudal age. Our responsibilities today are infinitely greater than what our fathers had to shoulder. This function can be fulfilled only by a higher standard of education.
It is, therefore, a very narrow outlook that judges higher education by immediate material value. The purpose of education is to make one a citizen of the whole world and a leader of the society.
Therefore, it is imperative to organize national education on a high level of efficiency. The foundation of national Universities and institutions (deemed as universities) national laboratories, national academies of art and culture are steps in the right direction. The Universities must prepare our students to play the leading role in building the nation, to fulfill its many-sided functions in the service of humanity.